Monday, February 15, 2010

Part 3: Possible harmful effects of Jiaogulan

Great comments from readers of Parts 1 and 2 -- new info on jiaogulan and the pharmaceutical industry. Wish I had access to veterinary databases and journals, but I was only able to search Medline and Google for info on Jiaogulan (and LaminaSaver, which contains the substance). Here are some reports of possible harmful effects...

  • A report from Kentucky Equine Research cautions that depending on the underlying cause of the laminitis, Jiaogulan can make laminitis worse instead of better.
  • In Jiaogulan: When to try it, what to expect, Dr. E. Kellon emphasizes that Jiaogulan is not a miracle cure. It needs be part of a comprehensive treatment plan of diet, mineral balance, and hoof care. She also notes that the substance can cause a temporary worsening of symptoms, especially for horses with serum accumulation in the hoof.
  • A study in Sweden found that this herb increased blood insulin levels in humans This may be an undesirable side effect in some laminitic horses.
  • Jiaogulan should not be used in conjunction with a host of other supplements, homeopathic treatment, Acepromazine, Bute, Banamine, and other drugs. Kellon lists substances to avoid.
  • Dosage for the Jiaogulan is highly individual, varying with the horse, and in Jiaogulan: When to try it, what to expect, Kellon reports that the proper treatment dosage is highly individual to the horse. Yet LS just gives dosage by the weight of the horse.
So what's the verdict?
Well, for one thing, Lamina Saver has some 'splaining to do. The manufacturers don't seem to have formal training (see Part II); the cost of the product is not explained by the ingredients (again, see see Part II); and the product fails to warn consumers about possible harmful effects. Figuerola Labs may be run by well-meaning people but their lack of credentials is a concern. I hope Jiaogulan turns out to be helpful to some laminitic horses but indiscriminate use can be harmful. Bye bye, Bob's bucks (100 of them) -- and Riley's back on MSM.


Positive articles on Jiaogulan

Horse Journal articles
Articles by Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM
Other positive Jiaogulan articles

Articles skeptical about Jiaogulan
  • Kentucky Equine Review, a report from Kentucky Equine Research, an international equine nutrition, research and consultation company. Warns that indiscriminate use of jiaogulan has the potential to make a laminitic horse worse instead of better. Before administsering, consult with a veterinarian
  • Insulin Resistance Updates from Equine Medical and Surgical Associates. Notes from a conference reported in Updates... "A client asked about Jiaogulan (Gynostemma Pentaphyllum). Do not use it. A study out of the Department of Medical Biochemistry in Stockholm Sweden found it increased blood Insulin levels. (J. Biol. Chem 279-40. 41361-41367. October 2004).
  • Robert Oglesby,, thread about Jiaogulan and Horse Journal
  • Robert Oglesby,, thread about LaminaSaver and Horse Journal
  • Viagra: Will the little blue pill be the next big thing for laminitis therapy? from Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog


  1. Wowser. Situations like that are the things that make the government want to restrict the use of herbals, vitamins and natural remedies. Some stuff is OK, but then you have claims like this.

    Teaches us all a lesson how it's essential to know what's in the products both we and our horses ingest.

    Thanks for the research.

  2. Now what are you going to do with your jar? Did you use it up? Throw it away? Return it?

  3. Sorry it turned out to be a waste of money, but at least you care enough to do the research. Kudos to you!

  4. I ran into this with Glucosamine (sp?) way back when. Somehow you always hear the raves before the rants. The fact that there really isn't anybody out there watchdogging leaves manufacturers free to pretty much tout whatever they please (scary thought, that).

  5. Thanks for all the excellent research. Great Stuff. Also, have you ever heard about or tried Moringa Oleifera for improving insulin resistance. It's generally available as an herb, although the price is prohibitive. When I use it, I have to cook it in order to mellow it out a little, because it's so nutritionally dense.


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