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Jiaogulan tea is an herbal tea that has been consumed in China since before the 13th century, and has made its way to the rest of the world. Made from a ground cover plant that is a close relative of the cucumber, it can be prepared as a hot or cold tea and has a slightly bittersweet taste. It is believed to have a number of beneficial effects on the body, and the leaves have even been called the Herb of Immortality. Like most other herbal teas, jiaogulan tea is completely caffeine free.
Legend says that jiaogulan tea was first discovered by an early Chinese emperor. Fond of boiling any water that he was to drink in order to purify it, he was said to be traveling in an area of China where the jiaogulan tea plants grew wild. Some of the leaves found their way into the water, and the emperor's love of the resulting tea cemented its place in China's holistic, herbal history. Centuries later, the tea is still consumed in large quantities by the residents of Guizhou Province, and these residents are known for their long and healthy lives.
Research has shown that chemicals in jiaogulan tea have the capability of slowing the development of cancerous cells as well as helping to maintain the healthy functioning of the body's immune system. The tea increases the body's ability to produce disease-fighting white blood cells. It can also help those who suffer from chronic bronchitis.
While scientists have determined that jiaogulan tea does not prevent heart disease, it is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have other positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Components in the tea help break down buildup in the body's blood vessels, and can help lower levels of bad cholesterol while raising the good. The same antioxidants can be beneficial to the liver, helping to restore function and protecting it from permanent scarring.
As it is naturally caffeine free, the tea has also been found to help sufferers of insomnia. Those who regularly drink it testify to a general feeling of well-being and a strengthening of different systems of the body. Jiaogulan tea also can help lower blood pressure in some individuals.
Drinking jiaogulan tea can result in some vague feelings of nausea. Since it has such a powerful impact on the clotting ability of the blood, it is possible that the tea can interfere with a number of medications that affect platelets and those that regulate the immune system. It can also conflict with herbal medicines.