Gynostemma Benefits for Diabetes

If you’re interested in natural herbs and remedies to help manage your diabetes, you’re not alone. Many people look to natural options to help improve their health. Herbal remedies can have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs, be more affordable, and have other great benefits.

Herbs and other plant-based remedies have been used in practices like Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

One of the downsides of herbal remedies and supplements is that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate them. This means that supplements containing natural ingredients aren’t monitored for accurate dosages, health claims, and more.

Herbal remedies and dietary supplements also don’t receive as much research funding compared to pharmaceuticals. This makes it difficult to determine the efficacy of certain herbs for treating various health conditions.

One plant-based remedy that might be helpful for people with diabetes is gynostemma – and there is plenty of scientific research to support some of its potential health benefits.

What is gynostemma?

Gynostemma pentaphyllum is a type of climbing vine native to Southeast Asia. It’s part of the Cucurbitaceae family, including gourds like squash, bitter melon, and cucumber.

Gynostemma extract has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it became known as an immortality herb due to its perceived ability to prolong life. Chinese typically drink gynostemma tea to help improve energy and endurance. Gynostemma is also called “poor man’s ginseng” because of its similarities to ginseng, another plant with numerous health benefits.

People in areas where gynostemma was often consumed were observed to live longer and have less disease. This caught the attention of researchers who started to look into the potential gynostemma benefits for health and wellness.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum contains saponins, which are compounds found in certain plant foods. Saponins have been studied for their ability to help lower cholesterol, improve the immune system, protect against certain cancer, and improve blood sugar metabolism.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum has the added health benefit of acting as an antioxidant, meaning it helps protect cells from damaging oxidative stress. When cells are damaged, it can cause inflammation, cancer, and other diseases. 

Gynostemma pentaphyllum is considered an adaptogenic herb due to its rich saponin content. Adaptogens are substances used in herbal medicine thought to have health benefits. Adaptogens are becoming especially popular with claims that they can help you better handle stress.

Other popular adaptogens include ginseng, ashwagandha, and maca root, among many others. While ginseng is a more well-known and popular adaptogen, gynostemma has a much higher saponin content.

Gynostemma is available in the form of herbal tea, gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, or as a dietary supplement with gynostemma leaf powder.

Gynostemma benefits for diabetes

Improved blood sugar levels

There are studies on potential gynostemma benefits for diabetes. One study found that subjects with type diabetes drinking gynostemma tea had improved blood sugar levels compared to a control group. Measures of blood sugar such as fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance were all improved in the group taking gynostemma. 

Researchers also noted that gynostemma pentaphyllum didn’t cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), didn’t have any negative effects on kidney or liver health, and didn’t cause any adverse gastrointestinal side effects, making it “a novel, effective, and safe approach […] to treat type 2 diabetic patients.”

Another study found that gynostemma tea improved insulin sensitivity, which helps improve blood sugar levels. 

Improvement in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the term for liver disorders that occur in people who don’t drink a lot of alcohol. It occurs when too much fat is stored in the liver. Risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease include obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.

A study found that gynostemma pentaphyllum improved markers of liver health as well as improved insulin resistance. Body mass index also decreased in the test group receiving gynostemma, indicating that it may help promote weight loss.

Blood pressure-lowering

People with diabetes are more likely to have high blood pressure and suffer from other forms of heart disease. A study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that saponins in gynostemma pentaphyllum help produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate and relax blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure.

Fights blood clots

People with diabetes are more likely to have high cholesterol and other risk factors for developing blood clots. Blood clots can lead to heart attack and stroke, as well as other serious health problems. An older study concluded that gynostemma pentaphyllum might have the ability to help platelets from sticking together and forming clots. 

Improvements in mental health

People with diabetes are at greater risk of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.  A 2019 study found that gynostemma pentaphyllum extract helped improve anxiety scores in healthy people with chronic stress. While this study wasn’t specifically on people with diabetes, it’s still worth noting for its potential benefits.

Immune health

study on mice concluded that gynostemma pentaphyllum helps boost the immune system by reducing oxidative stress. This is especially important if you have diabetes because having chronic high blood sugar makes it harder for your body to fight off illness and infections.

Weight loss

If you have diabetes, losing weight can improve your blood sugar levels. 

Over a 12-week study period, participants taking gynostemma significantly reduced belly fat, total body weight, body fat, and body mass index. The researchers call actiponin (an extract of gynostemma pentaphyllum) a “potent antiobesity reagent.”


Diabetes is linked with a significantly higher risk of many cancers.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum acts as an antioxidant, which can help protect cells from becoming damaged and replicate in a defective way, which can lead to cancer. It also displays anti-cancer properties by helping to kill cancer cells and reducing the spread and metastases of cancer.


Gynostemma pentaphyllum is an herb with numerous potential health benefits. It’s been studied for its ability to help improve blood sugar, support immune health, reduce anxiety, promote heart health, and help fight cancer.

Gynostemma is available in the form of extracts, herbal teas, and capsules. It’s considered safe with few side effects, making it a good option for those who want to explore natural herbs and remedies to help improve their health. While it boasts several impressive health benefits based on numerous scientific studies, many of these benefits are especially pertinent to the management of diabetes.

Not everyone’s diabetes can be effectively managed with natural herbs. As is the case with any herbal supplement, you should always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a natural diabetes treatment and never stop taking a diabetes medication without talking with your healthcare provider.

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