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Gotu Kola

Centella asiatica

Also know as Bramhi, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort and tiger grass, Gotu kola is a popular ingredient of “smart drinks” as are now found widely in Western Culture. Gotu Kola is native to India and islands in the Indian Ocean, and it is widely used throughout these areas. It is an important herb in Aruyvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. Its Aruyvedic name, bramhi, means “bringing the knowledge of Brahman”.

Gotu kola is an excellent herb for mental power. Unlike many other herbs which are said to boost mental capabilities, gotu kola has been the subject of clinical tests to prove its potential. It has been shown to increase concentration and the attention span of intellectually disabled children. In the elderly, it can prevent senility and memory loss. For these conditions, a dosage of 4 capsules per day is recommended.

In healthy individuals a dosage of 1-2 capsules per day will revive the memory and boost brain speed. In addition, it has a soothing effect on the nerves, making it an excellent supplement prior to sitting an exam.

As well as boosting the mind, gotu kola is good for the body. It increases stamina and physical power. It also speeds the healing rate of wounds.

There is anecdotal evidence that gotu kola reduces varicose veins. Some sufferers have found that by taking 3-4 capsules each day, varicose veins shrank and the pain associated with them was reduced. This dosage has also been known to aid in the healing of phlebitis.

Cautions:
In large amounts, or with long-term use, gotu kola can cause headaches, vertigo and photosensitivity.
Avoid if suffering from hypertension, cardiovascular disorders or peptic ulcers.

Other uses:
Gotu kola can be used in cooking. The leaves of the plant can be added to salads and curries.

Growing gotu kola: Gotu kola is propagated from seed, which is sown in Spring. It prefers a tropical climate – very hot and wet – and it flourishes in areas such as rice paddies. Either the whole plant or just the leaves can be harvested at any time once mature.

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