Gotu kola (Centella asiatica, formerly Hydrocotyle asiatica)
Main Facts about Gotu kola
Gotu kola is a member of the parsley family that grows in India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Rounded retro-looking leaves on thin stems that creep along the ground, with pinkish red flowers in umbrella-clusters close to the ground, each flower partly enclosed by 2 green bracts. Grows in tropical ditches and moist areas. People sometimes confuse gotu kola with kola nut (Cola nitida), but the two are not related. Unlike kola nut, gotu kola has no caffeine and is not a stimulant.
Using Gotu kolaDescribed in the original Ayurvedic textbooks several thousand years ago, gotu kola is probably best known for its ability to improve memory and cognitive functioning and wound healing properties. Gotu kola has long been used in topical, oral, and injected forms to treat leprosy. In addition to its ability to heal the sores associated with leprosy, gotu kola may also have anti-bacterial properties. You can find gotu kola in many creams for wound healing. Gotu kola has a positive effect on the circulatory system. It improves the flow of blood while strengthening the veins and capillaries. It has been used successfully to treat phlebitis, leg cramps, and abnormal tingling of the extremities. It soothes and minimizes varicose veins and helps to minimize scarring. Gotu kola may prevent, delay and treat a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged and blood collects in the veins of the legs. This collection of blood can lead to varicose veins, spider veins, or sores on the legs.
Gotu kola is a remedy for: Anxiety
Caution!Do not use if you are allergic to any ingredient in gotu kola. Do not use if you are pregnant. Do not use if you have a history of epilepsy. Gotu Kola may raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels so individuals with high cholesterol or diabetes should not take or apply it.
Cooking with Gotu kolaThe leaves and stems are the part of the plant we eat. Use it in dishes much in the same way you’d use parsley or watercress. Gotu kola is available in teas and as dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and ointments.
How to grow Gotu kolaGotu kola will grow in almost any soil, but does best in alluvial soils, and prefers hot, humid climates. It may die in drought but return after rain. If you have a high content of mulch in the soil, then the plants will spread better and establish more strongly. While it can and will tolerate full sun, all day, the best results are obtained by some shade during the hottest part of the day. This makes it perfectly suited to grow under trees, as long as the shade is not complete, all day. Water twice daily until the plant shows signs of spreading and then, ignore it completely. Constant harvesting of the leaves will ensure a continual supply and will encourage the plant to spread.