Back in the 1970’s when China did a nationwide census there was a province, the Guizhou province, that had a large number of people living to 100 years of age and older. Daily life of the people didn’t differ too much from other similar provinces. This got people wondering what they where doing that could possibly contribute to their longevity. A team at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences contributed their longevity to drinking a tea made from a wild plant that grew in the area. This plant was Gynostemma.
Having a high life expectancy wasn’t the only thing that the researchers found. There was also a very low incidence of medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, etc… This is believed to be due to the incredibly high amount of saponins. These are steroid/terpene based compounds that tend to foam up in water. Another food high in saponins is ginseng. Ginseng is widely known for its health benefits, it has 28 different saponins.
The average American waist line has been expanding at a pretty steady pace for quite a while now. There are multiple reasons for this. The way we have set up our social norms has caused us to take in more calories and lower the amount of physical activity we do. As mentioned earlier gynostemma is loaded with sapopnins. One saponin in particular, actiponin, has some research behind it that says that it is effective at treating obesity. In one randomized double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial participants where given an extract of gynostemma for a 12 week period. Without changing anything in their diet or altering their daily routine the gynostemma extract group lost an average of 20.9 cm off their abdomen while the control group lost only 2.87 cm on average. Seems like a no brainier losing weight by drinking a tea.
Not only will it help you lose weight, but it will also protect your body from disease. In one study mice given an immune suppressing substance, Cyclophosphamide, where quickly able to raise their circulating Natural Killer (NK) cells. These are the cells that destroy cancerous cells. We will touch on cancer a little more in depth in a bit. Another study showed Gynostemma seems to activate T and B cells. T cells deal tend to deal with already infected cells and message the body to take care of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. B Cells on the other hand flag toxic or foreign objects so that they can be destroyed by phagocytes. B Cells flag these invaders with antibodies. Each invader has its own antibody. Gynostemma has been shown to raise production in all the antibodies that one’s body is able to produce.
Longevity and immunity go pretty hand in hand. Everything talked about in that last paragraph could have easily went here. On that note the next two paragraphs could too. To start off gynostemma is an adaptogen meaning that it helps normalize bodily functions and help deal with stress. If you have read any of my other blogs you should have a pretty good idea of why lowering cortisol is good for longevity. It also supports liver function. This is important as the liver filters the blood. It also lowers LDL cholesterol while raising HDL. One of the most important properties, in my opinion is its effects on insulin sensitivity. Insulin has multiple actions in the body including the deposition of fat in adipose cells and causing the body to retain sodium. So anything you can do to help insulin sensitivity is a good thing.
Heart and Cardiovascular Health
Gynostemma seems to be quite beneficial when it comes to the heart and cardiovascular system. As mentioned previously it regulates blood pressure. If its to low it will raise it and if its to high it will help lower it. Not only does it regulate blood pressure, but it also pretty beneficial to the function of the heart itself. It helps restore the hearts rhythm and can help with arrhythmias. Another thing noted when it comes to the heart is that gynostemma seems to increase cardiac output and stroke volume while simultaneously lowering the number of beats per minute. Looking at the rest of the cardiovascular system we see benefits there as well. some of the saponins promote vascular flexibility.
Cancer and Gynostemma
“In summary,Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino (GpM) has been investigated extensively as a potent anti-cancer agent against many types of cancers both in vitro and in vivo. The general consensus from the literature is that GpM exerts its anti-cancer activities through multiple mechanisms, including cell cycle arrest, the induction of apoptosis, inhibition of invasion and metastasis, glycolysis inhibition and immunomodulation.”(3)
The statistic for people that end up with cancer in America is one in three. That is one in two men and one in four women. So taking things with anti-cancer properties is, in my opinion, in this day and age is a must. As mentioned earlier it causes the body to up its production of antioxidants. In EVERY single tumor examined to date there is a diminished amount of SOD in the tissue. Tumors actually produce superoxide radicals, and this is a major reason that we need to keep SOD production high. Especially if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Apoptosis is a term referring to programmed cell death. Cancer spreads through a process called metastasis. Gynostemma has been shown to slow down the This process.
As Always Say YES to Your Health
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