Jiaogulan Extract for HorsesJiaogulan (pronounced Je-ow-gu-laan), also known as Gynostemma pentaphyllum or J-herb is a climbing vine used in horses to support circulation, respiratory health, and muscle function.

Jiaogulan powder has medicinal properties that are similar to Panax Ginseng. This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to promote vitality. Research shows it may have a similar beneficial effect in horses.

The leaves of the jiaogulan plant contain active ingredients that increase nitric oxide levels in the blood which stimulates blood flow. This helps enhance energy levels, deliver nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells to tissues, and clear away waste products.

In horses, improved blood flow helps tissues like the hooves, tendons, lungs, and muscles recover from illness or damage. By enhancing circulation, jiaogulan can support healthy hooves in horses that are prone to laminitis.

Jiaogulan may also promote respiratory function through increased blood flow and bronchodilation (opening of the airways). Horses with heaves and inflammatory airway disease have been shown to benefit from supplementation with this herb.

Combining jiaogulan with spirulina has been shown to improve respiratory function and exercise performance in equine athletes.

Increasing nitric oxide levels may also support healthy joints and connective tissues, recovery from tendon and ligament injuries, and help to alleviate a stiff gait.

At the doses recommended for horses, jiaogulan is safe with no known toxicity issues or side effects. Horses receiving jiaogulan often have pinker gums and tongue, indicating that an adequate amount has been fed to increase blood flow.

Mad Barn’s bulk Jiaogulan powder contains pure Gynostemma pentaphyllum leaves with no added ingredients. The typical serving size is 2 grams given twice daily. This product should be introduced slowly to minimize avoidance.


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  • Supports circulation
  • Promotes hoof health
  • Supports muscle performance
  • Used in laminitic horses

Benefits of Jiaogulan in Horses

Jiaogulan works primarily by increasing the production of nitric oxide from vascular endothelial cells that line the walls of the horse’s blood vessels. Higher levels of nitric oxide circulating in the blood results in dilation of blood vessels and increased blood flow.

Most of the health benefits attributed to jiaogulan come from its ability to increase blood flow. Several debilitating conditions in horses like laminitis are partly caused by poor blood flow. [1]

Below are the top 10 benefits of Jiaogulan in horses:

1) Supports hoof health

The jiaogulan herb has been shown to improve hoof health in horses with chronic lameness. Decreased blood flow to the hooves has been proposed as one of the factors that contributes to hoof problems in horses.
Gypenosides are active ingredients in jiaogulan that stimulate blood flow by activating the enzyme nitric oxide synthase to produce nitric oxide. This supports overall hoof health by increasing delivery of nutrients to hooves.

2) Reduces lameness

Jiaogulan is recommended as a natural remedy for laminitic horses. Increasing blood flow to the hoof in horses with laminitis can reduce lameness and reduce the “bounding pulses” at the sides of the pastern. [1][2]
In one study, horses were given 1-2 grams of jiaogulan per 500 kg of bodyweight twice per day. They showed better mental alertness and increased spontaneous movement.
The majority of horses returned to pasture soundness within just 2 days to 2 weeks of starting on the supplement and improvement in lameness scores. [3]

3) Supports horses with navicular syndrome

Horses prone to navicular syndrome characterized by structural issues of the navicular bone and surrounding soft tissues might benefit from jiaogulan supplementation.
It could help slow the progression of lameness and ease pain in horses with poor conformation such as long toes and underrun heels.

4) Supports insulin sensitivity

Horses with insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, or Cushing’s disease (PPID) are often given jiaogulan to help support hoof health and encourage good hoof growth.
Dr. Kellon reports that in horses known to have high levels of insulin in the blood suggesting insulin resistance, jiaogulan improved lameness scores and movement during walking.
In other animals, this plant has been shown to have antidiabetic effects by improving insulin sensitivity and supporting a healthy weight. [3][4][5]

5) Maintains healthy connective tissue

Jiaogulan can support healthy connective tissue like tendons and ligaments. DSLD/ESPA is a progressive, degenerative form of lameness due to weakening of ligaments throughout the body.
This might occur in horses with Cushing’s disease but more frequently it is due to genetic abnormalities. This condition was initially thought to be more common in Peruvian Pasos and Paso crosses but has since been found in most breeds.
Dr. Kellon suggests that increasing nitric oxide levels can support healing and slow down the progression of DSLD/ESPA. Jiaogulan can be given alone or in combination with L-arginine or arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG) and L-citrulline which also increase nitric oxide production. [6]

6) Improves respiratory function

Jiaogulan can be combined with spirulina to support respiratory function in horses and aid in bronchodilation.
The combination of 2 grams jiaogulan and 20 grams of spirulina, given twice per day can help minimize coughing, headshaking, snorting, and sneezing that are often associated with poor respiratory health.
Horses with seasonal allergies or inflammatory airway disease show improved symptoms within a few weeks to months of jiaogulan and spirulina supplementation. [3]

7) Improves exercise performance

By supporting respiratory function, jiaogulan can improve exercise performance in competitive horses. A horse with chronic cough during exercise had normalized respiratory recovery after just the first dose of 2 grams jiaogulan given twice per day.
The improved respiratory function during exercise resulted in faster training times and rapid respiratory recovery after training. Similar benefits are also seen when combined with 20 grams spirulina given twice per day. [3]

8) Supports stress resistance

Jiaogulan is considered an adaptogen meaning it can alter the stress response to disease, infection, or exercise. The saponins within jiaogulan can potentially dampen the response to high levels of the hormone ACTH and lower cortisol release from adrenal glands.
More research is needed to understand this effect in horses. It is possible that by lowering cortisol levels during stressful situations, jiao