30 Jun Why I drink Gynostemma tea every day
There’s something comforting about having a daily warm-drink ritual, whether it be first thing in the morning, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or an evening relaxer. Gynostemma isn’t your regular green tea and the benefits are too good not to share! There is no limit to how much gynostemma tea can be consumed and in my opinion, more the better. Lucky for us, it has a slightly sweet undertone which makes it easy and enjoyable to drink. Gynostemma has cumulative effects so consistency and dedication are key, which isn’t hard once you start to feel peppy and darn good.
What is Gynostemma? (pronounced with a hard G and also called Jiogulan)
Although I’d like to call gynostemma the king of all green teas, it actually doesn’t come from a tea plant. It is a herb that is related to melons and cucumbers and grows like a vine without baring any fruit. The green leaves are used to make tea which is why it may be confused with green tea itself. It grows primarily in China, Korea, Thailand and Japan and has been used for over 4 centuries!
The benefits are bountiful. Gynostemma has the beautiful ability to enliven and invigorate rather than stimulate. Invigorate means full of life and energy in comparison to stimulate which can eventually diminish your Qi (energy). With this, Gynostemma is also spirit-lifting, promoting a sense of well being and boosting concentration. Gynostemma is known as an adaptogen which means it also offers a calming effect when feeling over stimulated. For many years, Gynostemma has been used by people in southern China to increase their endurance and strength before work, and to relieve fatigue when the work day is done. So, we know drinking Gynostemma provides consistent energy when we are feeling sluggish, but can also soothe the nervous systems when we are feeling overwhelmed. This is called double-directional stress modulating activity, one of plant’s many intelligent characteristics.
Gynostemma contains exceptional compounds called saponins – and not just one, but over 80 different kinds, which is rare to find! Gynostemma’s saponins, called gypenosides, act like ‘soap’ in the body, cleansing the digestive system of waste and toxins. These saponins are visible upon brewing the tea, as a white bubbly foam forms on top of the leaves and not to worry, it doesn’t actually taste like soap. Many people in my gynostemma drinking circle have noticed an improvement in bowel function due to the soapy saponins cleansing the intestinal tract. As an added bonus, gypenoside saponins have a remarkable influence to balance our body’s own hormones.
And Gynostemma’s benefits go on…
– contains exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, boosting glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels in the body
– accelerates the body’s metabolism while it adjusts blood fat and blood sugar levels
– contains a nice amount of selenium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorus
– owns anti-inflammatory properties
– fights respiratory issues, and supports the lungs
– enhances circulation and the cardiovascular system
– supports the hard working liver
– reduces oxygen deficiency at high altitudes
– help protect cellular immunity
– increases physical endurance and athletic performance
– is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
While the plant grows abundantly and is harvested from the wild, it has also been brought under cultivation by herb farmers. When it is harvested, the leaves are dried in the sun or by using professional slow ovens and very low temperatures. Thank you to these herb farmers who plant and harvest this wonderful plant, making it available to many of us across the world.
To get the most out of the Gynostemma leaves, fill a glass pot with a litre of water and bring to a boil, then take the pot off the heat for 2 minutes. Add approx. 3 Tablespoons to the water, cover and steep the leaves for about 10 minutes. A stove pot works well compared to a regular tea pot because the leaves need space to expand in order for their nutrients to seep into the water. With a ladle, scoop out the tea and poor in your tea cup through a small mesh strainer. The leaves in the strainer can be put back into the pot. The tea can stay in the pot for up two hours, increasing the concentration of beneficial saponins. Try not to let the water boil, as the leaves will quickly turn bitter.
*Take caution drinking gynostemma tea if you are on medications to do with the immune system and circulatory system and it is not recommended to take when pregnant, breastfeeding or for small children.