Jia Gu Lan (pronounced Jow-Goo-Lan), the renown Tea of Immortality, has a very enthusiastic cult following for good reason. Medicinal herbs can be categorized in a number of ways, but in the final analysis they’ll take you in one of two directions. Cleanse or nurture.
Nurturing botanicals are regenerative in action, and a handful of these have earned the distinctive recognition as primary tonification herbs. Jiao Gu Lan is known to have similar adaptogenic attributes as ginseng root, only better. Inhabitants of southern China who favor this tasty vine purport life spans exceeding 100 years of age when included as a daily dietary component.
Every plant has a personality discerned only by the honed awareness of a master gardener, and the high-energy spirit of this vivacious medicinal has won us over. With our resident director of sustainable agriculture, Deborah Lando, it didn’t take long to break the ice. Deborah is a long-time purveyor in the nursery industry, and highly regarded as an organic gardening savant of sorts in this agricultural-based river valley. AV Botanical Gardens is now commencing year four of Jiao Gu Lan cultivation, and it has become our signature crop.
I was recently made aware of an “organic” Jiao Gu Lan recall produced from a well-known Asian source. You guessed it, pesticide residues as verified by a third party lab. Here’s what we’ve learned about this delicate herb. Bugs and humans both have a fondness of palate for its sweet, tender leaves. Insects, microbes, four-legged creatures and homo sapiens all live symbiotically at the AV Botanical Gardens, however.
Our cultivation and harvesting methodology does not require the use of pesticides or plant “junk food”, but images from the AV 2016 crop tell the story best:
Image #1 shows dark green, nutrient and adaptogen-rich Jiao Gu Lan in its prime. This is what you get in our Thermo Infusion No.2 and the Lost Coast Immortality Tea line-up. We hand pick choice leaves daily from April through mid-November. It’s labor intensive for certain, but regarded as one of our favored meditative practices here at the gardens. Leaves are then placed on racks in a dark, dehumidified drying shed for several days, and placed into food grade, air tight containers ready for immediate packaging.
In contrast, commercial growers abroad typically harvest entire sections of their crops two to three times yearly. Mass gathering makes economic sense, but lacks the quality control to separate prime from past-prime. Some growers include other plant matter in addition to leaves, while all is compressed into tight blocks for western consumers.
Image #2 depicts leaves now on the downslope of peak desirability. The lighter shade of green through yellow stages reveal a rapidly declining vitality, but comprise a large portion of the yield in Asian imports. This not-so-select grade will never pass the final cut for AV products, and are instead sacrificed to our multi-legged friends … they need to eat too, after all. Funny thing is, bugs leave the best leaves alone for the most part. Nature has the uncanny ability to ferret out the team players from the usurpers.
Image #3 illustrates the reason why some alleged “organic” Asian producers default to the Mansanto-Neanderthal school of myopic greed-farming. Bug-eaten leaves are both unsightly and costly to commerce-driven operations, but not a problem for us. Add Asian slave-labor into the equation, and it’s perplexing why they can’t do better.
Healthy plants naturally resist pests, and only succumb when it is time for Nature’s recyclers to do their job. This is the modus operandi at AV Botanical Gardens, and the presence of insect life gives evidence to a balanced eco-system. We will continue to expand our annual crops to accommodate the rapidly growing Alfa Vedic faithful, but never at the expense of meticulous, conscious and sustainable agricultural practices. Most important, the first release of the Lost Coast Immortality Tea blends are being packaged as we speak! The taste and vibrancy of fresh, domestic Jiao Gu Lan is a multi-sensory experience, and you’ll never again consider anything less.
Just imagine every locale abundant with healthy, fresh food and home-grown medicine. We have no trouble imagining it what-so-ever … we’re doing it!
Dr. Barre Paul Lando
How dare you treat your soil like dirt! ~ Joel Salatin
Our line of thermo Infusions incorporate healthy fats into your diet!