Latin: Centella asiática
Parts Used: Leaves
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, cooling
Properties: Tonic, adaptogenic, vulnerary, analgesic, anxiolytic, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic
Actions: Long revered in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu Kola has been used for a variety of health complaints. Gotu Kola lessens anxiety, reduces high blood pressure, improves cognition, memory, heals stomach ulcers and gastric pain, strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries, strengthens the nervous system and improves libido. Got Kola can be used externally as a salve for wound healing as well.
This is really a panacea and has been revered as such and used in many medicinal and culinary preparations because of its “cure-all” abilities. In Ayurveda, it is deemed a “Rasayana”, a supreme tonic capable of restoring the nervous system, improve blood flow, reduce anxiety and build resiliency in those who take it frequently. It is seen as an herb capable of slowing the aging process down, especially in those who appear to be aging too quickly. In terms of mental health, Gotu Kola is really useful for those who need deep restoration and strengthening, especially if they are under great stress or have experienced shock and trauma. Stress and trauma may lead to general debility, cognitive decline and confusion, pain and arthritis and Gotu Kola is a premier herb to help in the healing process here. It has also long been used by mystics, sages and yogis to enhance their meditations and spiritual practices.
Dosage: This is an herb that is often taken in meals (see recipe section) and is a wonderful addition to one’s diet if one can find it fresh. Otherwise I recommend taking it in whole form as tea 1-2 tsp to cup of hot water infused for 10 minutes.
Contraindications: High doses sometimes correlated with burning sensation on skin or headaches.
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Gotu Kola monograph by David Leonard (Herb Rally)