The plant is used in folk medicine, typically as an herbal tea, but may be used as an alcohol extract or in dietary supplements. It has not seen widespread use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is adopted only in the past 20 years, because it grows far from central China where TCM evolved; consequently, it was not included in the standard pharmacopeia of the TCM system. Before then, it was a locally-known herb used primarily in mountainous regions of southern China and in northern Vietnam. It is described by the local inhabitants as the “immortality herb” because a large number of elderly people within Guizhou Province reported consuming the plant regularly. In the European Union, jiaogulan is considered a novel food following a 2012 court ruling that prohibited its sale as food.