Sweet Science of Jiaogulan
I report on a lot of jiaogulan research but I have never had the opportunity before to report on research we participated in directly. Over three years ago a researcher from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Maryland contacted me for samples of Gynostemma for their research. I am a nerdy science guy and I believe the whole world needs to know more about jiaogulan, so I was happy to send them samples.
Months and then years went by. I emailed for an update and they said they would keep me informed. So I forgot about it. But last week I received an email from out of the blue from one of the researchers. He said, We analyzed samples of jiaogulan from several companies. But the chemical profile of your samples were different from all the others. Can I call you to ask some questions?
I know we have great quality jiaogulan. But I admit, all kinds of bad scenarios went through my mind. I was trying to think of what we could have missed in our own safety and quality testing. I called the researcher back and I almost laughed when he told me the results.
Their research confirms lots of good things we know about jiaogulan;
- Rich in phenols (which are anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds),
- Rich in saponins (which are also good for those three things and help fight cholesterol, and
- Rich in flavonoids (which are also anti-oxidant, reduce inflammation and promote healthy arteries.)
- Fights free radicals associated with aging and
- Helps prevent the spread of cancer
So why the email from the researcher? Well, they also tested for the presence of two flavonoids that are often removed from foods by food processors because they cause bitterness. All of the commercial jiaogulan samples they tested were high in these bitter tasting compounds except ours. They reported not detectable in their published results. They wanted to know if we had somehow chemically removed these flavonoids. I was happy to explain to him that we do nothing of the kind. Our jiaogulan is naturally sweet!
By the way, its important to note that flavonoids are good for you and our jiaogulan tested right in the middle of the test group in Total Flavonoid Content (TFC). We just don not have the ones that cause bitterness.
We always knew we had the best tasting jiaogulan available and now we have research showing why. Our jiaogulan also tested lowest in fiber content. Fiber is good for you in food, but in teas, a high fiber content indicates the presence of stems which is a sign of lack of care in the picking process and also tends to add bitterness. So, another win for us.
I will keep you posted if I hear any more from their research