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Gynostemma (Gynostemma) - a perennial vine belonging to the Pumpkin family. There are more than 30 species, the most famous of which is the five-leafed gynostemma, used as a medicinal plant. This liana grows in Southeast Asia, from Japan to the Himalayas, also in New Guinea, Malaysia, China.
What does the gynostemma look like?
Gynostemma is a herbaceous perennial plant. Her stems are bare, sometimes pubescent, with a clinging tendril on them. Petiole leaves, opposite. Usually foliage is 3-9-split, lanceolate. Gynostemma is a dioecious plant, unisexual flowers, gather in panicles or brushes. The corolla of the flower looks like a short tube with five narrow-lanceolate, deeply dissected lobes, white or greenish in color.
The fruits are a spherical berry, the size of a pea, inside 2-3 seeds of a broad-ovoid with a spiky nipple.
Five-leafed gynostemma - the most famous species
The five-leafed gynostemma grows in China, Vietnam, the south of Korea and Japan, in India, Bangladesh, Laos, Indonesia and other Asian countries. In Russia, it is also known under the trade names "Jiaogulan", "Jiaogulan."
This vine is evergreen, grassy or semi-lignified. Distributed in forests, shrubs, lowlands, roadsides, also found on mountain slopes about 3,000 m above sea level
The shoots of the five-leafed gynostemma are climbing, angularly furrowed, usually bare, sometimes pubescent.
Shiny leaves growing on long stalks are located opposite to the shoots. In shape, they are similar to girl’s grapes: palmate, usually consist of 5, rarely 3, 7, 9 lanceolate leaves with serrated edges.
Gynostemma blooms once in July. Flowers are inexpressive, pale green or white, form axillary panicles. Pea-sized berries, black, with 2 seeds.
Five-leafed gynostemma cultivation
Gynostemma is a dioecious plant, so that seeds are tied, you need two lianas of both sexes.
To distinguish the gender of the gynostemma, according to the data, it is possible only during flowering: male panicles are longer than female panicles, also in male flowers the stamens are longer and the pistils are reduced.
Gynostemma is a young plant, therefore, having planted with the help of seeds, it is better to renew it with cuttings that take root well.
Soak the seeds before sowing in warm water for a day, then they are sown in compost in pots to a depth of 2 cm.
When the seedlings have grown, establish support for them.
Gynostemma prefers rich, drained, moist soils. Place for her, sheltered, sunny. It is useful to mulch the roots with compost. In a drought, spray the creeper in the morning with water to increase the humidity of the surrounding air. It should be watered regularly so that the soil moisture is uniform.
The gynostemma is not resistant to cold, in winter, keep it on a bright windowsill, without additional lighting.
Useful properties of giaogulan - "herbs of immortality"
The five-leafed gynostemma in Chinese medicine has long been used as a magnificent medicinal plant called Jiaogulan, which literally means "Orchid with a twisted vine." It is sometimes called "Southern Ginseng", as its effect on the body is similar to this plant. Another first emperor of the Qin dynasty, who lived in the years 259-201. BC, drank tea from the gynostemma, and this was considered a privilege only of the highest person.
In 1406, the gynostemma was described as a plant for food use. Young shoots and leaves taste sweetish, they are used in salads in raw form, also in the manufacture of other dishes. They contain many trace elements, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, polysaccharides. At the same time, unlike other pumpkin species, there is no toxic cucurbitacin.
Chinese doctors used gynostemma in the treatment of edema, tumors, hematuria, injuries. Modern scientists recommend it for diabetics as a sugar substitute. "Southern ginseng" has powerful antioxidant properties, reduces tumor growth, regulates blood cholesterol, blood pressure, increases stamina, immunity, and has an adaptogenic effect. The use of gynostemma is recommended for athletes and people with great physical exertion.
In 1991, a conference on traditional medicine was held in Beijing. On it, a five-leafed gynostemma was recognized as part of the top 10 tonic herbs. Its positive effect on 5 main systems of the human body was noted: digestive, cardiovascular, nervous, immune, reproductive.
Tea, infusion, alcohol extract, tablets are made from gynostemma.
In southern China and northern Vietnam, it is believed that with regular use, the plant provides amazing longevity. During a census conducted in China in the second half of the 20th century, it was revealed that mountain centenarians (over 100 years old) included gynostemma in their diet. The plant restores homeostasis, has amazing anticancer activity, is effective for hepatitis and diabetes. Plant research continues, many scientific publications devoted to it in recent years.
Most likely, a plant grown indoors will not fully display all the beneficial properties, also in greenhouses and containers. But tea and salad from the leaves of the gynostemma, no doubt, will be very useful.