A member of the Cucurbitaceae family (pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelon, and gourds), Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is a perennial vine that is native to the Asian continent, including China and Japan. It is best known for its use as a traditional Chinese herb used for medicinal purposes. Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is the botanical name for Jiaogulan, which is also known as Sweet Tea Vine, Jiaogulan, or Southern Ginseng.
Grown in open forests and/or mountain slopes throughout China and Japan, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is also commonly found in cultivated beds. Gynostemma Pentaphyllum grows in alkaline, acidic, and neutral soils, preferring ground that drains well such as those offering sandy, clay, or loamy compositions. Growing conditions need to include lots of sun and moisture in addition to warmth as the plant does not tolerate cold weather well. This creeping vine is pollinated through insect activity.
The green leaves are edible and provide a sweet taste when ingested. For centuries, the Chinese have chewed the Jiaogulan leaves to enhance their health and promote longevity. In fact, this herb is commonly referred to as the immortality herb" in China. The leaves are often used to make a tea that is considered to offer special health benefits that can promote a long life. The entire plant has been used as a tonic herb for the medicinal purposes