As the knowledge about the medicinal properties of Gynostemma spreads, it would surely not take long before people would compare it with other traditional medicinal herbs. Sure enough, nowadays, it is already compared with caffeine, ginseng, and more recently with berberine.
Berberine, as a quaternary ammonium salt, is found in plants that are endemic to various continents, and these plants include those of the tree turmeric, Oregon grape, goldenseal, yellowroot, Amur cork tree, prickly poppy, Californian poppy, and Chinese goldthread. Moreover, berberine is mostly found in the stems, roots, bark, and rhizomes of these plants.
On the other hand, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is mostly found in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Southern Korea, and there are more than thirty species of Gynostemma. The Gynostemma pentaphyllum, however, has the widest distribution in countries outside of China.
Berberine and its Healthful Benefits
The first mention of the medicinal property of berberine was in “The Divine Farmer’s Herb-Root Classic” which was an ancient Chinese Book on medicine. However, there were recent studies on berberine that showed that berberine could be a viable treatment for various diseases such as diabetes, arrhythmia, cancer, and hyperlipidemia.
Berberine is considered an antibiotic and has been used against Staphylococcus aureus infection. Berberine is also known to engender stronger heartbeats and can treat burns and trachoma. It is also found to have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, it can reduce the production of glucose in the liver, and its effects, based on some recent studies, have been found to be comparable to that of metformin—an anti-diabetic drug.
Health Benefits of Gynostemma Pentaphyllum
Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is known in China as “Xiancao” or “Immortality Herb” and this name is ascribed to Gynostemma for some cogent reasons. Here are some of the known healthful benefits of Gynostemma:
- It is a potent antioxidant.
- It has adaptogenic effects on bodily homeostasis.
- It helps treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- It normalizes blood pressure.
- It lessens the risks of heart diseases.
- It lessens bad cholesterol.
- It normalizes blood glucose.
- It treats various maladies such as cancer, insomnia, backache, gallstones, obesity, constipation, and ulcers.
- It treats stomach pain, chronic bronchitis, and inflammation.
Berberine vis-à-vis Gynostemma
Berberine and Gynostemma bring in so much hope to those who are beset with diabetes mellitus because both plants can produce changes in the glucose levels in the blood serum. Berberine, as shown in many studies, has been proven to have an impact on the amount of AMPK, an enzyme that signals the hypothalamus to direct the liver to produce more sugar. Moreover, berberine has been shown to have the same or almost equal effect as that of metformin. On the other hand, Gynostemma is known to lower the sugar levels in the blood serum. Hence, like berberine, Gynostemma has the chemical ingredients for preventing and treating Type II diabetes.
Gynostemma, however, is known to have more health benefits than berberine. It is an adaptogen, and more often, it functions, not only as a treatment but primarily as a preventive measure against the onset of various diseases. Vis-à-vis with Gynostemma, berberine would surely pale in comparison to Gynostemma if the parameter that would be used would be the number of physiological maladies each of the two could prevent and treat.