Note: The active ingredients in gynostemma are known as saponins. This large group of chemicals is characterized by their general ability to make soap-like suds when they are mixed with water and the mixture is shaken. Saponins may have many effects in the body, including positive ones such as improving immune function. Saponins may also have negative effects such as blocking the digestion of some nutrients. Gynostemma may contain over 80 different types of saponins. Because the content of saponins and other chemicals in gynostemma varies greatly depending on the species of the plant and the conditions under which it grows, standardizing gynostemma products is difficult. Standardization by the manufacturer should assure the same amount of active ingredient in every batch of the commercial preparation. Standardization of herbal products is not required by the . Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so not every gynostemma product that is available contains the same amounts of active ingredients.