A traditional Chinese medicinal herb called gynostemma (sometimes referred to as "Southern Ginseng") has been used in China to treat ailments such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, and even hepatitis.
It is commonly consumed as a tea and can be purchased in supplemental forms, such as in capsules. It has been touted to have many benefits, such as decreasing body fat levels, treating Parkinson's Disease, and having protective effects on your heart. But are any of these bold claims even true? Let's see what science has to say!
Gynostemma and Diabetes
Probably the most common use of this supplement is that it has been used as some form of treatment for those who have diabetes.
In one study, subjects supplemented with gynostemma took 6 grams per day with their gliclazide therapy (a standard diabetic treatment).
- Gynostemma decreased blood sugar further and another marker of diabetes/blood sugar control known as HbA1c compared to those who didn't receive gynostemma as part of their gliclazide treatment .
Another study that didn't even use a primary clinical diabetes treatment plan had people with type 2 diabetes split into two groups. Over 12 weeks, one group took 6 grams daily, while the other took a placebo.
- Those who took the supplement had significantly decreased their blood sugar levels, insulin, and HbA1c levels significantly more than the placebo group .
Decreasing Body Fat
In a study involving mice, gynostemma was administered for eight weeks to see if it would help them lose more body fat than a control group who did not take the supplement.
- Researchers discovered that the mice who took gynostemma put on 8.1% less fat than the mice who didn't take it .
This was independent of food intake, meaning that all of the mice from both groups consumed the same amount of calories each day.
This means that the fat loss seen in the mice can be attributed to gynostemma itself and not some random outside influence. Pretty cool, right?
This debilitating disease significantly affects motor functioning in those who suffer from it. This includes things like trouble walking, commonly falling, muscle stiffness, and shakiness.
The good thing here is that gynostemma appears to slow down the damage caused by a particular cluster of neurons (cells in the brain) that are correlated with the development of Parkinson's.
- In a review of multiple studies, researchers hypothesize that gynostemma has an antioxidative effect .
This is due to a key component of this disease known as oxidative damage, which occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are out of proportion. Free radicals are known to damage the body, while antioxidants work to protect the body's cells.
Gynostemma Has Heart-Protecting Compounds
Gynostemma can protect the heart because of its positive effects that have been shown in diabetes research. Having diabetes tends to weaken cardiac muscle (muscles that contract the heart) over time.
- A study that used diabetic rats that supplemented with gynostemma saw normalization of the function of the left ventricle, which is the chamber of the heart responsible for pumping oxygenated blood from the lungs out to the rest of the body .
Not only that, but gynostemma has also been shown to improve what is called heart contractility, which is the strength of the heart’s muscles to pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.
- Another rat study showed that a particular enzyme in the heart is inhibited and responsible for the loss of strength of the heart's contractile tissues .
Nitric Oxide & Gynostemma
Those of us who are into exercise are most likely familiar with the term nitric oxide. Those who aren't or want a better understanding; it works as a vasodilator for the entire body's blood vessels. In other words, the blood vessels widen, and blood flows more easily.
What benefits can this have exactly? Well, since blood is responsible for delivering nutrients to the parts of the body that need it, it can improve exercise performance and recovery.
But not only that, it has overall protective benefits for the heart for the same reason it can improve exercise performance, that being that enhanced nutrient delivery from the increased amount of blood flow.
- Gynostemma has been shown to cause vasodilation in cattle's cell culture, and human studies are in development .
Gynostemma For Atherosclerosis
This condition refers to the buildup of fatty plaque on the artery walls, where if they build up to a high enough level can cause blood vessel ruptures and heart attacks.
While studies are just beginning on what effects this supplement could have on this condition, some researchers suggest that gynostemma may reduce what are called vascular adhesion factors.
- In one study that used human cell culture, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 was prevented from being overexpressed due to the administration of gynostemma .
This has the potential to indirectly reduce the amount of plaque in the arteries by preventing it from adhering to the artery walls.
Gynostemma's Effect On Cholesterol
Having high levels of total cholesterol is a risk factor for conditions such as heart disease. More specifically, having high levels of “bad” cholesterol (known as LDL cholesterol) is also known to be a precursor to heart problems like atherosclerosis.
One study gave rats gynostemma for five weeks.
It only took two weeks to start working, as total triglycerides (fats in the blood) were lowered by 27%.
- After five weeks, that went up to 35%! Overall total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were reduced in the range of 13-22% .
While there needs to be more research performed to understand gynostemma and its vast array of benefits fully, the current research shows very exciting possibilities.
From improving general overall health markers like cholesterol, helping those who have diabetes, and even having the potential to improve exercise performance, it seems nearly endless the number of benefits that gynostemma potentially has!
The benefits gynostemma offers makes it a very attractive ingredient. That is why we added it to our Minister of Power product!
It is mixed with other powerful products that can help strengthen the kidneys and adrenals to further support multiple organs and the immune system.
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