Jiaogulan is a plant that originates from the far-distant corners of the Guizhou Providence in China. The locals recognize it as a health-promoting herb and like to address it as ‘the herb of immortality’.
Jiaogulan belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family – the same family that produces squash, melons, and cucumber. It is a wildly grown climbing vine and does not need any kind of cultivation. The leaves of the plant are to be consumed to enjoy the benefits. You can eat them directly, add them to salads, pasta and stir fry or infuse them to prepare tea. They have a sweet taste and are sometimes also used as an alternative to sweeteners. In fact, certain bottled drinks and ice cream flavors in China use Jiaogulan for the sweet taste.
The Research So Far
Serious studies were initiated on the herb over 20 years ago, and due to its health benefits, it was incorporated in traditional Chinese medicine. It was used to cure peptic ulcers and other stomach problems. It was consumed to attain relief from respiratory issues of cold, cough and chronic bronchitis. However, keep in mind that the benefits of Jiaogulan extend to much more than the problems of the stomach and the respiratory tract.
Today, the Chinese drink Jiaogulan tea on a regular basis claiming to get benefitted by its antioxidant properties. It helps reduce blood pressure, regulate cholesterol levels, maintain hormonal balance and improve the immune system. It has the ability to strengthen the heart muscle and lower the risks of cardiovascular attacks.
Add to this the benefits of modulating cancer. Jiaogulan leaves can reduce the damage and development of cancerous cells in your body. It can improve the body’s response to radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Now, even though that’s a long list of impressive benefits, experts are still conducting research to identify how the herb can improve human life.
The Chinese recognize it as the ‘immortality herb’ owing to its rejuvenating properties. However, can it actually make an individual immortal? Of course not!
It improves an individual’s current life conditions and overall well-being. Many also say that consumption of the herb helps in tackling stress as well as boosting cardiovascular health. Herbal medicine practitioners believe that the adaptogen properties of the herb help your body adapt to the environmental and physical changes, thereby restoring internal health.
While some people believe that with an improved lifestyle, Jiaogulan could let you live a longer life, there is no scientific proof or research conclusion to prove the same. In fact, there are also arguments with respect to the side effects of the herb on pregnant women. The herb is claimed to cause deformities in the development of the fetuses and therefore must be avoided by pregnant and nursing women.
Research studies on life-extending benefits are still under way. The only argument in favor of this aspect is the fact that Jiaogulan improves internal health. It makes the immune system, digestive system, respiratory system and the heart stronger. It largely reduces the chances of individuals suffering from major ailments, lowering the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular attacks or cancer.