Gotu Kola: The Fountain of Youth in a Plant

Gotu Kola is a small crawling tropical plant which contains excellent medicinal attributes. It has several nutrients that could provide energy and nutrients to the nervous system, aside from having vitamins A, B, E and K, and magnesium. Regardless of what the name suggests, it has no cola or caffeine.

Caring for the plant is exceedingly simple since it is a marsh plant and is semi-aquatic. It flourishes in moist soil, preferably in partial shade, though it can also survive in full sun exposure. You can grow it in containers, just be sure the growing medium does not run dry. Once it is grounded, it can expand without much attention. Reap the leaves on a regular basis; each one holds up only three weeks on the plant before it becomes yellow.

Called Centella Asiatica, Gotu Kola has acquired fame worldwide as a nerve tonic to improve memory and promote relaxation. It is occasionally called “the arthritis herb” or “food for the brain.” French researchers have discovered evidence that Gotu Kola significantly steps-up the production of collagen, operative to the synthesis of connective tissues encompassing the veins. Improved collagen lets the brain capillaries to be protected, increasing mental alertness.

Gotu Kola also is also claimed to heal wounds. It helps fight stress and enhance reflexes. It is utilized to contain high blood pressure, aging, senility, and varicose veins. It also aids the body protect itself versus toxins. It was first utilized as part of Ayurveda, in traditional Indian medicine. It was observed in the Shennong Herbal compiled in China about 2,000 years ago.

Recent analyses show that Gotu Kola has a favorable effect on the circulatory system: It appears to improve the flow of blood all over the body by beefing up the veins and capillaries. It has been used with success to treat phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), as well as leg cramps. People who deal with pain every day (usually induced by arthritis) instantly appreciate the benefits of Gotu Kola.

1 to 3 freshly shredded leaves daily in salads or liquefied in juice are sufficient to “slow the aging process.” Advocates of the herb merely give it a quick rinse and munch on it, together with its stem, direct from the garden.

So how does it taste like? That’s perhaps the chief cause for its lack of popularity. It must be taken raw, and its flavor characterized as remindful of anything from bougainvillea leaves, Bermuda grass, and smoke from a vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Granted all its benefits, however, people have been munching on these virtually magical leaves. Add a dash of salad dressing or combine it with your lunch or dinner, so Gotu Kola would go down easier.

Any known interactions or side effects? Aside for the rare individual who’s allergic to the plant, there are no substantial harmful effects to using Gotu Kola. However, if it induces a skin rash, dermatitis or headaches, bring down the dosage or stop taking it altogether. Avoid Gotu Kola when you are using tranquilizers or sedatives, pregnant or nursing, . This herb must also not be used by anybody who has an overactive thyroid. Gotu Kola must not be given to kids under the age of two.

References:

Gotu Kola: A Medical Dictionary, Icon Health Publications – 2004

The Way of Ayurvedic Herb by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra

Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician’s Guide by Lucinda G. Miller and Wallace J. Murray

Copyright © 2011 Athena Goodlight

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