The herbaceous plant Gynostemma is a member of the Pumpkin family. It is found in the wild in the tropics of Southeast Asia from New Guinea to Malaysia and from the Himalayas to Japan. There are about 15 species of this plant in Japan, and 9 of them are endemic. Gynostemma pentaphillum is commonly referred to by gardeners and has other names such as Thai tea, Grass of Immortality, Southern Ginseng, and Jiaogulan or Jiaogulan. At first in Europe this plant was only cultivated in homes, and only later in the southern regions it began to be planted in orchards.
After the Beijing Conference in 1991, when the medicinal plants in alternative medicine were discussed, the popularity of this plant increased many times over.
Peculiarities of Gynostemma penta
Gynostemma is a double-lobed climbing plant. This perennial liana can be either naked or pubescent. The suprotectively arranged, glossy leaf plates have petioles and are palmately compound, with 3 to 9 lanceolate leaflets serrated along the edge. Inflorescences are paniculate or cystic in shape and consist of florets of no ornamental value.
Flowers have short tubular corolla of pale green or white color, which is deeply dissected into 5 lobes of narrow-lanceolate shape. It is possible to distinguish between female and male plants only during flowering. Female inflorescences, and also the stamens in the flowers are shorter than in the male specimen. Such a liana blossoms in the middle of the summer period, and its flowering only stops in the first weeks of autumn. The fruit is a black globular berry, reaching 0.
6 cm in cross-section and containing 2 to 3 seeds. When the plant is growing in a favorable environment its stems can be up to 8 m long.
Growing gynostemma penta
Potting gynostemma penta
To grow the plant in a well-lit open area (it can also be slightly shaded). The soil should be well drained, light and rich in nutrients. If you already have a gynostemma in your garden, you can use a more efficient and simpler method for propagating it, namely cuttings.
Before sowing, the seeds are immersed in warm water for 24 hours, then they are sown in pots. Deepen the seeds into the substrate should be only 20 mm, the soil mixture should consist of sand and humus or compost. Containers should be covered with cling film and put in a relatively warm place (20 to 22 degrees). The first seedlings should appear after 3-6 weeks. After this happens, the cover should be removed, and the containers should be moved to a well-lit place (light should be diffused).
Taking care of seedlings is very simple, it should be watered in time, as well as systematically loosen the surface of the soil mixture. After the plants have started to branch, they will need support.
Transplanting seedlings into the open soil is done in May after the soil has warmed up to 15-16 degrees. Before this, however, the site should be prepared. It is recultivated by adding 5 to 6 kilograms of compost or humus.
If you dig heavy soil, it should be additionally introduced sand or peat. Landing seedlings produced by the method of transplanting. It should be taken into account that the size of the planting hole should only slightly exceed the volume of the root system of the plant, taken with a lump of earth. Once the bush is placed in the planting hole, it should be filled with soil. The surface around the plant is slightly tamped.
Planted lianas need a good watering. After the liquid is completely absorbed into the soil, it should be covered with a layer of mulch (compost or humus), the thickness of which should be 50 to 80 mm. Once the gynostemma is planted it is necessary to support it straight away, either by the wall of a building or a fence.
Pouring should be frequent, regular and abundant. Generally, it should be done once every 1-1.
5 weeks and the soil near the plants should be slightly moist (not damp) all the time. If there is a prolonged drought, the foliage of such vines should be moistened every evening or morning from a sprayer with lukewarm water. When the bushes will be watered or it will rain, the soil surface around them must be loosened, as well as all weeds.
In the first year of growth, it is not necessary to feed the gynostemma, as it will be enough of those nutrients that were made in the soil when preparing the site for planting. In subsequent years, it is recommended to feed such a liana with a solution of Kemira, and under 1 bush should be made from 30 to 40 grams of the drug.
This complex fertilizer contains all the nutrients that are needed for normal growth and development of such a culture. In the case where the leaves during the season are used to prepare various dishes (salads, soups, etc.), then the bushes should be fed only by the root method, spraying the leaves with a nutrient solution in this case, is strictly prohibited.
Ginostemma has a relatively low tolerance to frosts. Shrubs can withstand a decrease in temperature only to minus 18 degrees, but if they will be covered with a layer of snow, they will survive the winter well enough.
When growing this plant in regions with practically snowless winters the lianas will need a covering, for this purpose they are covered with lapnuts or a thick layer of fallen leaves. When growing this crop in regions with frosty winters, it is recommended to remove the bush in the autumn and plant it in a pot. The plant is kept in a well-lit room until the onset of the spring period, and the heating devices should be far enough away from it. The bush should be given the same care as any other dormant plant.
How to harvest and store gynostemma
Gynostemma leaves are harvested throughout the summer.
The collected leaves must be dried. The fresh stems as well as the leaves are suitable for making soups and salads, while dried leaves make a very useful tea.
The collected stems and leaves should be placed in a semi-dark well ventilated room or under a shed outside for drying. Once the raw material has become brittle, it can be considered completely dry. Crushed raw material for storage stored in a dry room, it is poured into bags or boxes made of paper, as well as in jars of glass or ceramic with a tight-fitting lid.
The ripe gynostemma berries are very sweet and edible.
Gynostemma species and varieties
There are about 20 different varieties of gynostemma, but only one, the five-leafed gynostemma, is cultivated by gardeners. At the average latitudes, such a plant is very rarely cultivated and therefore almost nothing is known about its varieties and species.
P properties of gynostemma
Beneficial properties of gynostemma
Hynostemma was not registered in the Pharmacopoeia, so it is not used in traditional medicine at the moment. But in informal medicine, this plant has a certain popularity, because its biological characteristics are similar to those of the well-known ginseng.
The usefulness of this plant can be judged by the stories of aborigines, who assure that the tea, prepared from the leaves of gynostemma, contributes to the fact that they remain fully healthy and active for up to 100 years. The fact that this crop has medicinal properties became known to people in the bicentennial B.C.
The taste of the young stems and leaves is slightly sweet. This plant contains many vitamins, as well as calcium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, potassium and other elements that the human body needs.
The above-ground part of the plant contains more than eight dozen saponins, while ginseng has only 28 of them. This plant is very important for people who use ginseng regularly, because it improves the stamina and efficiency of the body. It is therefore advisable to use ginseng-based remedies for those who suffer from great physical exertion.
This plant differs from ginseng in that it does not promote excitement, and if used regularly, it will have a sedative effect. Such a liana is an excellent substitute for sugar, which is recommended for people suffering from diabetes.
This herb helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, improves memory, strengthens the immune system, improves the gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems and slows down aging.
To prepare a healing tea, combine 1 tbsp. just boiling water and 1.5 tsp. of dried gynostemma leaves or 2-3 tsp.
of fresh leaves. The drink will be ready in 5 minutes. The same herb can be brewed 5 or 6 times in a row. It is recommended to drink 3 tbsp. of such a drink per day to increase working capacity.
Jaogulan. Gynostemma penta. Thai ginseng.
Gynostemma can be used by everyone because it has no contraindications. But people with an individual intolerance to this plant should not use it.
Such a plant in some cases contributes to an increase in blood pressure, so hypertensive people should be careful when using it. People with sleep disorders should not take gynostemma after 4 p.m. and before morning. Nothing is known about the effect of the plant on the health of pregnant and lactating women, therefore they should not take it..