Gynostemma a day to keep the Dr away?

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On my day off this weekend, I wondered along the beautiful streets of Santa Monica to window shop, taste a few local treats, and bask a bit in the 80 degree dry sun (you jealous?)  I stepped into one of my favorite stores called Thunderbolt Spiritual Books (http://www.thunderboltspiritualbooks.com/) (512 Santa Monica Blvd), where they offered me a free cup of delicious tea.  “It’s a tea made with gynostemma that will change your life,” said the store owner.

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Earthy, creamy, and a touch spicy, this tea WAS unique—like a new dimension of flavor I never experienced.  More important than the curiously pleasant taste was how it made me feel for the rest of the afternoon: energized yet calm (opposite of how I usually feel after 30 days of non-stop work: tired and over-whelmed.)  I became quite intrigued by this herb “gynostemma” and spent the week researching it.  Here’s a bit about this ancient herb you might be surprised and inclined to know…

What is Gynostemma?

800px-Jiaogulan

Gynostemma is also known as Jiaogulan, or literally “twisting-vine orchid,” and it looks a little bit like cilantro or flat-leaf parsley. It comes from the cucumber/gourd family and can be found naturally in Southern parts of Asia.  For thousands of years, Eastern medicine has revered gynostemma as an extremely powerful antioxidant and adaptogen (just like it sounds, an “adapt”ogen is believed in holistic medicine to adapt to you, helping to correct an imbalance in health regardless of whether you started with too high or too low.)   It also contains amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

One thing I found very interesting was that on every article I researched, and with every herbologist I spoke, gynostemma was repeatedly purported to increase longevity.

What is the evidence?

Unlike many Eastern Medicine herbs, gynostemma actually has quite a bit of research under its belt.  For the most part, the evidence shows significance in 3 arenas: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

  • Heart Health.

Gynostemma has over 100 different saponins (the same type of heart-healthy chemical found in red wine skins and ginseng.) It is thought that these saponins are responsible for:

    • DROPS IN LDL CHOLESTEROL in several studies, including this one and one resourced below (2).
    • RHYTHM INTEGRITY and ENDURANCE.  A Chinese study of 200 athletes (1) found a cup a day helped increase cardiac efficiency without increasing heart rate or blood pressure—that translates to more oxygen and blood flow with less work.
  • Type 2 Diabetes.

    • IMPROVEMENT OF GLYCEMIA and INSULIN SENSITIVITY.
      • This study shows a prompt and significant change in blood sugars through using gynostemma tea daily.  This study completed in a different country confirms this finding on a larger scale.
  • Cancer prevention.  

    • The potent saponins in gynostemma may halt the molecules responsible for tumor growth in different cancers, including:

 Where can I buy it?

If you live in Los Angeles, I highly recommend taking a trip to the very interesting store Thunderbolt and buying it there.  Also, Health-Ade sells a delicious kombucha at all the Kreation Juice locations called PURIFY that has a day’s worth of gynostemma in it as well.

Kreation Kumbucha postcard-01 (1)

Otherwise, you can buy the tea online.  The brand I bought (and suggest) is by Ron Teeguarden’s Dragon Herb line.  Remember: all herbal manufacturing companies are NOT created equal, and because this process is not regulated, I encourage you to buy from a trusted and recommended source.  Ron Teeguarden is well known for its high quality herbs.

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It appears that there may be good reason this herb is called “magic grass” in China (of course we know that would mean something completely opposite here.)   Gynostemma tea is not only delicious and energizing (yet naturally caffeine-free), it may even benefit important aspects of your health.  My husband and I are drinking it every day ever since we had our first glass.  Funny enough, I woke up this morning…as….SUPERWOMAN!!!!!!

Non-web resources:

1)     Zhou, Ying-Na, et al. “Effects of a gypenosides-containing tonic on the pulmonary function in exercise workload.” Journal of Guiyang Medical College.1993; 8(4):261.

2)     4. Yu, C. “Therapeutic effect of tablet gypenosides on 32 patients with hyperlipaemia.” Hu Bei Zhong Yi Za Zhi. Chinese. 1993; 15(3):21.

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Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  EMAIL Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! (daina@health-ade.com)

diana

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Artisan House 600 S. Main St.   DTLA    90014
Café de Leche 5000 York Blvd.   HIGHLAND PARK    90042
Crossfit Mean Streets   275 S. Main St.   DTLA   90012
Erwinson Lemus 213 w 7th st   DTLA
Fresco Market 5914 Montererey Rd.   HIGHLAND PARK    90042
Gourmet Market and Spirits 716 S Los Angeles St.   DTLA   90014
Hedgehog Café   2201 W. Sunset Blvd   SILVER LAKE    90026
Joe’s Downtown    1855 Industrial St   DTLA   90021
Joe’s LA Market 600 w Pico   DTLA   90015
Naturewell   3824 W. Sunset Blvd   SILVER LAKE   90026
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West Side/Century City/South Bay/OC:

Bravo Pizzeria   2400 Main St  SANTA MONICA   90405
Breadbar   10250 Santa Monica Blvd   CENTURY CITY   90067
Cake   3319 Highland Ave   MANHATTAN BEACH   90266
California Monster Salad   411 Santa Monica Blvd   SANTA MONICA   90401
Crossfit Los Angeles 3201 Santa Monica Blvd. SANTA MONICA 90404
Crossfit Sandbox  925 Wilshire Blvd  SANTA MONICA  90401
Crossfit Seal Beach   148 Main Street   SEAL BEACH   90740
Farmshop   225 26th St  SANTA MONICA  90402
Flake   513 Rose Ave.   VENICE   90291
Formula Pilate+Juice 2403 N Sepulveda Blvd   MANHATTAN BEACH    90266
Golden Mean Café   1028 Wilshire Blvd   SANTA MONICA   90401
Hot 8 Yoga 1422 2nd st SANTA MONICA 90401
Jackson Street Market   4065 jackson Ave   CULVER CITY   90232
Jerry’s Wine and Liquor 2923 Wilshire Blvd SANTA MONICA 90403
Kreation Juicery N. Manhattan Beach   3514 Highland Ave   MANHATTAN BEACH   90266
Kreation Juicery S. Manhattan Beach   1300 Highland Ave Ste 110   MANHATTAN BEACH   90403
Kreation Kafe Santa Monica   1023 Montana Ave Ste B   SANTA MONICA   90402
L and K Market   2127 Main Street   SANTA MONICA   90405
MAKE   395 Santa Monica Place Ste 333   SANTA MONICA   90401
Mrs Winston’s Green Grocery 3150 Ocean Park SANTA MONICA 90405
Nature Market   2723 Ocean Park Blvd   SANTA MONICA   90405
Nutritional Warehouse   405 Lincoln Blvd   VENICE   90291
Panini Garden   2715 Main St   SANTA MONICA   90405
Renovo   2200 Colorado Ave   SANTA MONICA   90404
Santa Monica Tobacco   1434 4th St.   SANTA MONICA   90401
The Farms   2030 Montana Ave   SANTA MONICA   90403
Urban Fitness   4224 Lincoln Blvd  MARINA DEL RAY   90292
Windward Farms 105 Windward Ave VENICE 90291

The Valley & Malibu:

BackDoor Bakery    8658 Foothill Blvd   SUNLAND   91040
Canyon Gourmet   120 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd   TOPANGA   90290
Cure   22741 PCH   MALIBU   90265
Follow Your Heart   21825 Sherman Way    CANOGA PARK   91303
Juicy Ladies   22423 Ventura Blvd   WOODLAND HILLS   91364
Peddler’s Café   23504 Calabasas Road   WOODLAND HILLS   91302
Rabbit Hole   30651 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd Unit H   AGOURA HILLS   91301
Vegan Joint   20855 Ventura Blvd #3   WOODLAND HILLS   91364
Vitamin Barn   23823 Malibu Road   MALIBU   90265
Hollywood/WEHO/Miracle Mile/Larchmont/Bev Hills:
Arnoco Chiropractic 4123 Verdugo Rd LOS FELIZ 90065
Canyon Country Mart   2108 Laurel canyon   HOLLYWOOD  90046
D’Amores 8369 West 3rd. Street   MIRACLE MILE    90048
Detox Market   8380 Beverly Blvd   MIRACLE MILE  90048
Elevate Fitness   8920 Sunset Blvd Ste 200B  WEHO  90069
Erewhon7660 Beverly Blvd    MIRACLE MILE  90036
Free City   1139 N. Highland Ave   HOLLYWOOD   90038
Hot 8 Yoga   8383 Wilshire Blvd Ste 75   BEV HILLS   90211
Kreation Juicery – N. Beverly Hills   9609 Santa Monica Blvd   BEV HILLS   90210
Kreation Juicery – S. Beverly Hills   9465 Charleville Blvd   BEV HILLS   90212
Larchmont Juicery   121 N. Larchmont Blvd   LARCHMONT   90004
Oaks Gourmet   1915 N. Bronson Ave   HOLLYWOOD   90068
Viva La Vegan 3505 Lavell Drive EAGLE ROCK 90065

KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

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