Could this herb be the health saviour of our dreams?
From cooking to skincare, herbs are all the rage in the world of wellness and we are frequently being advised on how and why we should increase our intake of this one and that one. But what if we told you there was something that offers such an extensive array of beneficial properties it trumps most supplements, superfoods, herbs and spices?
Enter jiaogulan, a climbing plant grown in parts of Asia and, until recently, primarily used in mountainous regions of southern China and northern Vietnam. It is often referred to as the ‘herb of immortality’ because people from the Chinese province of Guizhou, where it is regularly consumed in the form of tea, are reported to have an unusual history of longevity.
Jiaogulan is a premier adaptogen and described as similar to ginseng, but better; it has been found that jiaogulan contains six times as many saponins – chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory, liver protecting and adrenal gland strengthening effects – as ginseng. The herb is also a powerful and unique antioxidant. Endogenous antioxidants are the body’s natural and primary defense against free radicals and we produce five different types. One of the most important is superoxide dismatuse (SOD), which has been linked to longevity and is responsible for disarming the most dangerous and common free radicals – superoxide radicals. Until the discovery of jiaogulan, no natural and effective ways of boosting SOD levels had been found, so in this sense there is nothing quite like it.
Jiaogulan is also renowned for promoting cardiovascular health. It has been found to prevent harm to the arterial lining (a key cause of atherosclerosis) by neutralising oxidative damage and regulating blood pressure, and in a number of studies has demonstrated the ability to limit plaque build-up by lowering bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising good cholesterol. To top it off, the herb increases the production of nitric oxide which reduces the stickiness of plateletes, thereby helping to protect against the formation of blood clots.
The list of benefits that jiaogulan offers almost seems endless – it has been shown to help relieve anxiety and stress, boost the immune system, balance hormone function and protect the skin from sun damage, to name but a few. To get your fix, try Natur Boutique’s jiaogulan tea (£3.99, fitoco.com).
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