Giao Co Lam was first discovered in Viet Nam in the primary forests of Phanxipang, also Known as Fansipan, Mountain in Lao Cai Province.
After discovering the tree, the scientist who found it had to wait for over a year for the tree to flower in order to properly identify its species.
After its initial discovery on the mountain, Giao Co Lam was also found to occur in other provinces in northern Viet Nam such as in Ha Giang and in Hoa Binh.
It is said that ethnic minorities in the Northern Mountains, who usually drink water boiled together with Giao Co Lam, enjoy longevity of over 100 years. How have these people achieved lived for that long can be understood by knowing the characteristics of Giao Co Lam.
There are several varieties of this plant, such as those with five leaves, seven leaves, and nine leaves. However, the seven-leaf variety is considered as the most special because this type has unique properties and is only found in Hoang Lien Sa Pa National Park.
The saponin content of the seven-leaf Giao Co Lam (2.52 per cent) is the highest among the other varieties. Saponin is associated with many benefits including stabilising blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, reducing blood sugar, and preventing diabetes complications.
Giao Co lam can be eaten directly as an ingredient in everyday dishes or boiled with fresh water. It can also be processed and packed in tea bags or in the form of tablets.
Hoang Lien National Park has been helping communities in the area in establishing their own home gardens of seven-leaf Giao Co Lam. These efforts help to provide additional livelihood to the communities and promote the protection of the park's biodiversity through the sustainable development of Giao Co Lam.