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Immortality Herb (Gynostemma pentaphyllum)

 
Posts: 135
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
7
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OK, I diligently searched all the fora for any posts on Immortality Herb (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) and found almost nothing, which, after researching it kind of surprises me.  Seems on the surface to be a right handy herb to have around.  Does anyone have any experiences to share regarding the use of this herbal for the treatment of blood pressure issues?  My doctor wants me to start a bp med, I don't; I resist taking any medication for any reason until I sort out the diet/lifestyle/etc. factors.  

Thanks.
 
Posts: 12
Location: Central North Carolina
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Eric, I learned most everything I know about Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Jaogulan) from Joe Hollis who owns and runs a permaculture-based medicinal herb farm up in the mountain of North Carolina. He is also the source of the Jaogulan I have planted in my piedmont gardens. Here is one of his videos which focuses on Jaogulan.



His video is mostly about cultural practice but a little bit on usage. In other reading I have found that the herb has mild hypertension alleviating properties but that it's main beneficial use if for boosting the immune system and as an overall calming agent. It is recommended to avoid mixing use of Jaogulan with blood thinning medications such as Warfarin. But mixing use of Jaogulan with hawthorn supposedly creates a good heart and blood tonic. Given the ease of growing Jaogulan in our central North Carolina climate I foresee this herb being one of the cornerstones of our future medicinal herb farm production.

If you are interested in more reading on the adaptogen class of medicinal herbs I recommend 'Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief' by David Winston and Steven Maimes.

Hope this helps!
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 135
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Thank you Justin, I'll watch this when I have a chance.  I read that it had an 82% efficacy for reducing hypertension compared to 93% for the leading pharmacological.  My hypertension is fairly recent, the result of a Faustian deal with my employer that lets me work from home (read: sit on my bum and stare at a computer all day).  Before that I drove for hours all over the mid-West and ate a lot of lousy food in restaurants.  Since it's mostly self-inflicted, it's going to be self-resolved.  It's coming down slowly but surely with exercise and diet, but at my age I think I need a little help.  I just got the plant, going in to the ground in a week or two.  

Does it grow as annual where you are?  I'm zone 7, cut sheet that came with it says it's a perennial to Zone 8.  Also says moderate shade in hot climates, we definitely qualify as that.

Thanks for the response and the resource.  
 
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This isn't about the plant you talk about, but regarding high blood pressure, be sure you are drinking enough water, which most people aren't doing. Water intake affects blood pressure and not having enough can elevate it. If you do an internet search "water intake blood pressure", you will find many links about the topic.
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 135
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Anne, thank you for your concern,  I am indeed getting enough water because of an unrelated condition.  I have a water glass within arm's reach all day.  My interest is in indeed in the herb. I'm new to this, except for the old school herbs that were common growing up (black birch, willow, mint), I've never taken or had the time to delve into this area.  Immortality herb seems to have a lot going for it.  Lots to learn....
 
Justin Durango
Posts: 12
Location: Central North Carolina
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Eric, I have found that Jaogulan grows as a very reliable, quite expansive perennial in my zone 7b gardens. Currently, the vigorous new growth which pushed forth in February given a couple weeks of mild weather has turned to mush thanks to a couple of hard freezes. This will not slow it down. The root system is comprised of fleshy, rope-like rhizomes and they are quite resilient. Come June the plants will have grown 6-8 feet and they just keep trucking until our first frosts in late November. I have placed divisions in full sun, part sun, and full shade. All seem to do very well with the only noticeable difference being the predictable morphological adjustments of leaf size, chlorophyll concentration, etc. August brings drought and triple degree temperatures and the leaves in the sunny patches will curl and try to hide, but they recover quickly when the weather backs off even a little.

A good friend with whom I shared a division thought she lost her full-sun planting last year but, lo and behold, it is currently pushing up several vines.

I don't think you can go wrong with this plant. Very high dosages, particularly on an empty stomach, can result in dizziness and lightheadedness. The empty stomach scenario can also lead to intestinal discomfort. Otherwise this is a safe daily medicine which should help your body balance all manner of stressors. It might even be a strong enough herb to keep Mephistopheles at bay.
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 135
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Thanks Justin, now I'm pumped, I'm planting it in 2 weeks.  Sounds like kudzu with benefits... Thanks for the warning and the good thing about my deal with Mephistopheles is I get to play in the garden!  I'll post a follow up when it comes in.  
 
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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About growing something in zone 7 when the label says zone 8... I just read Push the Zone by David the Good, where he says that planting next to a south-facing wall or under the edge of the canopy of a good-sized tree can give you an extra zone or so for a tender plant. He says that planting under an established tree protect plants from the cold of the night sky, and also points out that the trunk of a tree is actually a lot of thermal mass, like a barrel of water. Myself, I've had some success pushing zones by planting next to the south-facing wall of my house.
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 135
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Thanks Rebecca, I've read all of DtG's books and subscribe to his YouTube channel, he's awesome.  We've already adopted some of the techniques since we have an abundance of large sandstone boulders on the ranch.  I'll post a follow-up with pics.
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
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