Scientific Name: Centella asiatica
Centella asiatica, known as Pennywort, Centella or Gotu Kola is a creeping, evergreen, perennial herb, that makes roots at its nodes and has kidney-shaped leaves with indented margins. Gotu Kola bears clusters of tiny inconspicuous pink flowers in groups of three, hidden under its leaves in summer. Gotu Kola prefers to grow in partial shade. It does not like severe frost and must be protected in winter. It is a hungry feeder and likes lots of water.
Gotu Kola is indigenous (naturalised) to South Africa, being originally native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of India & Asia. It is also found in Australia, southern U.S.A, and South America. In the wild it enjoys forests, marshy areas and riverbanks.
Harvest and parts used
Gotu Kola leaves can be picked throughout the summer months. The leaves can be used dried or fresh for use in infusions, milk decoctions, or powdered.
Young tender leaves have a dry spicy flavour - can be eaten raw in salads & sandwiches. They can also be cooked. The herb’s flavour combines well with fish and vegetables, and is a good addition in stir-fries, curries and soups.
Gotu Kola is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs – they call it Brahmi – which means 'bringing knowledge' - and has been used medicinally in India since ancient times. Today Centella is very popular worldwide and among the top 25 best-selling herbs in the world.
Gotu Kola is a rejuvenating, tonic herb that helps to revitalize the brain and nervous system, combats nervous disorders, ageing, mental retardation, senility, and improves the memory.
For poor memory and
Take 30 drops of Centella / Gotu Kola tincture with water, 3 times a day.
Gotu Kola is a diuretic and purgative herb that clears toxins. It reduces inflammation & fevers. It boosts the immune system.
Use with Basil as a cooling remedy for fevers and food poisoning
Gotu Kola is also a stimulating tonic. It increases energy. It is particularly useful for male reproductive problems - problems with conception, and low sperm count. It can be combined with Rosemary in a tea when studying for exams.
To make a tea:
Use 1 teaspoon of dried leaves, pour over it 1 cup of hot water, stand for 15 minutes, strain and sweeten to taste.
Internally and externally:
Gotu Kola is widely used to treat skin problems. It heals wounds, cuts, grazes and burns, and assists the healing of chronic skin conditions, like ulcers, skin cancer & leprosy. Gotu Kola's anti-tumour and wound-healing properties have been clinically proven - it contains triterpenoid saponoids that help to promote cell replication. It increases the reproduction of peripheral blood vessels and connective tissue, improves circulation and helps to retain/restore elasticity of the skin. It speeds up collagen formation and increases antioxidant levels within the wound in the early stages of tissue repair. It is known to reduce thread veins, soothe varicose veins and ease night cramps of the legs.
Apply a paste of powdered Gotu Kola to patches of eczema:
Mix 2 tsp of powdered Gotu Kola leaves with 25ml of water.
Gotu Kola is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and has peptic ulcer healing properties. In India they use Gotu Kola to treat abdominal disorders, asthma and bronchitis. In Europe Gotu kola is given for rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis and poor venous circulation.
Gotu Kola is a valuable ingredient in face creams. It stimulates the production of collagen and improves the tone of the veins near the surface of the skin. It is also anti-wrinkle and skin-firming.
Do not use for more than 4 weeks without a break. Excessive use, taken internally or externally, can cause itching and headaches.
Avoid if you are pregnant or nursing, using tranquillizers or sedatives, or if you have an over-active thyroid.