Jiaogulan is also called the “herb of immortality” and is said to have many healing powers. We mainly know tea and pills made from the plant. The jiaogulan plant itself has only recently been on the rise. The herb is said to have just as good properties as ginseng, which is known to be expensive. Many ingredients really match. The advantage of Jiaogulan is the significantly lower price. The plant is also easier to grow and can be harvested much earlier. Ginseng takes years and is difficult to cultivate.


The leaves of the plant are dried or used fresh. Mainly tea is made from them. Although healthy, it doesn’t even taste bad. The tea is especially delicious when it is made from fresh leaves. The fresh shoot tips can also be processed well in a salad and they can also be eaten solo. The taste of Jiaogulan is reminiscent of liquorice.

Jiaogulan (gynostemma pentaphyllum) has no side effects. It is absolutely rare. The plant is particularly well tolerated by women. This is mainly due to the saponins it contains. Jiaogulan has so many good properties that I cannot even list them all here, otherwise the text will be too long. I am just introducing the most important ones here:

  • Helps prevent stress-related illnesses
  • antioxidant
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Works against high blood pressure
  • Lowers the cholesterol level
  • Prevents strokes and heart attacks – prevents blood platelets from clumping together
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Hematopoietic
  • Lowers blood sugar and blood lipids
  • Preventive against cancer
  • Helps reduce stress
  • Increases endurance performance
  • Stimulates the metabolism and and and

Jiaogulan is a climbing plant and is quite easy to grow. It belongs to the cucurbit family and grows accordingly quickly. The winter hardiness is not entirely consistent and is indicated very differently. Since the plant moves in anyway towards the end of autumn, the rhizome can also be overwintered frost-free. Thus, the cultivation is really possible and also not complicated.

Growing and caring for Jiaogulan

Jiaogulan is an herbaceous and perennial climber. Cultivating these is easy. It is a little more difficult to use them. This is because it is difficult to grow from seeds. The difficulty is in getting germinable seeds. Then germination can still take many weeks. So it is easier to get a young plant, which is also not expensive at all. These are offered in many nurseries between March and October. As they grow quickly, the first leaves can be harvested after a few weeks. Jiaogulan can also be used as a houseplant. It is absolutely frugal and easy to care for. The plant is highly recommended for everyone who lives healthy and wants to do something good for themselves.

Instead of growing Jiaogulan from seeds yourself, I recommend ordering one or more plants from Jens Rusch. This man is a pioneer in the Jiaogulan field. His plants are genetically derived from the so-called “first generation”. It is genetically identical material, propagated by offshoots and dips. See also:
www.dithmarschen-wiki.de/Jiaogulan. These plants contain much higher amounts of active ingredient than plants raised by seeds, of the third, fourth or subsequent generation.

Most of the ingredients in the leaves can be found at the beginning of summer.


With regard to the location, a distinction must be made whether the Jiaogulan is planted out or cultivated as a houseplant. Outside, a not so sunny place is ideal because it is a jungle plant and thrives in the shade of other plants. It is cheap to cultivate them indoors as a hanging basket. During my research, I found that the location is the most important thing for the plants to develop. The sunnier they were, the worse they grew. Strangely enough, some do well in the sun. I can’t say why that is. Highly recommend giving it a try. Observe the plants to see whether they are comfortable. This is usually easy to see. It’s a vigorous plant and if there’s not much going on, it’s wrong. If, on the other hand, it grows loose, all is well.

  • Needs space
  • Can be up to 8 meters long, but it usually stays at 2 to 3 meters
  • Significantly smaller in the pot
  • Not full sun
  • Penumbra
  • Morning and evening sun is better
  • Also grows quite well in the shade, but stays smaller and grows more slowly
  • Plan space for a large trellis.
  • Jiaogulan likes it warm and humid. Ideal bathroom plant
  • The plant doesn’t seem to appreciate big city air. She clearly prefers country air.

Plant substrate

Jiaogulan is not quite as demanding when it comes to the plant substrate. The best experiences were probably made with marshland. But not everyone lives by the sea. A humus soil is important. You can also experiment with the substrate. If you only have one plant, this is not recommended. If you have several, you should try different substrates. This is the easiest way to find out what the Jiaogulan likes.

  • Not very demanding
  • Soil must not be too dry
  • No waterlogging
  • Marsh floors are ideal
  • Most humus soil is sufficient.
  • A mixture of loamy sand and worm humus (1: 1) was recommended.
  • Sandy soil is not cheap


Anyone who wants to harvest seeds must grow a male and a female plant. But only females get fruits and seeds. The actual planting is not difficult. You have to be very careful with the plants. Young plants are particularly sensitive.

  • Young plants, whether grown from seeds or propagated by cuttings, must not be exposed to the sun.
  • They look best in the light shade.
  • Wind is not ideal either.
  • The plants must be of the appropriate size to be able to be planted out.
  • Do not set too deep in the earth!
  • Just press lightly.
  • When planting in pots, it is essential to install a drainage system.
  • Set up scaffolding for climbing when planting, unless a bridle, wall or similar is available.

Watering and fertilizing

Watering regularly is important because the soil must not be too dry. It should never dry out completely. This is especially important with potted plants. Permanent wetness is harmful, but so is dryness. The substrate in the container should always be slightly moist. Planted specimens cope better with short-term drought.

  • Keep the soil slightly moist at all times
  • Fertilizing is good for growth
  • Schaffsdung should be ideal
  • Alternative Compost
  • Beware of over-fertilizing with conventional fertilizers
  • No artificial fertilizer!

To cut

You don’t actually have to cut the Jiaogulan. Outdoor plants move in in winter. Here only the rhizome survives. It is a good idea to cut off the tendrils before the frost so that the leaves can be harvested. This need not be. You can leave everything for the winter, but then you should grab scissors in early spring and cut back before the new shoots. All cultivated plants can be cut from time to time. That stimulates growth. The leaves can be used dried or fresh.


A distinction is made here between indoor, outdoor and container plants. A winter hardiness of –18 ° C is specified for free-range farming. But I have read again and again that the rhizome did not survive the winter. This is certainly also due to the fact that the plants are bred from the umpteenth generation. The first generation seem to be much harder to winter. Personally, I think I would overwinter the plant frost-free. Better safe than sorry. It’s such a useful plant and if you have one of the right generation, it should come through. The risk would be too great for me.

  • Houseplant
    • It is beneficial to cut something back.
    • Remove the leaves from the cut tendrils and dry the leaves.
  • Container plant
    • Winter frost-free
    • Can overwinter in the dark if it has been cut back hand-high
    • A bright location in the house is better. Dan can also be freshly harvested during this time.
  • Garden plant
    • Shoots freeze back in severe frost
    • Winter hardiness is given down to –18 ° C.
    • I would cover the rhizome well, with leaves, sticks, or straw.
    • The shoots are cut off at the beginning of spring, quite deep. The plant then sprouts again.


Jiaogulan can be propagated by sowing, cuttings and sinkers. If you were able to acquire a plant of the “first generation”, you should definitely propagate it vegetatively, because this is the only way to achieve genetically identical offspring with the good properties of the mother plant.

  • Propagation from cuttings is ideal
  • You use shoot cuttings this year or shoot tips, i.e. head cuttings
  • It is best to root shoots that are not yet completely woody.
  • They are simply stuck in the ground
  • As a substrate, sowing soil or nutrient-poor garden soil is used.
  • After about 20 days, roots will have formed. You take the plant out of the ground and cut the stem a little at the root. This is supposed to stimulate root growth (can also be omitted)
  • The substrate can be changed on the occasion. You then use more nutrient-rich garden soil and can use this opportunity to add horn shavings.
  • Propagation by cuttings is even easier
  • For this purpose, long shoots of the mother plant are simply placed on the garden soil in their entire length. It is beneficial to put something to weigh down on the shoot every 20 to 30 cm, some soil, small stones or pieces of wood.
  • The vegetation points lying on the earth sprout and new roots are formed there.
  • After just two to three weeks, enough roots have formed that the shoots can be carefully loosened.
  • You can then cut up the long shoot and get new plants that can be potted right away.
  • Shoots also take root quite easily if you just put them in a glass of water.
  • All these methods ensure identical offspring of the mother plant, with all their good properties.

Diseases and pests

Diseases and pests are almost unknown. Spider mites are threatened when wintering in a warm room. But you can get rid of them quickly by increasing the humidity. In the garden it is nudibranchs that can cause great damage. They seem to like the Jiaogulan very much and sometimes like to eat them completely bald. You absolutely have to do something about this, otherwise there won’t be much left of the plants.

You will not become immortal if you consume the leaves of the Jiaogulan. In any case, this plant is enriching and good for your health. Plus it’s easier to grow than I thought. I’ll try my hand at her too, that’s for sure. Let’s see if I’m lucky. I don’t have that far to the coast and the marshland. That will be tackled next spring. All in all a very recommendable plant for everyone who wants to do something good for their health.

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