The Story of Spring Dragon Longevity Tea
In 1972, a group of Japanese researchers reported that Gynostemma
tea was being consumed as a daily “longevity tea” by large numbers of southern Chinese people. It was revered in the regions where it grew as “magical grass” because of its many reputed health benefits. Subsequently, studies conducted first in Japan revealed that Gynostemma was extremely rich in saponins that were extremely close to those found in ginseng and Siberian ginseng. As it turned out, Gynostemma is even richer in these saponins than ginseng. Gynostemma tea had generally been made from wild mountain Gynostemma pentaphyllum plants, but as Gynostemma reputation as a longevity herb grew, farmers learned to cultivate it. Within a decade, Gynostemma was being consumed by millions of Asians as a
In 1992, Ron Teeguarden was traveling to China to oversea a production run of tonic herbal formulations. Because of a ticketing mistake, he was upgraded to first class. By coincidence, he was seated on the long flight from San Francisco to Beijing next to Professor Xiao Pei-Gen. Also, by “coincidence,” Ron had an photocopied article written by Professor Xiao in his travel bag. The article was entitled “Anti-Aging Chinese Herbs.” Xiao Pei-Gen, as it turned out, was Director of the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development in Beijing, a major research institute belonging to the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He was also head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine, Commissioner of the Committee on Pharmacopeia for the People’s Republic of China and a Commissioner of New Drug Evaluation for the PRC. In other words, he was one of the most powerful and knowledgeable herbal experts in the world. Because Ron had his article on the plane, Professor Xiao took Ron under his wing. When Ron met with Professor Xiao at the institute, he asked Professor Xiao if he knew of any special tonic herbs with significant anti-aging qualities. Professor Xiao responded instantly that Gynostemma was exactly what I was looking for. Professor Xiao introduced Ron to the supplier of the highest quality Gynostemma in China and Ron was ready
to develop a product.
Gynostemma is traditionally consumed as a tea, just like green tea. It is delicious as well. At the same time, Ron had come across a special, traditional Chinese method of brewing “longevity teas” by supersaturating extracted herbs into tea leaves. Ron decided to use this ancient technology to supersaturate Gynostemma leaves with a number of other tonic herbs that had traditional reputations as longevity herbs. With the help of Yanlin, he found a tea master who knew the secret of preparing the “longevity
teas.” After experimenting for several months at Yanlin’s parents’ home in China, the final tea was determined and thus was born Spring Dragon Longevity Tea.*