Other names: Indian Pennywort, Marsh Penny, Indian Hydrocotyle, White Rot, Thick-leaved Pennywort, Hydrocotyle
Gotu Kola, also known as Indian Pennywort is one of the most widely used and important Ayurvedic herbs on the market today. It is also thought to increase psychic sensitivity.
In China it is considered one of the "miracle elixirs of life."
Gotu kola is a low growing herb in the parsley family native to tropical Asia, where it is grown commercially. It also grows in Hawaii and other tropical regions.
Gotu-Kola as an Herb for Medicinal Use
The medicinal parts are the dried above ground parts, the fresh and dried leaves and stem. Gotu Kola is almost tasteless and odorless.
In India, the ancient tradition of Ayurveda regards gotu kola as an important rejuvenating herb, especially for nerve and brain cells. It is prescribed to increase intelligence, longevity, and memory while retarding senility and aging. In India it has been used as a folk remedy for leprosy, lupus, as well as to fortify the immune system.
A leaf tea is used as a wash for skin diseases, inflammation, and swelling.
In Chinese folk medicine, the leaf tea is used for colds, lung and urinary tract infections, and externally for snakebite, injuries, and shingles.
The notion that gotu kola promotes intelligence led to a number of studies of its effect on the central nervous system. Preliminary results showed it can be beneficial in improving memory and may also help overcome stress and fatigue. Two older Indian studies reported that it helped improve intelligence, general mental abilities, and behavior in mentally retarded children.
Other experiments indicate that gotu kola acts as a mild depressant on the central nervous system. Topically, it relieves inflammation, strengthens tissue at wound sites, and helps rebuild damaged skin tissue. In one clinical study of a topical preparation of gotu kola, thirteen of twenty patients with poorly healing wounds experienced complete, accelerated healing.
Use liquid gotu kola extract or take Gotu kola fresh. It loses its properties quickly when dried.
The whole gotu kola plant has been widely used in India and Fiji to treat skin inflammations, to improve blood circulation, to aid in the treatment of bloating, congestion and depression. A Sinhalese proverb says "Two leaves a day keep old age away."
Superior Nerve Tonic
Gotu Kola or Bacopa Leaf is a superior herb for the nervous system. Known as "brahmi" which means "godlike" in the Ayurvedic tradition, it is used for its anti-aging properties. It is also an aid to meditation. Gotu Kola is the most spiritually oriented of all herbs. With bitter taste and cooling energy, it treats any of the doshas.
Gotu kola boosts circulation to the blood vessels of the skin, mucous membranes, nerves and brain. Strengthening memory, concentration and intelligence, it promotes longevity and improves physical strength. The complexion benefits from age related problems such as hair loss, skin conditions, cellulite and decreased circulation. This herb stimulates the growth of hair and nails, and increases the blood supply to connective tissue.
Culinary Uses of Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is popularly used as a food source rich in vitamin C in the form of leafy greens within Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Fresh leaves from your garden can be used in your salads and beverages.
Those with mild to moderate depression might want to use caution. Some testing done in India indicates it may act as a very mild depressant.
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