Gotu Kola is the name used for Centella asiatica in India to distinguish it from the other herb known as Brahmi, (Bacopa monnieri or Herpestis monniera). Actually it has been used for much the same medical purposes as Brahmi and grows in the same countries, although once again it is native to the Indian subcontinent and China, it is believed, but it has become naturalized in the US centuries or perhaps millennia ago.
It has been found to help reduce gastric ulcers in rats, and has shown to have improved their cognitive processes (in different laboratory trials). There is hope that it can be used to help Alzheimer’s patients and to combat the effects of senility.
Traditionally it has been used in India and Pakistan as a cure all and modern medical research has so far supported these ancient uses although more trials are needed on humans before the researchers will say categorically that Centella asiatica is very good for us in lots of ways. They agree that it heals wounds effectively, and can improve blood circulation and help those with varicose veins. As it promotes blood circulation and strengthens veins, it is good for sexual disorders in both sexes, especially erectile dysfunctions in men. The good news for men in the US is that grows prolifically in wetlands and the dried leaves can be made into a hot tea. You’ll pay a fortune for it as a supplement or sex aid, but you can go and pick your own leaves and dry them- even grow American coinwort (as it’s known in the States) in your garden. (In other countries it’s known as pennywort but here we’re talking about Indian pennywort)
It can help decrease anxiety, stress and fatigue and is good for scleroderma, improving finger movements, joint pain and skin hardening. As it has a mild sedative effect it is good to cure insomnia, although your dreams may have more clarity. It is sometimes used as an aid to meditation, with the leaves burned as incense, as it clears the mind and gives mental clarity. It has been said that it helps in past lives recollection. It has the effect of balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Gotu Kola is mainly used in the West (at the moment) for its cutaneous anti-inflammatory properties as it can help in rheumatism.
In China it is reputed to promote longevity and the example often given of this is that of Li Ching Yun, a legendary healer who lived until he was 256 years old, presumably retaining all his faculties.
It has anti-aging properties for the skin and tightens older skin, helping to prevent wrinkling and can be used in creams to get rid of acne blemishes. In this respect it is rather like aloe vera.
If you are pregnant, or taking the contraceptive pill, or oestrogen replacement treatment, do not use gotu kola internally.
GOTU KOLA TISANE
1-2 tsps dried leaves of gotu kola
! cup boiling water
sugar to taste
slice of lemon
Pour the boiling water over the leaves and leave to step for 15-20 mins before straining and drinking.
Take only 2 cups a day as it has a mildly laxative effect.
It may not have Taste but it is a Treat(ment).