People have always dreamed of immortality, looking for various ways, developing unusual methods of life extension. In China, it was believed that instead of tea to drink an infusion of gynostemma (grass of immortality), you can live for more than 100 years. Despite the fact that the Chinese knew about its influence on health, well-being and beauty as early as 200 BC, until 1400 they used it as food as a regular food product. And only Li Shi-zhen, the famous Chinese doctor, in 1578 started talking about it as a medicine that can cure a variety of diseases.

Botanical description


Gynostemma (gynostemma) is a climbing plant from the gourd family. Yes, she is a relative of such familiar crops as pumpkin, cucumber, melon. Under natural conditions, it can be found in almost any country in Southeast Asia: from Japan and China to Malaysia and New Guinea. This is a fairly large family, consisting of more than 20 varieties. Only in Japan there are 15 of them. In Europe, only one variety is cultivated - the five-leaf gynostemma.

The stem of the creeper may have a slight pubescence or be smooth (naked). On the petioles, palmately folded 3-9 lanceolate leaves with a serrated edge are attached to it. The surface of the leaf plates is smooth, glossy. Subject to the cultivation conditions, the vine can grow in length (height) up to 8 m.

This is a dioecious culture, that is, there are female flowers on one plant, and male flowers on the other, they are larger in size, and their stamens are longer. The flowering period of gynostema is quite long, like all Cucurbitaceae. The first flowers open in the middle of summer, and the last - with the onset of autumn. The flowers themselves have no decorative value. Small in size with a short tubular white or pale green corolla, they are collected in racemose (paniculate) inflorescences.

After pollination, a fruit is formed in place of the flower - a black spherical berry with a diameter of not more than 6 mm. Inside it is only 2-3 seeds.

Gynostemma cultivation

Once in Europe, they were originally grown exclusively as an indoor flower, or only later in the southern regions, gardeners began to use it to decorate gardens and parks. And after the Beijing Conference in 1991, which discussed medicinal plants widely used in various fields of alternative medicine, it began to be cultivated for the purpose of preparing home remedies. You can also cultivate it in Russia.

As a planting material, you can use seeds, acquiring them from well-established producers, or cuttings if Gynostemma five-leaf is already growing in your garden or from your neighbors. Cuttings are not only a simpler method, but also more effective, so they resort to it more often. This is a fairly standard procedure that does not require a significant investment of labor.

Soil preparation

The culture prefers light, well-drained, fertile soils. But it is not very picky about the level of illumination: it can grow both in sunny areas and in partial shade. The area allocated for planting gynostemma has been prepared since autumn. Fertilizer, compost, humus are scattered on the soil surface. If necessary, if the soil is heavy, peat or sand. Then they dig with a shovel onto a bayonet.


For planting seeds, the harvested material is first soaked for a day, immersed in warm water. Then they are slightly dried and sown in pots, germination containers filled with a nutrient substrate. You can buy it ready-made in the store or cook it yourself by combining humus (compost) and sand. After carefully spreading the seeds over the surface, they are sprinkled with the same soil mixture with a layer of 2 cm and moistened so that the moisture reaches the seeds. Then the container is covered with a film, glass and put in a warm place.

In the conditions of the created microclimate, the first shoots should appear in 1-1.5 months. the coating is removed and the containers are placed in a well-lit place without access to direct sunlight - on the windowsill, in the greenhouse. Seedling care consists of timely watering, loosening the surface and removing weeds that may appear. After some time, the stalk will begin to branch and it will need support.

Seedlings can be planted on open ground after the earth warms up well (15-16ºС). In the middle zone of our country, this is approximately the middle of May. Given the fact that gynostemma is very susceptible to damage to the root system, the planting process is carried out by transshipment, which means that the planting hole should be slightly larger in volume than the container in which the seedlings were grown.

After transplanting, the soil is poured into the hole and gently compacted, and then watered abundantly and sprinkled with a layer of mulch, the role of which can be played by peat, humus, compost, sawdust. Gynostemma is a climbing plant, so the site for its cultivation is chosen near the fence, the wall of the outbuilding. Otherwise, you will need to install a special support: a wooden pole, a trellis, a thick metal rod.


Pumpkins love water, so you need to water the vine abundantly and regularly, at least 1-2 times a week, depending on weather and climatic conditions. The soil around the stem should be slightly damp at all times. 1-2 after watering, the surface of the hole is loosened and weeds are removed. In the southern regions, as well as during prolonged drought, the leaves of the plant are sprayed with warm water from a spray bottle, sprayer.


Gynostemma is a perennial plant, unlike squash and many other cucurbits. Therefore, the soil where it is grown must be fertilized. In the first year after planting, this is not necessary, because before digging, she already had fertilizer added. The resulting nutrients will be enough for her until the next growing season. But next year, complex mineral fertilizer will be required. Top dressing can be carried out by the root and foliar method, spraying the green parts of the plant with a nutrient composition. However, if you plan to use the leaves for food (for cooking, as tea brewing), then you should limit yourself to the root method only, avoiding getting the drug on the leaves.


Gynostemma tolerates winter temperatures down to -18ºС quite easily, provided that it is under artificial or natural shelter (snow cover). In areas with snowless winters, the plant is covered with non-woven protective materials, spruce branches, and fallen leaves. If a harsh winter is expected, then the bushes are dug up, transplanted into flower pots and continued growing in a greenhouse or room. Since the gynostemma has a dormant period, you need to keep it in a lighted place, away from heating appliances.

Collection and storage

Leaves and fresh stems can be used in salads, soups, main dishes. If necessary, they can be stored for 1-1.5 weeks in the vegetable section of the refrigerator, tightly packed in a plastic bag.

For harvesting for the winter and for brewing tea, the collected green mass is laid out in a thin layer under a canopy away from direct sunlight. When the leaves begin to break, they are crushed, poured into paper bags, cardboard boxes, dark glass jars with a tightly ground lid and sent for storage in a dry place without access to light.

Berries can also be used as food. After ripening, they become sweet, tasty.

Beneficial features

The inhabitants of the Celestial Empire call gynostemma jungalan, in Chinese it means the herb of immortality. It is not used in official medicine, while Chinese healers and herbalists actively use it in the treatment of various diseases. According to the data presented to the world community by scientists from Beijing, it includes:

  • trace elements - potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc and others;
  • a wide range of vitamins;
  • more than 80 saponins, while in the famous ginseng out of only 28;
  • peptides and glycosides;
  • essential oils;
  • resins;
  • mineral salts;
  • acids and so on.

Regular consumption of gynostemma in food, for example, in the form of tea, allows you to have a beneficial effect on various systems of the human body:

  • immune;
  • nervous;
  • digestive;
  • reproductive;
  • cardiovascular.

Jungalan stems and leaves are sweet in taste, so they can act as a natural sweetener for diabetes. But most often they use tea with gynostemma, which:

  • increases endurance, increases efficiency, therefore it is recommended to drink it to people experiencing increased physical exertion, for example, athletes;
  • lowers cholesterol levels, improves memory;
  • has an antioxidant effect, due to which it prevents aging, prolongs youth;
  • increases firmness, elasticity of the skin, helps to preserve the beauty of the face and body;
  • accelerates the regeneration of liver cells, the production of leukocytes;
  • improving metabolic processes, prevents the formation of excess weight.

Unlike ginseng, gynostemma does not cause arousal, but rather, with regular use, it can have a sedative effect.


Jungalana has no contraindications, so almost all people can eat it. But, nevertheless, when starting to use a new plant for you for the first time, be careful, because it is possible that you have an individual intolerance. In addition, cases have been noted when gynostemma led to an increase in blood pressure. It is believed that tea with the addition of liana leaves helps to cope with insomnia, but if you have sleep disorders, you should not drink it between 4 pm and 6 am the next morning.

The plant and its effects on the body have not been studied by official medicine, have not been studied by serious scientists, therefore, pregnant and lactating women should not use it, and you should not give it to small children (under the age of three).

Things to know (Q&A)

What does Gynostemma do for the body?

Gynostemma is believed to promote antioxidant defences and research has associated this antioxidant activity to supporting a healthy liver and contributing towards normal blood sugar levels. It is also believed to promote healthy gut flora.

How do you use Immortality herb?

You can spread Immortality around by simply taking cuttings from a mature vine. Let the cuttings root in a glass of water, then pot them up or transplant directly outdoors . Immortality can also be yours by planting seed

What is immortal root?

Immortal roots are a wondrous thing. They might be a form of immortal essence, such as the Lifegiving Fruit that Jiang Junlin took away, the Redflame Flower or Windswept Fruit . It can also be a precious treasure, such as the Coldheart Soul or the Gold and Jade Sword Core.

Is Gynostemma a stimulant?

Still, some people use gynostemma for its potential ability to fight fatigue and help improve concentration and stamina. It's caffeine-free, however, and generally not considered to be a stimulant — although it might have the ability to increase energy due to supply of antioxidants and other health-promoting compound

Is gynostemma good for the liver?

Modern pharmacological study and clinical trials have demonstrated the remarkable antioxidant activity of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (GP) in chronic liver disease .

Is gynostemma a stimulant?

Still, some people use gynostemma for its potential ability to fight fatigue and help improve concentration and stamina. It's caffeine-free, however, and generally not considered to be a stimulant — although it might have the ability to increase energy due to supply of antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds.

How often should you drink gynostemma tea?

We recommend drinking 4 to 8 cups (8oz/250ml) per day . Start out slow with 1 to 2 cups daily and build up over about 1 to 2 weeks.

How do you take Jiaogulan?

Jiaogulan tea (aqueous extract) 6 g/day, in divided doses twice a day 30 minutes before meals , has been studied in 2 clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes; 225 mg twice daily was used for 12 weeks in an antiobesity tria

How do you make tea from immortality herb?

Boil pure water (spring water is our favorite) and infuse fresh Jiaogulan leaf. Use 1 teaspoon/1gm of Jiaogulan for an 8oz/250ml cup. Infuse the leaf for about 3 to 10 minutes. Enjoy your tea while nibbling on the settling sweet leaves; there's no need for a tea bag.

What does Jiaogulan do for the body?

Jiaogulan is used for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and improving heart function . It is also used for strengthening the immune system, increasing stamina and endurance, increasing resistance to environmental stress (as an “adaptogen”), improving memory, and preventing hair los

How long can you take Jiaogulan?

When taken by mouth: Jiaogulan is possibly safe when the tea is used for up to 3 months, and when the extract is used for up to 4 months . The most common side effects are diarrhea and nausea. There isn't enough reliable information to know if jiaogulan is safe when used long-term.

Does Gynostemma have caffeine?

Gynostemma (JiaoguLan) Tea is made from pure extract of Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, which has been called "Miracle Grass" for its ability to help the body in so many ways. It is the only green tea without caffeine .

What are the side effects of Gynostemma?

When taken by mouth: Jiaogulan is possibly safe when the tea is used for up to 3 months, and when the extract is used for up to 4 months. The most common side effects are diarrhea and nausea . There isn't enough reliable information to know if jiaogulan is safe when used long-term.

Is Gynostemma a diuretic?

Some research on plants as a substitute for sugar had been conducted and it is also used as a tonic herb for diuretic , antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory effects (Razmovski-Naumovski et al., 2005). Most of the species in the genus Gynostemma are called “Jiaogulan” in Chines