Herb: Sweet Tea Vine

Latin name: Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family, Gourd Family)

Medicinal use of Sweet Tea Vine:

The whole plant is a tonic herb that improves the circulation, stimulates liver function, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, and reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also has sedative effects, relieving spasms and lowering the blood pressure. It is used internally in the treatment of nervous tension and exhaustion, peptic ulcer, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It was rated among the ten most important tonic herbs at a conference on traditional medicines in Beijing in 1991.

Description of the plant:


8 m
(26 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets in open forests in lowland all over Japan.

Edible parts of Sweet Tea Vine:

Leaves and young stems - cooked. The leaves have a sweet taste and are used as a tea.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant is used in proprietary preparations for cosmetics and anti-ageing tonics.

Propagation of Sweet Tea Vine:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow it in spring in a rich compost in a greenhouse, placing 2 - 3 seeds per pot. Thin the seedlings to the strongest in each pot and grow the plants on fast. Plant them out after the last expected frosts and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets in open forests in lowland all over Japan.

Known hazards of Gynostemma pentaphyllum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.