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Gotu Kola – Wonder Herb for Brain

gotu kola leavesGotu kola is a very commonly used herb in Ayurveda. It is also used as leafy green food in countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia, Srilanka and Bangladesh. It is often mentioned as herb for longevity or fountain for life because the legends say that it was taken by ancient learned people in India and china to live 100+ years.

In Sanskrit language gotu kola is called as Mandookparni. The word meaning of Mandooka is frog and Parni is leaf, its leaves have shape and appearance like a webbed feet of frog. It is also used as substitute for the herb Brahmi – another brain tonic in Ayurveda.

AYURVEDA PROPERTIES:

  • Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter)
  • Guna (quality) – Laghu (lightness)
  • Veerya (potency) – Sheetha (cold)
  • Vipaka (post digestive effect) – Madhura (sweet)
  • Doshaghnata (effect of Bio-energies) – reduces Kapha and Pitta.
  • Prabhava (special action) – Medhya (boosts intelligence)

IDENTIFICATION AND FEATURES:

The botanical name of Mandukaparni is Centella asiatica. Its synonym is Hydrocotyle asiatica. It belongs to plant family Apiaceae / Umbelliferae. It is a creeper plant with roots on the nodes of branches. The new roots from the internodes enter the soil to generate a new plant. Thus it spreads on the available soil. The margin of leaves is toothed, and flowers are whistish-pinkish. It bear small fruits.

USES:

The leaves of gotu kola resembles the hemispheres of the brain and is used in boosting brain functions. It has been mentioned as one of the best Medhya Rasayana (brain nootopics) which can enhance cognition, memory, intelligence, creativity, learning skills and executive functions. In a research study conducted in 2016, post stroke patients were treated with gotu kola and folic acid for 6 weeks. Gotu kola was found as effective as folic acid in improving post stroke vascular cognitive impairment. This study suggested that gotu kola extract is effective in improving cognitive function after stroke and was more effective than folic acid in improving memory domain. This ability to enhance memory and nerve function gives it potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Gotu kola was found to possess sedative action in rats equivalent to that of a minor tranquillizer. The action appeared to be mainly on the cholinergic mechanism. It also helped in reducing the acute anxiety, stress and depression.

  • Part used: whole plant
  • Best way to take it: juice
  • Quantity: 10ml
  • Time: early morning
  • Can be mixed with honey and taken as it is slightly bitter in taste.

SIDE EFFECTS

  • Gotu kola is generally well tolerated. In some cases, it can cause headache, upset stomach, and dizziness. An antidote to these side effects is dried coriander.
  • External usage can cause itching and redness of skin. Dermatitis, pruritus has been reported in some patients. Doing a patch test before full application is always a wise idea.
  • Gotu kola is not well established for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Therefore, avoid using it during pregnancy and lactation.

Learn how to make Gotu Kola chutney at home.

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