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Author Topic: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum  (Read 304 times)

Auxin

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Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« on: September 15, 2018, 11:23:51 pm »

Gynostemma pentaphyllum constitutes two different medicinal herbs. Bitter Gynostemma is used traditionally in south china and nearby areas and contains gypenosides and other saponins, 'sweet' Gynostemma is a modern thing popular in china, japan, and the west that contains little or no gypenosides but contains ginsenosides and other saponins and has a sweet flavor. Annoyingly the scientific literature makes it clear that they are different in pharmacology but never says which one was used in actual experiments. Sellers never say what kind they sell.
Okay, so I got a pack of Gynostemma pentaphyllum seeds from china. I knew they would have trouble surviving my harsh summers and trouble again surviving the zone 7 winter so I dug a 126 sq ft plot and planted 20 of them. 18 or so survived the summer, at least 8 are growing really well now. Vine, leaf, and flower morphology is spot on.
But mine are not bitter or sweet, its just mild crude vegetable flavor. Tea (strong yellow in color) put in a test tube and shaken produces no foam.
I've bought both kinds of tea from shops so I do know the 'sweet' kind isnt sugar sweet.
Has anyone grown this from seed and do you know, does it not produce good tea until the second+ year or what am I doing wrong? Did I just get the most horrible genotype out there?

I'm seeing male flowers on some plants now. Most of the sweet Gynostemma clones traded around appear to be female, so I guess if I have to trade for or buy a good clone next year at least I'll have inferior male stock to start breeding the good one with.
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 12:22:22 am »

Do you have pictures?
Do you have links on the differences?

I have gynostemma pentaphyllum plants, but not sure which they are. 
I purchased them here:
https://www.ethnoplants.com/gb/asian-plants-seeds/358-jiaogulan-gynostemma-pentaphyllum-plant.html

I learned about the plant here

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Auxin

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 01:10:59 am »

I've never seen the practical differences between the bitter and sweet types explored anywhere. From reading dozens of scientific papers on effects of Gynostemma, none of which specified which chemotype was used, I'd be suspicious of a website purporting to know an unequivocal pharmacological difference. We just know that one or the other and possibly both tonify the nitric oxide processing system of the body thus improving vascular function in various ways, improves endogenous antioxidant enzyme systems returning them to more youthful levels, and does a few other things.
The best paper I found on the chemical difference between sweet and bitter is Chemical and DNA authentication of taste variants of Gynostemma pentaphyllum herbal tea. The full text is behind a paywall but basically, in wonderful technical detail, it shows that bitter tasting varieties contain a (somewhat variable) variety of gypenoside saponins unique to Gynostemma and in the sweet tasting variety those are entirely replaced with ginsenosides known from korean ginseng.

I like that old guys videos. And I'll probably look like him in 30 years :D
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 04:49:56 am »

Yea, I love Joe Hollis, I plan to go meet him next spring. Thanks for the insightful info!
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ONandONandON

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 07:58:30 pm »

ive got Gynostema pentaphylum growing, i think it's bitter variety, as leaves are very bitter tasting..
i'd be happy to trade with you, then we could both compare, but i just sold my last cutting on ebay,
taking some more today so a couple weeks and i'll have some more, maybe we can work out trade.

[: p.s idk if it means anything but mine have never flowered in about two years :]
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Auxin

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 07:01:30 am »

I may take you up on that.  :)
I just arranged for a clone of a saponin rich sweet vine to compare against and breed with my flavorless vines, ultimately I want to grow both sweet and bitter types and breed both for arid zone 7a.
... as soon as I figure out how I'll prevent cross-pollination, lol

The flowers are tiny and light green, you may have just missed them? I see the spikes no problem but I have to really look to see the flowers.
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2018, 03:03:37 am »

I just tasted mine, wow, sweet!  I'd definitely be interested in a bitter plant as well.
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 04:02:45 am »

I actually have both types!
Was very surprised to find this out since I only bought one plant, but they shipped me a few in one pot and I turns out some are bitter and some are sweet. 
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Auxin

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2018, 07:46:25 pm »

Wow, thats unusual.
The plants are dioecious so you might get a small adventure if you decide to propagate via seed if the sweet is one gender and bitter is the other ;)
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 04:14:17 pm »

Wow, thats unusual.
The plants are dioecious so you might get a small adventure if you decide to propagate via seed if the sweet is one gender and bitter is the other ;)

This is quite intriguing to me.
It seems that I have a bitter plant which has lighter leaves that are not shiny at all.
The sweet vine I have is sweeter (still has a slight bitter but pleasant taste) has darker leaves that are shiny.
I am wondering are these varieties just different cultivars?  Is there a difference in taste and appearance of male and female plants?
I am not finding much info on this, but I came across this study:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15575197/
Which gives me the idea that there could be a noticable difference between the male and female plants, as well as variable bitter/sweetness among different plants.
My suspicious at this point is that they are not so much different varieties as much as different cultivars.
I would like to trade clones Auxin to see if we can figure this out.
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Auxin

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2018, 09:41:31 pm »

What the...
Quote
10 Hours after being dyed, the liquid extract of female plants turned into yellow, while extract of male ones turned green.
Bromothymol blue (BTB) is just a pH indicator!

I cant get the full text of that paper, and its written in chinese anyway, but it sounds like the 10 hour old juice of male plants and female plants show a diagnostic difference in pH. That would be so freaking awesome! ;D Good find.
I dont have bromothymol blue, but I have phenol red (phenol red turns from yellow to orange in the range that BTB turns from yellow to green) and I have a quite good pH meter. I may have to see if my outdoor plants still have flowers, then I just need to find my 4 ton press.
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Shamichael

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2018, 07:15:59 am »

Wow that's a low pH for females.  You would think the plant would be very sour.
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Psylocke

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2018, 11:39:27 pm »

Maybe that’s why there are bitter (female) and sweet (male) plants? Different chemical constituents would also likely vary in taste with pH due to change in protonation. That is in addition to the sourness of the acid.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 11:42:52 pm by Psylocke »
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Auxin

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Re: Actually growing Gynostemma pentaphyllum
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2018, 07:17:28 am »

The bitter and sweet thing is not a male/female difference, they are different cultivars. In asia they actually sell named cultivars.
The original Gynostemma pentaphyllum (the stuff classically drunk by old grandmothers in south china) was the bitter kind. It was almost invariably wild from what I can gather, and varied from insipid to bitter with no sweetness to moderate sweetness beneath the bitter. In the 70's a japanese researcher selectively bred out cultivars from them which were sweet with no bitterness and it was later discovered that there is basically no overlap in the constituent ginsenoside/gypenoside content of bitter versus sweet non-bitter varieties. The cultivars breed true and by pure chemotaxonomy they should probably count as different subspecies or something.

...I didnt get to my insipid vines before the ice killed them down to the ground, lol.
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