Antioxidant properties of Gynostemma
Gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also known as Jiaogulan) is well known for its adaptogenic effects, for increasing longevity and for its potent antioxidant effects. Gynostemma contains saponins (more specifically gynosaponins), which are believed to be the active compounds that give this plant its healing potential.
Research shows that gynostemma extract (in ethanol) can significantly reduce superoxide radicals, which are free radicals caused due to oxidative stress, that if found in high concentrations, can damage our DNA or disrupt mechanisms of repairing our DNA. Adding to that, an in vitro study (conducted in cells in test-tubes) demonstrated significant antioxidant effects against 4 different types of free radicals.
A study in 2014, carried out with mouse fibroblasts (cells that are generating connective tissue, aiding skin recovery), concluded that damage caused to those cells by UV-radiation was significantly reduced using Gynostemma extract. When we are exposed to direct sunlight, UV-radiation damage is inevitable, so apart from your sunscreen, don’t forget your gynostemma extract.
A study conducted in 1999 also showed that Gynostemma not only protects the liver through its antioxidant effects, but it reduces the level of certain enzymes in the liver (transaminases AST and ALT), aiding liver recovery after injury. Interestingly, for this type of treatment, an ethanol solution was not necessary, but rather a water extract was used (i.e. Gynostemma tea).
To conclude, there is still the need for further studies, but current research shows that Gynostemma is beneficial in our diet, both as an extract and as tea, with powerful antioxidant properties and potential for aiding in other aspects of our health.
You can pick up some delicious Gynostemma tea here: