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

Gynostemma pentaphyllum – Jiaogulan (seed)

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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).

Gynostemma pentaphyllum is 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

Gynostemma pentaphyllum seeds can be planted just under the surface of a good quality seed raising mix in spring and summer. Keep moist until germination in 7-21 days. Part shade.

Part shade, moist well-drained soil. Needs something to climb on, such as a trellis, tree or fence. It does also trail along the ground until it finds something to climb on. Responds well to regular fertiliser over the growing season.

10 seeds per packet


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