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Gynostemma pentaphyllum - (Thunb.)Makino.                
                 
Common Name Sweet Tea Vine
Family Cucurbitaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Thickets in open forests in lowland all over Japan[58, 275]. Forest, thickets or road sides on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 - 3200 metres in China[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Gynostemma pentaphyllum is a ANNUAL/PERENNIAL growing to 8 m (26ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Gynostemma pentaphyllum Sweet Tea Vine


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Doronenko
Gynostemma pentaphyllum Sweet Tea Vine
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves and young stems - cooked[105, 177, 183]. The leaves have a sweet taste and are used as a tea[105, 177, 183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative;  Anticholesterolemic;  Antispasmodic;  Hepatic;  Hypoglycaemic;  Sedative;  Tonic.

The whole plant is a tonic herb that improves the circulation, stimulates liver function, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, and reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels[238]. It also has sedative effects, relieving spasms and lowering the blood pressure[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of nervous tension and exhaustion, peptic ulcer, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer[238]. It was rated among the ten most important tonic herbs at a conference on traditional medicines in Beijing in 1991[238].
Other Uses
Cosmetic.

The plant is used in proprietary preparations for cosmetics and anti-ageing tonics[238].
Cultivation details                                         
Requires a rich well-drained but moisture-retentive soil in a warm sheltered position in partial shade[238]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. A problematic crop outdoors in Britain, it can be grown successfully as an annual in a greenhouse but requires a long hot summer if it is to do well outdoors. Plants tend to be annuals or short-lived perennials[238]. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils[238]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Some plants might be monoecious[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow it in spring in a rich compost in a greenhouse, placing 2 - 3 seeds per pot. Thin the seedlings to the strongest in each pot and grow the plants on fast. Plant them out after the last expected frosts and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Thunb.)Makino.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
58200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[58]Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation)
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.
[275] Flora of Japan
An on-line version of the flora - an excellent resource.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Rich Tue Oct 23 08:52:57 2001
Michael Blumert has written an intresting book Jiaogulan: China's "Immortality" Herb about the herb which goes into details of its history, its theraputic qualities, it chemical makeup and botanical information. You can read more at his website.
Elizabeth H.
erik Sat Mar 11 2006
you spelled the link to the jiaogulan website wrong; should be www.jiaogulan.net not www.jiagulan.net
Elizabeth H.
Maria Jensen Sat Jul 22 2006
What does the planr Gynostemma look like?
Elizabeth H.
Rose Fri May 4 2007
Where can you buy the seeds for sweet tea vine (gospel herb)(gynostemma pentaphyllum)
Elizabeth H.
Ed Wed Aug 1 2007
I feel a ki force in this plant stronger than ginseng. I intend to grow it commercially because I see a future market.
Elizabeth H.
phil Tue Aug 7 2007

herb edu neat

Elizabeth H.
Linda Wed Sep 12 2007
Wher can I buy Gynostemma seeds?
Elizabeth H.
Crystal Tue Jan 15 2008
You can purchase the seed from Horizon Herbs. The vine has lovely leaves and the flowers are very insignificant.

Elizabeth H.
richo cech Sun Mar 16 2008
I really enjoy the language used on this page in describing propagation of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (jiao-gu-lan). I might add that the plant is an herbaceous perennial surviving through the winter in a zone 7, especially when given part shade and fast-draining soil. Cultivation by root cutting/division is really very easy. I've had plants escape down into the river gravel on the floor of our greenhouse and run for meters, sending up shoots anyplace they choose. In this situation, one has to merely snip off the runner with the shoot attached and replant. There's a thorough writeup on harvest, processing and medicinal use of this plant in my book "Making Plant Medicine." There's availability of the seeds and plants (organically grown and certified) at my website horizonherbs.com. I'd like to extgend my appreciation to the principals of "Plants for a Future" for such a great horticulturally oriented compendium of plants. Richo Cech

Horizon Herbs, LLC

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