Gynura procumbens is an evergreen shrub found in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, which is of considerable medicinal value. It has found its way around the world and is widely used as an accepted medicine for diabetes, HTN, and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Its Chinese name is ‘jian feng wei’ (which translates into ‘pointed phoenix tail’) and Indonesian name is ‘daun sambung mjawa’. It should not be confused with daun dewa which is another related Gynura species. In Singapore, Gynura procumbens is believed to be one that possess the ability to lower blood pressure and sugar levels. Locals there will recommend you to eat 3 – 7 leaves daily in the raw form. It has been used for the treatment of eruptive fevers, rash and kidney disease. The leaves of this plant continue to be used as folk medicine to control diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia.
However, while this plant is widely recognized as medicinally valuable, the only research I can find, to actually document its medicinal use, is on rats. This research shows that it is an efficient regulator of blood sugar. In the animal studies it lowered blood sugar in diabetic animals but not in normal animals, unlike anti-diabetic drugs. At the same time it protects the kidneys and retinas from damage caused by high blood sugar. It also lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, and has anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity. Some studies have been done comparing Gynura Procumben efficacy with Glyburide in rats with Type 2 diabetes. It would seem from the results of these initial studies that Gynura Procumbens extract demonstrated a similar action to that of Glyburide in helping to lower the blood sugar for rats who had Type 2 Diabetes. In healthy animals it did not lower it and no adverse symptoms were noted in the reports.
Quite impressive studies, even if they are done only on rats. It’d be interesting to see human studies and documentation on this plant. For myself, I feel confident with the animal studies, and the fact that the plant has been so widely used medicinally, and eaten around the world. I feel it will provide medicinal value to my family, without causing harm, so I will be growing large amounts to be consumed daily. Fortunately the plant does grow easily, and quickly.
Gynura procumbens is generally regarded to be a relatively harmless herb to consume. In Java, the young shoots of this plant are eaten raw as a vegetable. Singaporeans find it more palatable if the leaves have been blanched in hot water before consumption. This would be a matter of taste.
I feel we are reaching a point in our lives where what our bodies need to help correct or even heal some of our physical conditions is something we're having to consider growing ourselves. We may not be able to afford expensive prescriptions, and certainly don't want to grow reliant on them. I truly believe that if you study your plants, and learn what to use, there are lots less side effects with natural plants, than with using pharmaceutical drugs. This definitely holds true for me as there aren’t many pharmaceutical drugs I can safely use - but plants, taken with knowledge and care - have helped me considerable.
I’ve found an interesting video on youtube that you can watch. It’s only about 2.31 minutes long, but you’ll see the plant, and hear a general explanation of how easy it is to propagate. - > Green Harmony Anti Viral Herb . . . The video states the herb originated in Africa - truth is, it’s used so much around the world that it is hard to know where it actually began - but it is widely promoted as a healing herb.
Ultimately, you are what you eat. For someone living with diabetes nothing could be truer. When it comes to maintaining good blood sugar levels, a healthy diet is vital. People with diabetes have to take extra care to ensure their diet is properly balanced with their insulin and oral medications. The right meal plan will also help any person living with diabetes improve their blood glucose levels. In Thai, this herb is known to reduce blood sugar and reverse diabetes. It is called “Longevity Spinach” it is said to be effective on Type 2 Diabetes and has proven to lower blood glucose on type 1 diabetes as well. Being an anti viral and anti-inflammatory herb it has the ability to help regulate not only the blood glucose, but also blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It has also shown promising results against viruses such as cancer and HIV.
Antihypertensive: Study showed the oral administration of aqueous extract significantly lowered blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Results suggest GPE may be useful for prevention and treatment of hypertension through increasing NO (nitric oxide) production in blood vessels.
Glucose Lowering: Ethanolic extract of leaves significantly suppressed elevated serum glucose levels in diabetic rats. The extract did not significantly suppress glucose levels in normal rats. Results conclude the leaves of GP may be biguanide-like activity.
Abundant Leaf Proteins / Peroxidase: Study found few abundant proteins from the leaves of GP; among these, peroxidase was found the most abundant of the extracted proteins. Results suggest a natural source for peroxidase for use in the cosmetic and skin care industry.
Nutritive / Antioxidative Properties: Ethanolic Gynura extract exhibited the highest antioxidative properties in every assay. Nutritive evaluation suggests the extract is a good protein source and may have positive effects on free radical scavenging and iron chelating.
Gynura procumbens Medical Toothpaste: A Gynura procumbens toothpaste invention consists of" gynura procumbens (Lour.) extractant of 1-20%, glycerol of 20-55%, diglycol of 10-15%, abradant of 20-45%, carboxymethyl cellulose of 0.5-1.5%, sodium dodecyl sulfate of 0.5-2%, additive of 1-4%, essence of 1-2% and saccharin of 0.1-1%.
Anti-Ulcerogenic: Study results suggest the ethanolic leaf extract of Gynura procumbens promotes ulcer protection as shown by significant reduction of ulcer area, histologic decreases in ulcer areas, with absence or reduction of edema and leucocyte infiltration of submucosal layer.
Anti-Diabetic: (1) Study evaluating the water extract of G. procumbens in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed a hypoglycemic effect by promoting glucose uptake by muscles. (2) Study results suggest the antidiabetic effect may be mediated through the stimulation of glucose uptake and the potentiation of insulin action.
Toxicological Evaluation: Administration of a methanol extract of G. procumbens did not produce mortality or significant changes in various parameters in both acute and sub-chronic toxicity studies.
Longevity Spinach (gynura procumbens) can be eaten fresh like a salad, stir fried with other vegetables, juiced, and also enjoyed as a cup of tea. It has a very delicious taste.
Gynura procumbens grows as a scrambling perennial plant with stems that can extend 18-20 feet long if left to grow. The fleshy leaves are bright green, and rather smooth to touch. The shape of leaves can vary depending on the growing conditions and they can range from roundish to ovate in shape but are all shallowly toothed at the margins.
In shade, they are darker green and appear rather flat but under direct sun, the two sides of each leaf may develop a slight V shape along the mid-rib and take on a lighter green color. The plants I have seen so far have green leaf undersides although I read that there are plants with purple undersides.
The stems can be totally purple or have patches/specks of purple. From the above description, one can observe that Gynura procumbens can be highly variable.
Gynura will climb if you let it but it is easy to keep it as a small bush in pots with regular pruning (harvesting/eating).
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Ah yes... and the legal disclaimer - don’t you hate these things? —> The information contained in this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. <– ok, that’s done, hope you find this article useful!!
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