Top 10 Health Benefits of Longevity Spinach (with how to grow and use)

Want to try some new spinach? Longevity spinach is the new trend. Read on to find out what it is.

Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables out there of course made famous by our favorite cartoon character-Popeye! But have you heard of longevity spinach yet?

Gynura procumbens, also called longevity spinach or the leaves of gods, is the cousin of Okinawa spinach. It is called ‘longevity’ spinach because it is a long-lived plant and due to its numerous health benefits. It helps in lowering cholesterol, blood sugar levels and also has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Let’s look at what longevity spinach is, what are longevity spinach benefits and how to grow it.

What Is Longevity Spinach?

There is a new veggie in town, the longevity spinach or longevity green! Also known as Gynura procumbens, this is a small medicinal plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Longevity spinach is a small plant about 6-12 inches long with a fleshy stem and oval-shaped fluffy leaves.

This highly nutritious, semi-succulent green edible is very popular in Southeast Asia, its home turf. While it is commonly found in tropical Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc., and Africa, it has also gained popularity in the US in the past few years.

What Is Longevity Spinach Good For?

Longevity spinach is famous for a number of reasons, a few of longevity spinach benefits are it [1]:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Maintains blood sugar levels in diabetics
  • Lowers blood lipid levels
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Is anti-inflammatory
  • Is antibacterial
  • Has antiviral properties
  • Promotes wound healing
  • Protects kidney cells from kidney disease
  • Helps remove toxins from the body
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Helps in rheumatism
  • Helps treat constipation
  • Is an antioxidant
  • Enhances fertility

Top 10 Longevity Spinach Benefits

Let’s dive deeper into the longevity spinach benefits.

1. May reduce blood pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases, including stroke.

Several animal studies have explored the blood pressure-lowering potential of longevity spinach [1].

Oral administration of longevity spinach extract may help prevent and treat hypertension by increasing nitric oxide, an important chemical that helps widen blood vessels [2].

It can also decrease mean arterial pressure and systolic blood pressure [1].

2. May improve heart health

Gynura procumbens can improve heart health by reducing the effect of medications that weaken the force of the heartbeat. It can also reduce the effect of drugs that decrease heart rate [1]. 

However, there is still limited knowledge about how longevity spinach works and the exact chemical compounds in Gynura that show these benefits. 

3. Is an antioxidant

Longevity spinach, especially the roots, is rich in antioxidants like phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) [3].

Decent amounts of antioxidants are also found in the leaves and shoots of Gynura

The antioxidant property of longevity spinach can help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

4. May reduce blood sugar levels

Compounds like kaempferol, quercetin, sinapic, caffeic, and vanillic acid, in longevity spinach, can help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics [4].

Gynura can stimulate glucose uptake by fat cells and muscle cells, thereby reducing blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. It can protect against liver damage in type 2 diabetes [1,4].

One intriguing finding shows that longevity spinach reduced fasting blood glucose levels and suppressed glucose elevation in diabetic rats but not in normal rats [1].

5. May protect against cancer

Longevity spinach has been traditionally used to treat leukemia, breast and uterine cancers for a long time.

It can prevent cancer at its initiating phase and suppress the multiplication and spreading of cancerous cells [1].

6. May improve fertility

Infertility is one of the complications of diabetes. Gynura may treat infertility in diabetics.

Few animal studies demonstrated that the administration of longevity spinach helps improve fertility by increasing enzymatic activity, sperm count, and sperm motility. It also reduces the percentage of sperm mortality and promotes sperm maturation [1,5]

It also has aphrodisiac properties like ashwagandha and increased mounting frequency in rats [1].

Human studies are required to understand if longevity spinach can show the same effects in humans too.

7. Helps treat certain infections

Longevity spinach can help treat or manage certain diseases and infections due to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.

The ethanolic extract of aerial plant parts of Gynura has been demonstrated to deactivate or destroy viruses. It also inhibits the replication of viruses like the herpes simplex virus [1,6].

It also exhibits antibacterial activities against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria like Salmonella typhiStaphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa [1,7].

It also exhibits antifungal activity against fungi like Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans [1].

8. May reduce inflammation

Longevity spinach is commonly used to treat inflammation in Thai folk medicine.

Gynura contains ꞵ-caryophyllene, β-pinene, limonene, and 3-carene, all of which are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties [8].

Longevity spinach extract may be used topically in treating inflammatory conditions like atherosclerosis.

9. May promote wound healing

Longevity spinach has been used as a traditional medicine in southern china. Mashed Gynura was applied topically for relieving red swelling, fever of the skin and also for treating poisonous insect bites [8].

Topical application of Gynura extract can also promote wound healing by activating cells involved in wound healing [1]. 

Applying Gynura extract topically can decrease scar width and show signs of dermal healing. It is also important in pain management [8,9].

10. May protect against organ and tissue damage

One of the many longevity spinach benefits is that it can protect against organ damage. 

It can help reduce symptoms of gastric ulcers, reduce skin damage caused by UV rays, prevent progressive kidney diseases, and also have liver-protective properties [1,8].

Though there are many longevity spinach benefits, it is important to note that most of the studies were done on animals. Many human trials are necessary to evaluate the dosage and efficacy of longevity spinach in humans.

Commercial Uses of Longevity Spinach

Longevity spinach is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments like chronic skin ulcers, cervical spondylosis (age-related wear and tear in the spinal disks near the neck), uterine cancer, etc. [1].

You can also find it being used in food, personal care, and the cosmetic industry through products like

  • Coffee powder
  • Kimchi
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Candies
  • Chewing gums
  • Oral sprays
  • Hand sanitizers 
  • Skin creams
  • Facial masks etc

How to Grow Longevity Spinach?

Longevity spinach grows wild, but you can also cultivate this vegetable-like herb. So how can you grow this wonder plant?

Longevity spinach grows as a perennial in warmer regions and as an annual in colder, freezing regions. It is a low-growing plant that has the ability to spread on the ground.

You can either let it climb or trim it regularly so it grows in a bush shape.

When to plant longevity spinach?

Although the best time to plant is in March, the place you live in, the temperature, and dates of frost and growth seasons at your location play a significant role in deciding the best planting time.

You can plant longevity spinach after the last frost date of your area. This is because longevity spinach is frost-sensitive and prefers a warm temperature.

If you are expecting a late frost, you can cover the plants with cloth or frost sheets. You can also move the plant indoors for a while when temperatures reach 40℉ or less.

Where to plant longevity spinach?

You can plant longevity spinach indoors or outdoors. When planted outside, it can grow like a weed, but you’d have to keep trimming if you want it to grow like a bush.

If you are planting outdoors, make sure you plant them with at least 50 cm spacing between 2 plants so that your greens don’t compete with each other for nutrients.

You can plant 1 longevity green per pot or bag as planting 2-3 or more might result in the plants competing for nutrients and moisture.

How to grow longevity spinach indoors?

A few requirements of growing indoors and outdoors are similar and include:

Soil: Luckily, longevity spinach isn’t picky in terms of soil type. So you can pick any soil. But ensure getting rich soil with plenty of drainage possibilities. 

Water: As it is semi-succulent, you don’t have to worry about watering it every day, except in summer when you’ll have to water them more frequently. Its roots also grow deep, making it possible to reach groundwater.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy, as too much water might cause root rot. 

Fertilizer: This plant doesn’t need to be fertilized frequently unless you are planting them in pots. But if you are planning on doing so, you can use blood meal, fish fertilizer, earthworm castings, compost, or any other organic fertilizer. You can fertilize your greens once every four months.

Pesticide:  Longevity spinach is pretty much pest-free, but if you see any pests, you can wash them off and spray neem oil.

If you can spot aphids, spray a homemade or store-bought organic aphid spray. You can also use soap water if you are in a pinch and are looking for an affordable option.

Longevity spinach flowers

Yes! Longevity spinach grows flowers in the spring season. You can see a yellow-orange inflorescence on its axillary stem when it is in full bloom.

Where to place longevity spinach?

You can plant longevity spinach in pots or grow bags. Ensure that the grow bags or pots are at least 1-2 feet deep so that the roots have some room to grow. It is best to keep the plants under partial shade.

If you don’t have natural light at your place, investing in grow lights is a good idea.

How does longevity spinach taste? 

Longevity spinach tastes similar to spinach when uncooked and okra when cooked.

How to Use Longevity Spinach

There are a multitude of ways in which you can consume this vegetable.

  1. The leaves of longevity spinach have a mild raw taste. So you can just crush the leaves and make tea.
  2. You can add them to your green smoothies or vegetable juices.
  3. Blend them with your favorite berries for a refreshing drink
  4. Saute the leaves with garlic and add it to your pasta.
  5. You can use the young, tender leaves for cooking with meat or prawns. 
  6. The leaves, when cooked, give a slightly viscous consistency. So you can use it to thicken your soups, stews, and sauces.
  7. You can also use the leaves in sandwiches or salads.

Stir-fry or eat it raw, but the possibilities are endless. 

While the best way is to consume it raw, you can also lightly steam or saute it to minimize nutritive losses.

You can use it as you use any other leafy green and enjoy the wide range of benefits it has to offer.

Longevity Spinach Side-effects

Are there any side effects of consuming longevity spinach? 

Longevity spinach generally has no side effects. But like any food, there might be a minor risk of an allergic reaction. 

If you are concerned about how your body reacts to longevity spinach or if you are prone to food allergies, you should check by eating one small leaf and see how your body reacts to it. You can gradually work up to 10-15 leaves if you are able to tolerate it.

Eating an excess of this vegetable can cause diarrhea, but consuming any food in excess can cause side effects. 

Wrapping Up

Longevity spinach has a host of health benefits, and you can grow this plant in the comfort of your home. You can use longevity spinach like you use any other leafy vegetable.

It is also safe to consume in limited quantities, but you might want to test it first by consuming a small leaf if you have too many allergies.

It is also recommended that you consult your doctor or dietitian before incorporating this medicinal plant into your diet. This is especially important if you are on medications or have a health condition. 


  1. Tan, Hui-Li et al. “Gynura procumbens: An Overview of the Biological Activities.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 7 52. (2016) 
  2. Kim, Mi-Ja et al. “Antihypertensive effects of Gynura procumbens extract in spontaneously hypertensive rats.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 9,4 (2006): 587-90.
  3. Krishnan, Vijendren et al. “Antioxidant Potential in Different Parts and Callus of Gynura procumbens and Different Parts of Gynura bicolor.” BioMed research international vol. 2015 (2015): 147909.
  4. Guo, Sa et al. “Exploring the protective effect of Gynura procumbens against type 2 diabetes mellitus by network pharmacology and validation in C57BL/KsJ db/db mice.” Food & function vol. 12,4 (2021): 1732-1744.
  5. Kamaruzaman, Khaidatul Akmar et al. “Gynura procumbens Improved Fertility of Diabetic Rats: Preliminary Study of Sperm Proteomic.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2018 (2018):9201539
  6. Jarikasem, Siripen et al. “Antiherpetic Effects of Gynura procumbens.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 394865.
  7. Ashraf, Kamran et al. “In vitro antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiproliferative studies of four different extracts of Orthosiphon stamineus, Gynura procumbens and Ficus deltoidea.” Saudi journal of biological sciences vol. 27,1 (2020): 417-432.
  8. Huang, Xia-Ling et al. “Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of active ingredients in the essential oils from Gynura procumbens, a traditional medicine and a new and popular food material.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 239 (2019): 111916.
  9. Sutthammikorn, Nutda et al. “Topical Gynura procumbens as a Novel Therapeutic Improves Wound Healing in Diabetic Mice.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,6 (2021) 1122.
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