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25 January 2015

Post-Exercise, Health & Gynostemma

Gynostemma pentaphyllum or jiagulan as it is also known, is a native tea from China, Korea, Vietnam or Japan. It is a tea which comes from a vine originating in the cucumber family. Traditionally it is often used as herbal medicine or consumed as hot tea. Gynostemma is famously known for it’s amazing health benefits (including anti-ageing), and consequently is sometimes referred to as ‘magic grass’. In remote villages, for example near the Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou province, often gynostemma acts as substitute for traditional Chinese green tea. This is because villagers believe a cup of gynostemma energises the drinker for the upcoming day. They then drink another cup at the end of the day to help them unwind after a hard days work. The amazing thing about this is that in rural villages like this, it is not unusual for inhabitants to live past 100 years! Gynostemma then, definitely has it’s benefits.

Important facts about Gynostemma:

Health benefits

– gynostemma is an antioxidant/anti-inflammatory (boosts immune system)

– it helps lower cholesterol

– it contains amino acids, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc among other minerals.

– it is an adaptogen (helps increase bodily resistance by restoring and maintaining balance)

– it reduces triglycerides (helps body make carbohydrate for muscle as energy, rather than converting to fat)

– it can increase cardiac efficiency

– it can help to lower blood pressure

– it speeds up metabolic rate which can help encourage weight loss

Post exercise (guys and girls!):

As mentioned above, gynostemma has many benefits linked with cardiovascular health, however it can also be a great post exercise treat.

Bodybuilding – some research has suggested that gynostemma contains nitric oxide (a commonly known compound which causes vasodilation and gives bodybuilders ‘the pump’). The reason why this is good for exercise is that it allows for an increase in cardiac output without simultaneously increasing heart rate. This would mean that better results (endurance, performance etc) due to faster oxygen delivery from higher blood flow.

Basically, it means gynostemma can help endurance by elevating blood pressure briefly and then maintain it at normal range. It is also great after a work out due to its anti-inflammatory qualities – it soothes those aching muscles.

How to make the most of gynostemma

– Use a teaspoon of gynostemma per cup

– Pour boiling water into your teapot

– Brew for 3-7 minutes (depending on how strong you’d like it)

– Add a drop of honey for a bit more flavour

– Whatever you do, don’t add milk!

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