Article and photography by Bristol Dunlap
Gotu Kola - An herb for the mind, body and spirit
Main benefits of Gotu Kola
- Enhancing clear mind
- Improving memory
- Support focus
- Encourage emotional balance
- Balanced promotion of daytime energy and nighttime sleep
- Aid in healthy blood cells and circulation
- Restore Digestion
- Promotes healthy skin, hair
- Speeds the healing of wounds
(BRAHMI or Centella Asiatica)
In the spirit of Valentines and the importance of our heart center, we would like to discuss Gotu Kola also termed Brahmi or Centella asiatica, which is known as a heart tonic. Gotu Kola is a true adaptogen that promote harmony on the mind, body and spirit. It’s range of benefits bring balance to brain function, nervous sytem, blood cells, digestion functions, and our largest organ – the skin. It’s therapeutic and healing properties are highly prized in India and China, appearing in both ayurvedic and daoist texts.
Gotu Kola grows like short grass and is shaped like little brains, which is a good way to remember this treasured ancient medicine is revered for its ability to enhance cognitive function. It is unique in its ability to enhance nearly every aspect of mental functioning while remaining centering effects. It is known to rejuvenate the mind, improve memory and intellect, support concentration, and influence the quality of consciousness. Most herbs with such powerful effects of the mind carry the potential to be highly stimulating.
Gotu Kola is known to support the nervous system as a whole and promote subtle awareness and sattva – an ayurvedic term that describes a state of balanced, pure and wholesome awareness or consciousness. It is in this state of pure awareness emerges our greatest creative potential. Gotu Kola is often used to support meditation as it known to increases the clarity and subtlety of mind by balancing the left and right hemispheres.
Gotu Kola is in sense, is the little brain to feed your big brain.
Mystically, the benefits of Gotu kola go much further than just feeding the mind. Gotu Kola is known to serve the nervous system by relaxing tension in the body. Specifically reducing muscular tension and stress-induced constipation. The reduction of stress in the body has the effect of improving daytime energy and the quality of sleep at night. Gotu Kola is known to improve blood quality and circulation, helping supply oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our body. It is therefore known as an anti-stress, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medicine. Less stress on your body means less stress on your mind, which means less stress on your heart, they really do all work together to keep you going.
Gotu Kola is also known to be very soothing to the skin and scalp. It is known to help reduce excess scar tissue, symptoms of psoriasis, scarring, wounds and stretch marks and cellulite. It is known to prevent infection, as it is known to hold anti-bacterial properties. Gotu Kola can also be applied to the scalp, as it is known to support healthy hair growth. In addition, the oil may further encourage the many benefits gotu kola offers the mind.
How to Use Gotu Kola?
Liquid extracts are convenient, easy to assimilate, and have a long shelf life.
With so many rejuvenating and healing benefits to skin ailments, it serves as a fabulous everyday skin and scalp application.
Side Effects of Gotu Kola
Excessive doses of gotu kola can be slightly narcotic and can cause headache, dizziness, giddiness, or skin irritation. It has also been known to cause gastric irritation and nausea. In addition, gotu kola can inhibit liver enzymes responsible for barbiturate metabolism.
As always, speak with a trained herbalist or your medical practitioner before adding it to your herbal regimen.
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Sturdivant, Lee, and Tim Blakley. The Bootstrap Guide to Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace. Friday Harbor, WA: San Juan Naturals, 1999. Print.
Lad, Dr.Vasant and David Frawley. The Yoga of Herbs. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Lotus Press, 1986. Print.
Faerman, Justin. “Gotu Kola: The Many Benefits of the Ancient Herb of Enlightnement.” Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. 09 Feb. 2017. http://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/gotu-kola-benefits-of-the-herb-of-enlightenment/
Stough, C., et al. “The Chronic Effects of an Extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on Cognitive Function in Healthy Human Subjects.” Psychopharmacology. 156.4 (2001): 481-484. Online. PubMed. 22 Mar. 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11498727?dopt=Abstract
Bradwejn, J., et al. “A Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled Study on the Effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on Acoustic Startle Response in Healthy Subjects.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 20.6 (2000): 680-684. Online. PubMed. 22 Mar. 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11106141?dopt=Abstract
Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on mauimedicinal. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.