Other Name(s):

Adaptogen, Adaptogène, Amachazuru, Dungkulcha, Fairy Herb, Ginseng du Sud, Gynostemma, Gynostemma pedatum, Gynostemma pentaphyllum, Herbe de l'Immortalité, Immortality Herb, Jiao Chu Lan, Jiao Gu Lan, Miracle Grass, Penta Tea, Plante de l'Immortalité, Southern Ginseng, Thé de l'Immortalité, Vitis pentaphylla, Xian Cao, Xianxao.


Jiaogulan is a plant that grows wild in China. The leaf is used to make medicine. Jiaogulan is sometimes referred to as “Southern Ginseng” because it grows in south central China and is used in similar ways as ginseng.

Jiaogulan is used for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and improving heart function. It is also used for strengthening the immune system, increasing stamina and endurance, increasing resistance to environmental stress (as an “adaptogen”), improving memory, and preventing hair loss.

Other uses include treatment of poor appetite, cough, chronic bronchitis, ongoing stomach pain (chronic gastritis), pain and swelling (inflammation), ulcers, constipation, stress, gallstones, obesity, cancer, diabetes, trouble sleeping (insomnia), backache, and pain.

Some people use jiaogulan as an anti-aging agent, antioxidant, and detoxifying agent.

How does it work?

Jiaogulan contains substances that might help reduce cholesterol levels.


What is cholesterol? See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Reducing cholesterol levels. There is some evidence that taking jiaogulan can decrease total cholesterol and increase the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL)/total cholesterol ratio in people with high cholesterol levels.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Liver disease (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease). Early research suggests that taking jiaogulan three times daily by mouth for 4 months does not improve markers of liver function, body mass index, cholesterol levels, kidney function, or blood sugar in people with a type of liver disease called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Regulating blood pressure.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Stomach disorders.
  • Ulcers.
  • Constipation.
  • Gallstones.
  • Obesity.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Backache.
  • Pain.
  • Improving memory.
  • Improving heart function.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of jiaogulan for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Jiaogulan is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term (up to 4 months). It can cause some side effects such as severe nausea and increased bowel movements.


How to Lower Your Cholesterol & Save Your Heart See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Jiaogulan is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. One of the chemicals in jiaogulan has been linked to possible birth defects.

Not enough is known about the safety of jiaogulan during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Jiaogulan might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have an auto-immune condition, it's best to avoid using jiaogulan until more is known.

Bleeding disorders: Jiaogulan may slow blood clotting. There is a concern that it might make bleeding disorders worse.

Surgery: Jiaogulan might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using jiaogulan at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Jiaogulan increases the activity of the immune system. By increasing the immune system jiaogulan might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the activity of the immune system.

Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Jiaogulan might slow blood clotting. Taking jiaogulan along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For high cholesterol: jiaogulan extract 10 mg three times daily.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Chen, J. C., Chung, J. G., and Chen, L. D. Gypenoside induces apoptosis in human Hep3B and HA22T tumour cells. Cytobios 1999;100(393):37-48. View abstract.

Chen, J. C., Lu, K. W., Lee, J. H., Yeh, C. C., and Chung, J. G. Gypenosides induced apoptosis in human colon cancer cells through the mitochondria-dependent pathways and activation of caspase-3. Anticancer Res 2006;26(6B):4313-4326. View abstract.

Chou, S. C., Chen, K. W., Hwang, J. S., Lu, W. T., Chu, Y. Y., Lin, J. D., Chang, H. J., and See, L. C. The add-on effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Altern Ther Health Med 2006;12(3):34-39. View abstract.

Han, M. Q., Liu, J. X., and Gao, H. [Effects of 24 Chinese medicinal herbs on nucleic acid, protein and cell cycle of human lung adenocarcinoma cell]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1995;15(3):147-149. View abstract.

Hou, J., Liu, S., Ma, Z., Lang, X., Wang, J., Wang, J., and Liang, Z. Effects of gynostemma pentaphyllum makino on the immunological function of cancer patients. J.Tradit.Chin Med. 1991;11(1):47-52. View abstract.

Huang, T. H., Li, Y., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Tran, V. H., Li, G. Q., Duke, C. C., and Roufogalis, B. D. Gypenoside XLIX isolated from Gynostemma pentaphyllum inhibits nuclear factor-kappaB activation via a PPAR-alpha-dependent pathway. J Biomed Sci 2006;13(4):535-548. View abstract.

Huang, T. H., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Salam, N. K., Duke, R. K., Tran, V. H., Duke, C. C., and Roufogalis, B. D. A novel LXR-alpha activator identified from the natural product Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Biochem Pharmacol 11-1-2005;70(9):1298-1308. View abstract.

Liu, X., Ye, W., Mo, Z., Yu, B., Wu, H., Zhao, S., Che, C., and Hsiao, W. L. Three dammarane-type saponins from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Planta Med 2005;71(9):880-884. View abstract.

Takagi, J., Imada, T., Kikuchi, T., Saito, Y., and Inada, Y. A new platelet aggregation factor from Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino. Chem.Pharm.Bull.(Tokyo) 1985;33(12):5568-5571. View abstract.

Wang, Q. F., Chen, J. C., Hsieh, S. J., Cheng, C. C., and Hsu, S. L. Regulation of Bcl-2 family molecules and activation of caspase cascade involved in gypenosides-induced apoptosis in human hepatoma cells. Cancer Lett 9-26-2002;183(2):169-178. View abstract.

Chan LY, Chiu PY, Lau TK. An in-vitro study of ginsenoside Rb(1)-induced teratogenicity using a whole rat embryo culture model. Hum Reprod 2003;18:2166-8.. View abstract.

Hu X, et al. Antilipemic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum in patients. Fujian Med J 1988;10:4-6.

la Cour B, Molgaard P, Yi Z. Traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of hyperlipidaemia. J Ethnopharmacol 1995;46:125-9. View abstract.

Lin L, Lau BH. Protection of vascular endothelial cells from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidant injury by gypenosides, saponins, of Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Phytother Res 1993;7:299-304.

Takagi J, Imada T, Kikuchi T, et al. A new platelet aggregation factor from gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1985;33:5568-71.

Tan H, Liu ZL, Liu MJ. [Antithrombotic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum]. Zhingguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1993;13:278-80. View abstract.

Zhou H, et al. Treatment of hyperlipidemia with Gynostemma pentaphyllum jiaogulan. Hunan Med J 1991;8:259-60.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors