Gynura procumbens or, more commonly known as longevity spinach or longevity greens. This is an edible plant and its leaves are lanceolate and can be up to eight centimeters long and 3.5 centimeters wide. The plant grows in the wilderness but it is also cultivated as a medicinal plant or a vegetable. The flowering heads of the plant are narrow and yellow and between 1 to 1.5 centimeters long.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Tribe: Senecioneae
- Genus: Gynura
- Species: G. procumbens
- Binomial name: Gynura procumbens
- The plant of Gynura procumbens is commonly mistaken for the Japanese plant Ashitaba. Both of the plants have medicinal values but Ashitaba has much stronger healing properties.
- The plant has been used as a cure for diabetes for more than a decade in some regions of Africa.
Gynura Buying Guide
When buying Gynura procumbens avoid light yellow, wilted and limp leaves. The leaves should be crisp and they’re a joy when eating raw. This crispiness makes it great for dipping in a sauce. When buying, always check the bag for yellow or slimy leaves.
Gynura Production & Farming in Texas
Since “longevity spinach” arrived in the U.S it has been a hit. Many of its medicinal values attract people to buy it. It is no different in Texas. The plant is very easy to grow in the area since there is enough sunlight to provide what is necessary for the plant.
Longevity spinach loves the sun so the plant can be a perennial in warmer regions over the year, but it’s an annual plant where frost is a factor. Gynura procumbens will scorch under strong and direct sunlight, so the best way to place it is to have it in partial shade.
The plant itself is pretty much pest-free. There could be occasions where whiteflies and mites show up, but it’s no biggy. Just spray them off the plant with water and you’re good to go.
Longevity spinach could be found all across China, Africa, and Southeast Asia, but after the medicinal properties of the plant were proved, people started to grow them in their own backyards.
Longevity spinach can be grown in full sun as long as it’s not too strong but will grow most efficiently in partial shade. Beware if you’re growing them in full sun, don’t let them dry out as they should be watered regularly.
If you’re not growing these medicinal plants in your own backyard for your own purposes, these are usually packaged and sold in small plastic bags or bought directly with the pot for you to harvest when you arrive home.
Alongside medicinal properties that the plant provides, there can be several ways to consume it. You can eat it raw, dry the leaves and use it as a tea, or soak the leaves into alcohol and preserve it. Besides all of that, the best way to consume longevity spinach is to eat it raw.
Of course, the best way to consume gynuras is as fast as possible after it was harvested. This consumption will, as with almost any other vegetables provide you with the best taste.
Place them in a clean container and wrap the container with paper towels. After doing so, place the container in the refrigerator making the vegetable last for up to ten days.
As I’ve said, some of the ways you can eat gynuras are raw, as a tea, or soaked with alcohol. But you can also always use it as an ingredient in sandwiches or pies.
Longevity Grens Pies is a traditional recipe from the islands of Ikaria. It is one of the best ways to showcase this beautiful and healthy vegetable. Making a regular pie and turning it into both a healthy and delicious meals. The longevity spinach works well with other vegetables so you might as well mix it with some other greens inside the pie.
Many studies explain that Gynura procumbens has anti-inflammatory properties and easily regulates blood glucose levels. Another common name for the plant is Cholesterol spinach. The name was given because it lowers the cholesterol level. The plant is used in Southeast Asia as a medicine to treat rheumatism, viral ailments, and topical inflammation. Gynura procumbens is quite high in protein as well.
When Are Gynura in Season in Texas?
To find out when Gynura are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.