Chinese Name: Jiao Gu Lan
Medical Name:
Latin Name: Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

A DICTIONARY OF CHINESE HERBS: Boosts the immune system, protects against cancer, delays the onset of ageing, assists cellular regeneration, and strengthens the cardiac muscles. By counteracting haemostasis and assisting blood transport, it can offset the effects of blood shortage in the brain.

Western Research

Anticancer Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;26(6B):4313-26.
Gypenosides induced apoptosis in human colon cancer cells through the mitochondria-dependent pathways and activation of caspase-3.
Chen JC, Lu KW, Lee JH, Yeh CC, Chung JG.
Chinese Medical Research Institute, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.
The effects of the gypenosides (Gyp), a component of Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino, on the cell viability, cell cycle and induction of apoptosis were investigated in human colon cancer colo 205 cells. Gyp was cytotoxic to colo 205 cells with an IC50 of 113.5 microg/ml. The decreasing number of viable cells appeared to be due to the induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptotic cell death, since Gyp induced morphological changes and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and increased the sub-G1 group. The production of reactive oxygen species and Ca2+ and the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential were observed, dose- and time-dependently, after treatment with various concentrations of Gyp. Gyp treatment also gradually decreased the expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl, but increased the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax. Gyp increased the levels of p53 and promoted the release of cytochrome c and the activation of caspase-3 before leading to apoptosis. These results provide information towards an understanding of the mechanisms by which Gyp induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human colon cancer cells.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 May-Jun;12(3):34-9.
The add-on effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Chou SC, Chen KW, Hwang JS, Lu WT, Chu YY, Lin JD, Chang HJ, See LC.
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Taiwan.
CONTEXT: Other than weight reduction by dieting or physical activity, there are no well-documented medical treatments for fatty liver disease. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of the add-on Gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP) in research subjects with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. DESIGN: A randomized, single-blind, controlled clinical trial. SETTING: Hospital-based clinic. PATIENTS: Fifty-six research subjects who were diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver by abdominal ultrasound scanning. INTERVENTIONS: The treatment group and the control group followed a controlled diet for 2 months. After 2 months, the treatment group continued to diet and received 80 mL GP extraction for 4 months; the control group continued to diet and received a placebo capsule for 4 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Body mass index (BMI), biochemistry data, and fatty liver score were measured at baseline, at 2 months, and at 6 months. RESULTS: After 2 months of dieting, BMI and most biochemistry data decreased in both study groups. There were no significant differences in BMI or biochemistry data at month 2 between the 2 study groups. At month 6, BMI, triglyceride, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, insulin (ALP), insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR), and fatty liver score were reduced in both groups. The treatment group saw significant reductions in BMI, AST, ALP, insulin, and HOMA-IR, however. Changes in uric acid levels in the 2 groups from month 2 to month 6 were statistically significant (P = .028) CONCLUSION: GP is an effective adjunct treatment to diet therapy for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007 Jan 1;218(1):30-6.
Gypenoside XLIX, a naturally occurring gynosaponin, PPAR-alpha dependently inhibits LPS-induced tissue factor expression and activity in human THP-1 monocytic cells.
Huang TH, Tran VH, Roufogalis BD, Li Y.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
Tissue factor (TF) is involved not only in the progression of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases, but is also associated with tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis and hence may be an attractive target for directed cancer therapeutics. Gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP) is widely used in the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, as well as cancers. Gypenoside (Gyp) XLIX, a dammarane-type glycoside, is one of the prominent components in GP. We have recently reported Gyp XLIX to be a potent peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha activator. Here we demonstrate that Gyp XLIX (0-300 microM) concentration dependently inhibited TF promoter activity after induction by the inflammatory stimulus lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in human monocytic THP-1 cells transfected with promoter reporter constructs pTF-LUC. Furthermore, Gyp XLIX inhibited LPS-induced TF mRNA and protein overexpression in THP-1 monocyte cells. Its inhibition of LPS-induced TF hyperactivity was further confirmed by chromogenic enzyme activity assay. The activities of Gyp XLIX reported in this study were similar to those of Wy-14643, a potent synthetic PPAR-alpha activator. Furthermore, the Gyp XLIX-induced inhibitory effect on TF luciferase activity was completely abolished in the presence of the PPAR-alpha selective antagonist MK-886. The present findings suggest that Gyp XLIX inhibits LPS-induced TF overexpression and enhancement of its activity in human THP-1 monocytic cells via PPAR-alpha-dependent pathways. The data provide new insights into the basis of the use of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine G. pentaphyllum for the treatment of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, as well as cancers.

Cancer Lett 2002 Sep 26;183(2):169-78
Regulation of Bcl-2 family molecules and activation of caspase cascade involved in gypenosides-induced apoptosis in human hepatoma cells.
Wang QF, Chen JC, Hsieh SJ, Cheng CC, Hsu SL.
Institute of Chinese Medicine Sciences, China Medical College, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.
Gypenosides (Gyp) are triterpenoid saponins contained in an extract from Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino and reported to induce apoptosis in human hepatoma cells. In this study, we found that Gyp induced apoptosis in human hepatoma Huh-7, Hep3B and HA22T cell lines. Taken together, these results suggest that treatment of human hepatoma cells with Gyp induced apoptosis through the up-regulation of Bax and Bak, and down-regulation of Bcl-2, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and activation of caspase cascade.

Zhong Yao Cai 1999 Jun;22(6):303-6
[Scavenging effects of Astragalus and Gynostemma pentaphyllum with its product on O2-. and .OH] [Article in Chinese]
Ma Z, Yang Z.
Graduate School, University of Science and Technology of China, Beijing 100039.
The scavenging effects of Astragalus and Gynostemma pentaphyllum with its products on O2-. (produced by the autoxidation of pyrogallol) and .OH (generated from the Fenton reaction) were investigated by electrochemical method. The results showed that they could scavenge the active oxygen free radicals effectively, however, their scavenge ability was different for O2-. and .OH. The inhibitory effect of Ginsenoside Rb1 and Astragaloside IV on O2-. and .OH was the most strongest.

Curr Microbiol 2001 Oct;43(4):299-301
Inhibitory effects of gynostemma pentaphyllum on the UV induction of bacteriophage lambda in lysogenic Escherichia coli.
Zhu S, Fang C, Zhu S, Peng F, Zhang L, Fan C.
College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, China.
Effects of gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP) on the bacteriophage lambda induced by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation showed that GP could inhibit the UV induction of bacteriophage lambda in lysogenic cells. These results indicate that gynostemma pentaphyllum not only is a scavenger of free radicals, but also possesses the biological function of anti-irradiation, and that there is a close relation between the UV irradiation of the bacteriaphage lambda and free radicals.

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1993 May;13(5):278-80, 261
[Antithrombotic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum] [Article in Chinese]
Tan H, Liu ZL, Liu MJ.
Second Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical College.
Human blood samples were investigated in vitro to observe the antithrombotic effect of water extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP). The results showed that GP could inhibit significantly the platelet aggregation, accelerate obviously the disaggregation and inhibit effectively the experimental thrombosis.