Gotu Kola is a really useful herb I want you to know about as we go into summer.
If you recognize this herb by its photo, I’ll be very impressed, but you might have heard of it by name. To avoid confusion, look for it by its Latin name Centella asiatica. It’s also known as Brahmi in the north of India, or Gotu Kola. (In the south of India, a similar acting plant from another family is more commonly referred to as Brahmi: Bacopa monnieri.)
It likes hot, aquarian environments and commonly prefers ditches, so you have to be really careful sourcing the plant due to pollution. You can actually grow it indoors. A few years ago, I found it growing in the walk-in Butterfly Greenhouse at Hortus Botanicus here in Amsterdam.
This herb is commonly eaten as a salad green or juice in southeast Asia, and medicinally it is well known for its ability to improve mind, memory and concentration capacities. Personally, I’ve observed Bacopa does better when the effect you want is concentration, and Centella I use for clients needing a relaxation of the spirit, relief from stress, and who desire calming down.
Areas of Action
So when someone shows signs of excess heat, especially in the mind and nervous system, for example from excessive computer work or concentration, it can be a huge help. But it’s cooling actions don’t stop there. It is anti-inflammatory and can be used in formulas to clear urinary tract infections, and clear skin conditions coming from heat. In fact, it has a special affinity to the skin, blood, and liver.
Clearly, a good Pitta-reducing herb, since those are all Pitta locations and it is cooling!
But actually, despite having dry & bitter gunas (properties), it is Vata-reducing, too, if used in the right circumstances. So it’s not going to aggravate Vata if you have a Pitta condition with Vata mixed in. That said, for straightforward Vata-dominant conditions (difficulty concentrating, spaciness, lack of grounding, changeable mind) I would always prefer Bacopa for its warming qualities. That will be more effective.
And if the fuzzy mind is coming from a Kapha congestion, there’s enough drying quality that it will clear up some of the congestion blocking focus.
Are you too demanding on yourself, under too much strain and pressure behind the computer or in your home life?
Let’s find out if we should have Centella in your herb formula. Join an Ayurveda package or book a Welcome package today.