Gotu kola is a very commonly used herb in Ayurveda. It is also used as leafy green food in countries like India, Indonesia, Thailand, 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.
- 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.
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.
Fresh leaves: take 3-5 fresh leaves and chew it early morning. It enhances the brain functions also helpful in curing hyperacidity
Juice: mix 6-8 fresh leaves with water and make juice to strengthen the nerves. It is effective in mental weakness and skin diseases. It also prevents gastric ulceration. The juice has protective effect against alcohol- induced and aspirin-induced ulcers.
Tea or decoction
- Prepare about half teaspoon of dried leaves for every cup of water.
- Boil for 10 to 15 minutes
- Let it steep and strain
- Store in a glass jar for later consumption
- Drink 1 cup, twice to three times a day after meals.
The fresh juice extract from the leaves can also be used. You can add other herbs or honey to improve the efficacy and taste. It has cooling, sedative and relaxing effect. The tea prepared from Gotu kola induces sleep and gives relief in insomnia.
Ghee: fresh juice of gotu kola is mixed with equal amount ghee and boiled. Daily eat one teaspoon as brain tonic.
With buttermilk: make paste of 5-6 gotu kola leaves and mix it with a glass of butter milk. It helps in dysuria and burning micturition
Hair oil: Extract juice of Gotu kola leaves. Mix with equal amount of coconut oil. Boil the mixture till all the water is evaporated. Filter and store in bottle to use as a hair oil. Used for scalp massage in stress, anxiety, depression, premature greying of hairs
Chutney / Paste:
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 5 min
Ingredients for grinding: (measuring cup used = 120ml)
- 2 hands full of gotu kola leaves
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- Small piece of ginger
- 2 red chillies
- 1/2 gooseberry sized jaggery
- Salt as per your taste
Ingredients for tempering:
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 red chilly
Instructions for making gotu kola chutney:
- To prepare gotu kola chutney, first clean and wash the gotu kola leaves. And keep all other ingredients ready, for grinding.
- Put all the ingredients listed under grinding into a mixer jar and grind it by adding little water.
- Temper it with oil, mustard seeds and red chili. Serve it with hot rice and enjoy healthy and tasty gotu kola chutney.
Gotu kola chutney can be used as a side dish with regular lunch/dinner. It is useful in anxiety, insomnia and rejuvenates the body and mind
- 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.