Botanical name: Gynura procumbens
Some other names: Longevity spinach, Sambung Nyawa, Leaf ginseng
How to grow it: Sambung is one of those really easy perennial plants that tolerates a wide range of soil types and grows well in sun or shade. It will do better in moist & fertile soils producing larger and more succulent leaf.
Grows all year round in warm climates, and will die back in winter in the cooler climates – generally will reshoot in spring.
Spreads rampantly in it’s growing season – one plant can provide an enormous amount of fresh leaf. Fortunately it’s really easy to cut back and control and is quite an attractive plant.
Really simple to propagate – any piece of stem seems to strike, and if you allow it to spread, you can usually find a rooted piece of stem to replant.
One of the better plants for container growing- you can really get a good supply of leaves going if you keep the water & fertiliser up to it
Medicinal value: There’s not a lot of scientific information around for Sambung though it is being researched for for it’s medicinal value. Being widely known as “life extender” and “Longevity spinach” gives a clue to it’s value, and traditionally it’s been used fresh or as tea for diabetes, cancer, prostate health, and arthritis. Just 3 leaves a day is thought to prolong life.
Using it in the kitchen: Fresh leaves make a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, juices or smoothies.
Also used as spinach, in stir fries or omelettes. I like to add it to stocks to increase flavour and minerals.
Really versatile vegetable – I tend to throw a few leaves into just about any dish that requires some greenery.
Easily qualifies as a survival plant as it’s so easy to grow and incorporate into your diet.