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Gynostemma pentaphyllum - (Thunb.)Makino.
Common Name Sweet Tea Vine
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun


Gynostemma pentaphyllum Sweet Tea Vine

Gynostemma pentaphyllum Sweet Tea Vine
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Gynostemma pentaphyllum is a ANNUAL/PERENNIAL growing to 8 m (26ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 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.
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.


 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

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].
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.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
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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Subject : Gynostemma pentaphyllum  

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