Gynostemma (lat.Gynostemma) - a genus of herbaceous plants of the Pumpkin family, common in the tropics of Southeast Asia from Japan to the Himalayas and from Malaysia to New Guinea. In Japan alone, one and a half dozen species of gynostemma can be found, nine of which are endemic.
In culture, the species of gynostemma pentaphillum (lat. Gynostemma pentaphillum) is grown - a plant that is otherwise called the herb of immortality, Thai tea, southern ginseng, and also such incomprehensible names as "jiaogulan" or "jiaogulan". Moreover, gynostemma appeared in European culture, first as an exotic house plant, and only after a while in the southern regions they began to grow it in the garden.
Interest in gynostemma increased many times after the Beijing Conference in 1991, where medicinal plants used in traditional medicine were discussed.
Read more about the cultivation of gynostemma below.
Gynostemma - perennial dioecious climbing plants, pubescent or bare lianas with shiny opposite petiolate palmate leaves, consisting of 3-9 serrated lanceolate leaves along the edge. Nondescript flowers of gynostemma with a short tubular white or greenish corolla, deeply dissected into five narrow-lanceolate lobes, form racemose or paniculate inflorescences. It is possible to distinguish male plants from female plants only during the flowering period: male inflorescences, like stamens in flowers, are longer than that of female plants. Gynostemma bloom begins in mid-summer and lasts until early autumn. The fruits of the plant are black spherical berries up to 6 mm in diameter, in which 2-3 seeds ripen.
When grown in favorable conditions, the shoots of Gynostemma five-leafed can reach a length of 8 meters.
Liana Gynostemma prefers to grow in open sunny areas or in a slightly shaded place in a light, well-drained fertile soil. If you grow a gynostemma once, then in the future you can propagate it in a simpler and more effective way - by cuttings.
Before sowing, gynostemma seeds are soaked for a day in warm water and then sown to a depth of 2 cm in pots filled with a mixture of compost (or humus) and sand. The crops are covered with foil and germinated at a temperature of 20-22 ºC. Seedlings appear in 3-6 weeks, and as soon as the seeds begin to germinate, the film is removed, and the seedlings are placed under bright diffused light. Care of gynostemma seedlings consists in timely watering and loosening of the substrate. When the seedlings begin to branch, support the seedlings.
In the photo: Growing gynostemma in the garden
In May, when the soil temperature rises to 15-16 ºC, the seedlings can be planted in the garden, having previously prepared a site for it: 5-6 kg of humus or compost are added for digging for each m² of the area, and heavy soils are dug up with peat and sand. Gynostemma seedlings are planted using the transshipment method. The volume of the hole should be slightly larger than the volume of the root system of the seedling with an earthen clod. The remaining space is filled with soil, then the surface is slightly compacted and watered, and when the water is absorbed, the area is mulched with a layer of organic material - humus or compost - 5-8 cm thick.It is necessary to immediately install a support for each plant if you do not use a fence in this capacity or a wall.
Water the plant abundantly and quite often - once every 7-10 days, keeping the soil around the bush in a slightly moist state. During the dry period, gynostemma needs spraying of the leaves, which is carried out with warm water early in the morning or in the evening, when the sun has already set. After rain or watering, loosen the soil around the plant and remove weeds.
As for fertilizing, in the first year gynostemma will be enough added to the soil when planting humus or compost, but in the future it is better to feed it with Kemira's solution at the rate of 30-40 g for each plant: this complex contains all the trace elements necessary for gynostemma. If the leaves of the plant are used during the season for preparing salads, soups and other dishes, dressing is applied only at the root, but in no case on the leaves.
Gynostemma is not particularly hardy: it can withstand frosts only down to -18 ºC, but under a layer of snow it hibernates without health consequences. If in your area winters with little snow, cover the plant with spruce branches or a thick layer of dry foliage. In a harsh climate, it is better to dig up the gynostemma in the fall, transplant it into a pot and keep it until spring in a bright place away from heating appliances, caring for it like a dormant plant.
Gynostemma leaves can be harvested and dried throughout the summer. Salads and soups are prepared from fresh leaves and shoots, and tea is brewed from dried leaves. Leaves and shoots of gynostemma are dried outdoors under a canopy or in a well-ventilated semi-dark room until brittle, after which the raw material is crushed and stored in a dry room in paper boxes, bags, ceramic or glass jars under tight-fitting lids. The sweet fruits of the plant in ripe form can also be eaten.
The genus Gynostemma includes about 20 species, but, as we already wrote, only one is grown in the culture - gynostemma five-leafed. Since this plant is still very rare in our gardens, we do not know anything about its varieties and varieties.
Gynostemma is not included in the Pharmacopoeia and is not yet used by official medicine, however, the similarity of the biological characteristics of the plant with the properties of the popular ginseng is increasingly attracting the attention of not only traditional healers, but also gardeners. Especially impressive are the stories that tea made from gynostemma leaves prolonged the life of the aborigines, and they not only kept their health up to 100 years old, but also continued to lead an active lifestyle. The healing properties of gynostemma have been known since the 200s BC.
In the photo: Growing gynostemma at home
Young shoots and leaves of the plant have a sweetish taste. The composition of gynostemma, in addition to a whole set of vitamins, includes calcium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, potassium and other elements necessary for the body. The aboveground mass includes more than 80 saponins, while there are only 28 of them in ginseng. The use of gynostemma increases endurance and performance several times over, which makes the plant's preparations simply indispensable for people undergoing intense physical activity. But unlike ginseng, gynostemma does not cause overexcitation, and with systematic use it even soothes.
Gynostemma is an excellent sugar substitute, so its use is indicated for diabetics. The substances that make up this plant increase immunity, lower cholesterol, have a positive effect on the state of the genitourinary system and the gastrointestinal tract, improve memory and slow down aging.
How to make gynostemma tea? 2-3 teaspoons of chopped fresh or one and a half tablespoons of dry leaves of the plant are poured with a glass of boiling water and insisted for five minutes. This infusion can be used to make tea 4-5 more times. It is enough to drink 3 glasses of tea a day for vivacity.
There are no contraindications to the use of gynostemma, but the preparations of the plant should not be taken by people with individual intolerance to its components. Caution should be exercised for hypertensive patients, since gynostemma can increase blood pressure. For those with sleep disturbances, it is not recommended to consume gynostemma after 4 pm.
Since studies on the effect of gynostemma on lactating and pregnant women have not been conducted, it is better for these categories to refrain from using plant preparations.
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Many people are probably familiar with the following situation: "They presented the hyacinth on March 8, it bloomed happily, but I don't know what to do with it next." So, the hyacinth has faded, what should I do?
First, keep in mind one important feature of forcing bulbs that all experts in this business are talking about - they are not suitable for re-forcing. We can say that this is a one-time pleasure. The hyacinth is very weak after distillation.
And the faded bulbs should be planted in open ground - in a garden, vegetable garden, on a flower bed, etc. At least 1-2 years they should grow in the ground in order to restore their strength for the next distillation.
Under natural conditions, comfrey grows everywhere. It is found in forest and steppe zones, from the European part of Russia to the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The culture prefers to settle on wet forest edges, clearings or on the banks of water bodies (Figure 2).
Since the comfrey root penetrates deep enough into the soil, the plant can grow in almost any soil and climatic conditions. The only exception is considered to be acidic soils, which contain substances that are detrimental to the plant. On such soils, the roots do not receive a sufficient amount of moisture and nutrients, and comfrey leaves first begin to die off, and then the whole plant also dies.
Figure 2. Zhivokost grows on forest edges and along the banks of the reservoir
Zhivokost found use not only in folk medicine, but also in garden decoration. This plant with bright green leaves and pleasant blue-purple inflorescences is considered decorative. It is often planted in shaded areas, for example, for landscaping an area near an outbuilding or fence.
However, when planting comfrey, you should be prepared for the fact that adult specimens will have to be thinned out regularly. Over time, the crop displaces weeds from the site, but begins to grow too actively and can spread outside the flower bed.
In warm regions of Russia in the open field, gynostemma is grown through seedlings. Seeds for cultivation can be purchased at special outlets and seed stores. Before planting, gynostemma seeds are soaked in heated water for 20-24 hours and sown in prepared pots filled with humus or compost with sand 2-3 cm deep. You can fill the containers with a special mixture purchased from the store. The air temperature is maintained within +20 .. + 22 ° С. Before germination, it is advisable to cover containers with foil. With the emergence of seedlings, the film is removed.
Care before planting in open ground for the gynostemma consists in keeping the soil moist, with sufficient lighting without direct sunlight. Diffused light is better for seedlings. Top dressing is not carried out. Gynostemma seedlings have enough nutrients from the substrate, which is 50-70% organic. When the open ground warms up to +14 .. + 15 ° С, the seedlings are planted in the open ground.
Probably, medicinal plants began to enter into everyday life of a person, as soon as he at least slightly satisfied his hunger. Immediately there was a desire to live longer and not suffer from diseases. Having learned to recognize plants that are useful for themselves, gaining knowledge, observing animals and neighboring tribes, as well as experience - by trial and error, part of the population, who knows what winter is firsthand, took care of the problem of how to preserve not only food, but also medicinal plants ... This is how the first medicines appeared - first, simply powders from dry plants, then ointments based on animal fat and vegetable oils. Well, and even when alcohol appeared (the honor of this discovery is attributed to Arab doctors, in particular Avicenna), the storage of medicines became even better and, as practice has shown, many active principles began to be extracted more efficiently.
The second problem that a person took care of, by the way, much earlier than design (not to fat, maybe I would live) - the cultivation of medicinal plants near the home. Discovering new countries and continents, travelers brought their usual plants with them, and those who returned, took with them many useful plants of the overseas flora and planted them in their gardens. So a whole industry was born - medicinal plant growing, taking various forms - monastery gardens, university botanical gardens, pharmaceutical gardens, and, finally, state farms. Well, everything that did not grow in the garden continued and continues to be collected in nature.
So very briefly you can list the main stages of the neighboring relationship of medicinal plants and humans.
But in recent years, these relationships have intensified. It would seem that the pharmaceutical industry, especially foreign countries, works excellently, export-import does not fail and you can join the products of almost all countries, the pharmacy network is never thicker, almost like grocery stores. And in them teas with medicinal plants, proudly bearing the title of "functional products", appeared. But no! Everyone enthusiastically study books and articles in specialized magazines, how to grow medicinal plants on their own and what can be prepared from them and for what diseases to take all this.
What is the reason for this interest? There are probably several reasons. Firstly, not all plants can already be bought at the pharmacy. Many of them, as a result of active harvesting, simply passed into the category of rare and disappearing ones, for example, many araliaceae, rhodiola rosea, red root. The industrial cultivation of these species is very problematic. It is, of course, possible, but in this case the drugs from them will be very expensive. But growing several plants in the garden is not a problem at all.
Secondly, many simply do not trust what they are selling. Even if the medicinal raw material looks great, it can contain radionuclides, mycotoxins and heavy metals invisible to the eye (and this is very common). Therefore, the modern consumer wants to be sure that everything that he absorbs himself, and that which he enthusiastically feeds his family, is absolutely safe and “environmentally friendly”.
Thirdly, it is simply excitingly interesting - to grow some rare species on your site, about which it is written everywhere that in culture it does not want to grow in any way, and independently prepare a medicine from it according to all the rules. Here is the same sea buckthorn oil on sale. But many people prefer to cook it themselves. True, when reading recipes in various publications, there are a lot of contradictions. Unfortunately, many publications are guilty of rewriting old mistakes from each other. But science does not stand still. Some recommendations are confirmed, some are debunked as myths, for many plants "new pages of biography" are opening, that is, directions for their use.
Taking care of your health is gradually becoming a way of life. That is, this is not only treatment with medicines and preferably natural ones, but also proper nutrition with healthy products. Nutritionists broadcast from all TV channels and newspaper pages. But most of the fruits and vegetables, without which the diet is simply unthinkable, are medicinal plants. For example, celery, dill, fennel, anise are included in the pharmacopoeias of various countries, that is, they are official medicinal plants that are presented on pharmacy shelves. There are many medicinal rather than culinary recipes with garlic and potatoes, carrots and beets. And some of them are used to prepare medicines - for example, artichoke - a delicacy and raw material for many choleretic drugs.
On the other hand, some habitually medicinal plants are promoted as food, such as calendula. Have you tried a salad or casserole with petals (scientifically, reed flowers)?
And finally, one more aspect - many medicinal plants are simply very beautiful, and some ornamental plants are medicinal. Therefore, they can be placed on the site so that they will not become a necessity, but an ornament: echinacea, nasturtium, daisy, incense, peony evading and many others can be stars in flower beds, and not Cinderella in the backyards.
Therefore, the main task of our new section "Medicinal Plants" is to help grow the desired plant, prepare it correctly and warn against possible troubles. Indeed, many medicinal plants must be used in small doses and, like any medicine, have contraindications. And, of course, help to purchase seeds, planting material, get expert advice and exchange experiences.
Doctor of Agricultural Sciences
Photo: Rita Brilliantova, Maxim Minin
Davallia can get sick with improper care.
Root rot affects the fern when over-watered. The decayed roots must be removed, the cuts must be sprinkled with charcoal. To reanimate the plant, it should be transplanted into fresh soil.
In case of a fungal disease, the affected areas are also cut off and the cuts are sprinkled with ash. The diseased plant is treated with the Mikosan preparation.
Of the pests, the fern is afraid of aphids, scale insects, whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips. The affected plant is treated with insecticides. You can use folk remedies, for example, a shower with laundry soap is very effective in combating many pests.