INCI: Gynostemma Pentaphyllum
Sources: China, Korea and Japan
Our rating: GOOD
What is Gynostemma Extract?
Gynostemma (also known as jiaogulan) is a herbaceous vine of the cucurbitaceae (cucumber or gourd) family. It earned the reputation as “The Immortality Herb” after it was discovered that the villagers of the Guizhou, Guangxi and Sichuan provinces in China who lived to a hundred shared a common habit of drinking gynostemma tea.
Benefits of Gynostemma Extract:
Free radicals are atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons which make them unstable and highly reactive. Through oxidation, free radicals bond with other cellular structures and in the process damage the cells’ DNA, proteins, lipids and membranes.
Antioxidants are substances that combat oxidation by donating their electrons to neutralize free radicals. There are two main types of antioxidants: endogenous (produced by the body) and exogenous (from outside sources like food). Endogenous antioxidants are the more powerful free radical fighters although their levels decline with age.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the five endogenous antioxidants produced by the body. Gynostemma contains high levels of SOD that work to strengthen blood vessels and stabilize elastin and collagen – the two proteins that maintain the skin’s structural integrity. They also help to decrease collagen degradation, improve skin elasticity and help to increase the level of other endogenous antioxidants.
Gynostemma also has a high content of gypenosides that give the herb its adaptogenic property. This allows it to regulate nitric oxide production in the body, control weight, maintain blood sugar level and help reduce the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
Side Effects & Toxicity:
An extremely safe ingredient, gynostemma has no known toxicity in general use and is shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.
Gynostemma is sometimes referred to as “Southern Ginseng” because it grows in south-central China and is used in similar ways as ginseng. It has over 80 types of gypenosides – four times the amount found in ginseng.