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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Gynostemma pentaphyllum – Jiaogulan (plant)

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The Gynostemma genus consists of two species of climbing annual or short-lived perennials, occuring in south and east Asia. Small yellow-green, star-shaped flowers occur in summer. Male and female flowers borne on separate plants. Also called Sweet Tea Vine or Xiancao.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum was rated among the ten most important tonic herbs at the 1991 International Conference on Traditional Medicine. It improves the circulation, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, stimulates liver function, reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels, has sedative effects and lowers blood pressure. Regarded as an adaptogenic herb.

Active ingredients found in the herb in high concentrations are saponins called gypenosides, which are similar in action and structure to the ginsenosides found in Ginseng (Cech, R. 2000).

Generally taken as a tea but can be used in capsules, tablets and tinctures. The leaves can also be eaten fresh, having a slightly bitter, cucumber flavour.

Care and Cultivation of Gynostemma pentaphyllum

When you first receive the plant, make sure that some of the stems are placed below the surface of the potting mix. We find that by treating Gynostemma pentaphyllum plants more as ground covers they grow the best! Part shade, moist well-drained soil. Needs something to climb on, such as a trellis, tree or fence. It also roots easily at the nodes as it trails along the ground. Responds well to regular fertiliser over the growing season. Ours grows the best underneath the nursery benches under 50-75% shade!

Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers are on separate plants). We sell both male and female plants, if in stock, please choose your option, either is fine for making tea. Some people just prefer to get seeds, in which case you need both sexes.

1 plant


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