Region: China, Yunnan province
Start serving Gynostemma and get ready to have customers for life. Variously known as Jiaogulan, Poor Man’s Ginseng, Miracle Grass and the Immortality Herb, Gynostemma has been credited with helping people live extremely long lives. (As with many herbal products, the evidence is anecdotal rather than scientific however so it should be taken with a grain of salt.)
In the remote villages near Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou province, inhabitants routinely drink Gynostemma tea instead of traditional Chinese green tea. They believe that a cup in the morning invigorates them for the day ahead and a cup after work helps them unwind. Now here’s the amazing part – the people of these villages routinely live to be more than 100 years old. In the 1960s, a team of Chinese medicinal practitioners and herbalists researched the phenomena and made some interesting discoveries. They found that the herb was very high in antioxidants and functioned as a powerful adaptogen, an herb that increases the body’s resistance to trauma, anxiety and fatigue.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180’F or 90’C. Place about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.