Jiaogulan And Cancer
Jiaogulan And Cancer
Jiaogulan – A Herbal Remedy for Cancer?
What if we told you the consumption of a simple herb can not only help protect you from diseases like cancer but also help treat the disease itself?
With a legendary reputation in Chinese medicine, Jiaogulan ‘The Immortality Herb’ has long been used for the treatment of several diseases, including hepatitis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
More recently however, Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) has been shown to exhibit potent anti-cancer activities in both human and animal studies that remain unknown to most people.
Majestic Herbs conducted an in-depth review of clinical studies, experimental studies, and literature on Jiaogulan’s anti-cancer activities and its mechanisms of action on cancer.
To say the results to date are surprising would be an understatement – they are nothing short of astonishing.
If existing human and animal studies are to be believed, the consumption of Jiaogulan can have not only preventative effects on cancer, but curative effects as well.
We have collated the following research as a reference guide for anyone considering taking Jiaogulan to treat cancer or as a preventative measure.
It is a cliché for a reason – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This is especially true with cancer considering many people show no signs or symptoms of cancer until the disease is far advanced.
When talking about the causes of cancer and how to prevent it and how to treat it, we need to look at cancer’s development at both a systemic and cellular level.
The systemic level is the set of conditions in the body that allowed cancer to grow in the first place and how we treat those conditions or systemic environment in which cancer thrived.
Cancer practitioners are currently focused on the cellular level, trying to kill cancer cells or revert them to normal cells, while the systemic environment or root cause of the cancer is largely ignored.
Cancer is essentially a temporary malfunction in your normal cell division process and to understand why conventional treatment falls short we need to look at the ‘systemic’ conditions cancer needs to thrive.
Generally speaking all cancers need:
- A weak immune system
- Excess toxins
- Low oxygen uptake by the cells
- Excess acidity
Unfortunately conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy make all four of these conditions worse.
Once one comprehends this, the current conventional cancer treatment system begins to make no sense.
Before we look at how Jiaogulan addresses the systemic level cancer’s development in more detail, we need to look at what is now considered the ‘best’ conventional cancer treatment and why you should be doing your utmost to avoid it.
The Problem with Chemotherapy
- Half the patients die from the chemotherapy, NOT the disease
- The treatment itself is toxic and severely hampers the immune system
- The root cause or systemic environment in which cancer grew is not being addressed.
- Cancer stem cells (CSCs) – a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and resistant to treatment – DO NOT DIE and the disease can return
- Chemotherapy drugs can cause permanent changes in the way that your kidneys, liver, heart or lungs work
- It is extremely expensive, costing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- It exacerbates the systemic conditions in which cancer thrives
While chemotherapy has long been considered the best available standard for treating cancer, it’s not because it is especially effective.
The inconvenient truth is that half the cancer patients receiving ‘chemo’ to treat their cancer die from the treatment not the disease. 1
This is because chemotherapy drugs are powerful enough to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, but they also destroy perfectly healthy cells, resulting in nasty and often fatal side effects.
The treatment can be likened to carpet-bombing a city (the body) to kill a few terrorists (the cancer cells).
And because the root cause of the cancer is often left untreated the cancer can return and multiple chemotherapy treatments are frequently necessary.
If you are undergoing chemotherapy, Jiaogulan has been shown in numerous trials to help the body adapt to the incredibly stressful treatment. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 27, 30
This is due to Jiaogulan’s role as a powerful adaptogen.
Adaptogens have been shown to protect the body from different types of stress, support normal metabolism, help restore balance to the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems, and allow the body to maintain optimal homeostasis (balance).
To learn more about Jiaogulan’s role as an adaptogen, see Jiaogulan the Adaptogen.
Free Radicals, Toxins and Disease
While ageing has been defined as an accumulation of free radicals, they are also associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many others.
Substances that create free radicals are found in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.
At high concentrations, these free radicals can damage all major components of cells, including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes.
Oxidative stress is the oxidative damage that results from an imbalance between the free radicals in your body and your body’s army of antioxidants.
The body is under a constant barrage from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.To counteract it, the body produces antioxidants to neutralise or ‘clean up’ free radicals.
Adopting a diet that is rich in antioxidants is widely accepted to help neutralize free radicals. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are rich sources of dietary antioxidants.
Dietary antioxidants are known as exogenous antioxidants (originating from outside an organism).
The National Cancer Institute says this about exogenous antioxidants underlining their importance in cancer prevention:
“In laboratory and animal studies, the presence of increased levels of exogenous antioxidants has been shown to prevent exactly the types of free radical damage linked with cancer development.”
Jiaogulan Stimulates The Body’s Most Powerful Antioxidants
Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of antioxidants and the role they play in maintaining good health and reducing the risk of diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.8,9,10,11,12
Jiaogulan does NOT act as a simple dietary antioxidant in the same way fruits, vegetables, and other teas like green tea do.
Though it is also rich in dietary antioxidants, it has a key mechanism of action that dietary antioxidants do not.
Jiaogulan stimulates the human body’s production of the most powerful internal (endogenous) antioxidants: Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Glutathione Peroxidase (Gpx), and Catalase (CAT).13,14,15
These super antioxidants are also either impossible to obtain from food (SOD) or very difficult (Gpx and CAT).
Produced within our cells, they are our body’s internal defense mechanism and far more potent in preventing free radical damage than dietary antioxidants.
In fact, consuming Jiaogulan or reishi (the mushroom) are the only known ways to boost the body’s levels of superoxide dismutase – arguably the most powerful and important antioxidant of all.
SOD acts as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, breaking down superoxide – a destructive compound that may contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases – into harmless substances.
The SOD levels in people vary and they have been linked to longevity – a person’s SOD levels may well be the reason some people can smoke and drink and live to an old age, while others can’t.
Glutathione is known as ‘the master antioxidant’ due to its ability to regenerate itself in the liver after each scavenge of free radicals before returning to work.
It is the human body’s central detoxifier. Glutathione protects our cells, regulates our metabolism, indirectly promotes normal immune function and is critical for controlling inflammation.
The truth is all three of these antioxidants are vital in helping the immune system do its job of fighting infections, and preventing cancer and other diseases.
Jiaogulan Supplements Internal Antioxidants
The fact our production of these internal antioxidants decreases dramatically with age, means we are left increasingly defenseless against the onslaught of free radicals.
The regular consumption of jiaogulan is one way to supplement all 3 of these key antioxidants in one fell swoop.
To learn more about why Jiaogulan’s ability to stimulate the production of these internal antioxidants is so important to disease prevention see Jiaogulan The Supreme Antioxidant.
Jiaogulan Boosts The Body’s Immune Response
It is believed the immune system plays a vital role in the prevention of cancer though our current understanding on how our bodies fight the disease is far from complete.
Recent research suggests our immune system does not only naturally protect us against infectious diseases (pathogens) but also against malignant ones like cancer. 16
Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a relatively new type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer.
Based around the idea that the immune system can be ‘woken up’ so it can fight cancer, immunotherapy has shown promise in early clinical trials.
Jiaogulan – consumed in its natural form – can protect and strengthen immune system function according to numerous human and animal studies.
Jiaogulan has been shown to protect the integrity of the immune system from free radicals and environmental toxins. 17, 18, 19
The herb has been shown to fight inflammation by decreasing free radical damage and inhibiting a protein involved in ‘cell survival’ and ‘signaling’ – both important factors in the generation of inflammation. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
It has also been reported that Jiaogulan protects the immune system from the effects of stress 6, and cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
Jiaogulan for Cancer Treatment
In several recent studies, compounds and extracts isolated from Jiaogulan have reported to exhibit potent cancer fighting activities.
Numerous scientific studies also suggest biological agents within the herb can not only help prevent cancer but also kill certain cancer cells! 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49
While more research is needed, Jiaogulan has shown in studies to work in several ways to help treat cancer.
Jiaogulan’s Anti-Cancer Activities (Supported by Studies)
Both human and animal studies have demonstrated that Jiaogulan acts on cancer in several different ways. Compounds extracted from Gynostemma including Gypenosides (saponins), flavonoids and polysaccharides have been shown to:
- Stimulate the body’s production of its most powerful antioxidants – Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione peroxidase (Gpx), and Catalase (CAT)
- Inhibit energy production in cancer cells.
- Boost the body’s immune response and ability to fight diseases like cancer
- Inhibit the growth of cancer cells
- Inhibit the production or formation of tumors in mice
- Act on cancer cell cycle arrest (cancer cell death)
- Initiate apoptosis (cause programmed cancer cell death)
- Prevent or suppress invasion (mutant cancer cells invading nearby tissues)
- Prevent or reduce metastasis (spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body)
- Prevent or inhibit glycolysis (cancer cells generally exhibit increased glycolysis)
- Enhance Natural Killer (tumor hunter) cell activity in breast cancer patients
Many of the compounds and extracts isolated from the herb in studies, “noticeably”, prevented or retarded the spread of cancer cells.
The overarching consensus from contemporary research suggests Jiaogulan has a broad anti-cancer spectrum without any obvious negative effect on normal cells. 49
Why Haven’t I Heard of This Research?
It is astounding given the sheer weight of compelling research into Jiaogulan’s effects on cancer that it is not better known as a treatment or preventative measure.
A litany of studies suggests Jiaogulan has an incredible range of medical properties but for several reasons these remain unknown to most people.
Traditional forms of herbal medicine remain under-researched relative to pharmaceuticals due in part to a lack of financial incentive for sponsors and an inability to obtain for companies to obtain lucrative FDA monopolies.
Perceived as a threat, herbal medicines have been attacked for methodological flaws.
Humble herbs like Jiaogulan, lack the marketability, patentability and FDA protected exclusivity of a supplement or the latest wonder drug.
Bearing that in mind, false claims about efficacy of herbs or herbal supplements, have done herbalism no favours.
We take a look at the studies relevant to Jiaogulan and cancer so you can make your own decision on the veracity of each case.
We have not cherry picked these studies in any way.
Clinical anti-cancer studies on Jiaogulan (Gynostemma)
(Warning medical terminology ahead)
Human studies on Jiaogulan’s effects on cancer include one in 1993 involving 59 patients with advanced malignant tumors to assess the effects of Jiaogulan (Gynostemma).
The results of that study revealed that patient treated with Gynostemma showed cancer relapse and metastasis rates of 11.9 and 8.5%, respectively, compared with values of 72.4 and 55.2 % in the control group. 50
The results of a separate 5-year observational study also showed that the treatment of cancer patients with a Gynostemma extract led to significant reductions in cancer relapse and metastasis rates, as well as reduced mortality and improved immune function in these patients. 51
Gynostemma has also been reported to enhance Natural Killer (NK) cell activity in breast cancer patients 52, and improve the immune function of cancer patients after chemotherapy. 2,5,6,7
The results of a study from 2015, demonstrated that Gynostemma can work together with chemotherapy reagents. 54
Reported Anti-Cancer & Anti-Tumor Activities
Jiaogulan’s anti-cancer activities, observed In Vivo (in living organisms):
Mice injected with SAS oral cancer cells were treated with Gypenosides (extracted from Jiaogulan), which led to significant reductions in the size of solid tumors. 41
Gypenosides also promoted the survival of mice xenografted with (WEHI-3) leukemia cells, which was accompanied by an increase in the number of megakaryocytes (a large bone marrow cells) and reduced spleen weight in these animals, indicating an enhanced immune response. 42
Similar anti-cancer activities have also been reported for Gynostemma in another leukemia mouse model.
In that model, treatment of tumor-bearing mice with Gynostemma (5 or 20 mg/kg/day) for 4 weeks led to considerable decreases in the size and weight of their tumors without altering their body weight. 43
Gypenosides also strongly suppressed tumor growth in mice bearing advanced S180 sarcoma, which was associated with an increase in the ratio of tumor necrosis area to tumor total area and lymphocyte/macrophage infiltration into the peripheral areas of tumors.
This effect also led to an increase in the weight of the spleens of these animals, as well as increases in the quantity and size of their splenic white pulp. 44
Gypenosides have also been reported to inhibit the production or formation of a tumor or tumors in a transgenic mouse model of cancer. 55, 56
A polysaccharide from Gynostemma inhibited the development of transplanted S180 sarcoma in a dose-dependent manner and increased the phagocytosis of macrophages, as well as increasing the production of NO, IL-1β and TNF-α from the peritoneal macrophages. 56
Treatment with CGPP (neutral polysaccharide fraction) extracted from Gynostemma also led to improvements in the body weight, spleen/thymus index and degree of splenocyte proliferation in tumor-bearing mice. 48
Furthermore, CGPP treatment led to considerable increases in the levels of cytokines, such as IL-2, TNF-α, and IFN-γ in tumor-bearing mice, as well as increases in the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). 48
The tumor inhibitory and immunoregulatory effects of CGPP greatly increased the lifespan of H22 ascites in tumor-bearing mice. 48
While the results from these studies are already very encouraging, please keep in mind that the longest human study duration was of only 12 weeks.
Taking Jiaogulan on a daily basis for longer periods is very likely to give even better results.
It is important to note that Jiaogulan is a home remedy for diabetes that may be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs, like Metformin, but without any of their drawbacks:
Safe to Use
Jiaogulan has NO negative side effects aside from rare cases of temporary nausea. It has been repeatedly shown to be completely non-toxic and safe for long-term use. It does not cause hypoglycemia (below normal blood glucose level), because it is an adaptogen that has a strong balancing effect on the body. It will act to lower blood glucose only if your level is above normal.
In addition to attacking diabetes on multiple levels, protecting your body from diabetic damage, and increasing your energy levels, Jiaogulan is VERY beneficial to ALL aspects of your health, including the cardiovascular system, brain and nervous system, liver, kidneys, immune function, lungs, and skin. It was also found to have strong anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-stress, and anti-anxiety effects, to promote weight loss, to balance blood pressure and cholesterol, help with depression, and more.
Jiaogulan is inexpensive – a single pack is usually enough for one month of daily usage. However, if you are a diabetic and want to see quicker results, the dosage/concentration should be increased. In that case, 3 packs of tea should be sufficient for 2 months of use. That still adds up to less than $30 per month.
Easy to Use
Using Gynostemma is as easy as brewing a tea that is pleasant and mild, in taste similar to that of green tea. Life for a diabetic is already difficult enough and we want to make it easier, not harder!
- Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG; Gynostemma pentaphyllum Tea Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Patients; Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism; 2013;2013:765383. doi: 10.1155/2013/765383. Epub 2013 Jan 31.
- Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG; Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients; Hormone and Metabolic Research; 2010 May;42(5):353-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1248298. Epub 2010 Mar 8.
- Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Ky PT, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG; Antidiabetic Effects of Add-On Gynostemma pentaphyllum Extract Therapy with Sulfonylureas in Type 2 Diabetic Patients; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 2012; 2012:452313. doi: 10.1155/2012/452313. Epub 2012 Oct
- Lokman; Anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects of medicinal plants in a type 2 diabetic animal model; Doctoral Thesis, Kirurgisalen, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna; 2015
- Yeo J, Kang YJ, Jeon SM, Jung UJ, Lee MK, Song H, Choi MS; Potential hypoglycemic effect of an ethanol extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum in C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice; Journal of Medicinal Food; 2008 Dec;11(4):709-16. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2007.0148.
- Hoa, N.K., Phan, D.V., Thuan, N.D., Ostenson, C.-G; Screening of the hypoglycemic effect of eight Vietnamese herbal drugs; Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology; 2009, 31(3): 165; DOI: 10.1358/mf.2009.31.3.1362514
- Samer Megalli, Neal M. Davies, and Basil D. Roufogalis; Anti-Hyperlipidemic and Hypoglycemic Effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the Zucker Fatty Rat; J Pharm Pharmaceut Sci (www.cspscanada.org) 9(3):281-291, 2006
- Zhang HJ, Ji BP, Chen G, Zhou F, Luo YC, Yu HQ, Gao FY, Zhang ZP, Li HY; A combination of grape seed-derived procyanidins and gypenosides alleviates insulin resistance in mice and HepG2 cells; Journal of Food Science; 2009 Jan-Feb;74(1):H1-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00976.x.
- Yassin K, Huyen VTT, Hoa KN, Östenson CG. Herbal Extract of Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Decreases Hepatic Glucose Output in Type 2 Diabetic Goto-Kakizaki Rats; International Journal of Biomedical Science. 2011;7(2):131-136.
- Waranya Keapai, Sopida Apichai, Narissara Lailerd, Anchalee Pongchaidecha; Attenuation of Hyperglycemia and Hyperlipidemia in High Fat Diet and Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats by Aqueous Extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum; 12th Graduate Research Conference, Khon Kaen University, Thailand; 2011.
- Ake Norberg et al.; A Novel Insulin-releasing Substance, Phanoside, from the Plant Gynostemma pentaphyllum; The Journal of Biological Chemistry; October 1, 2004; 279, 41361-41367; doi: 10.1074/jbc.M403435200
- Hoa NK, Norberg A, Sillard R, Van Phan D, Thuan ND, Dzung DT, Jörnvall H, Ostenson CG; The possible mechanisms by which phanoside stimulates insulin secretion from rat islets; The Journal of Endocrinology; 2007 Feb;192(2):389-94.
- Lokman EF, Gu HF, Wan Mohamud WN, Östenson CG.; Evaluation of Antidiabetic Effects of the Traditional Medicinal Plant Gynostemma pentaphyllum and the Possible Mechanisms of Insulin Release; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015:120572. doi: 10.1155/2015/120572. Epub 2015 Jun 23. PMID: 26199630
- Ge M, Ma S, Tao L, Guan S; The effect of gypenosides on cardiac function and expression of cytoskeletal genes of myocardium in diabetic cardiomyopathy rats; American Journal of Chinese Medicine; 2009;37(6):1059-68.
- GE Min ,LIU Tong, GUAN Su-dong, MA Shan-feng, WU Ying-liang; Effects of gypenosides on cardiac function in diabetic cardiomyopathy rats; Journal of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University; 2007-06
- DU Xiao-yan, HOU Ying, TAN Hua, HAN Yan, ZHANG Yan; Hypoglycemic Activity of Polysaccharide from Gynostemma pentaphyllum on Type 2 Diabetic Rats and its Mechanism; Science Technology and Engineering; 2011-24
- He Q, Li JK, Li F, Li RG, Zhan GQ, Li G, Du WX, Tan HB.; Mechanism of action of gypenosides on type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats.World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2015 Feb 21;21(7):2058-66. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i7.2058. PMID: 25717238