Gotu Kola is a staple of Indian Ayurvedic medicine, where it taken as a tea during meditation practices to increase psychic sensitivity and achieve a higher state of spiritual being. It is also a tremendous natural source of vitamins and minerals.
It has been used for thousands of years in Oriental medicine and features in many local legends and folklore. A Sri Lankan King named Aruna, living some time around 900 AD, reputedly used Gotu Kola as an aphrodisiac to keep his 50 wives happy. Another Asian herbalist, Chung Yun, apparently lived to 256 with help of herbs such as Gotu Kola and Fo Ti.
Gotu Kola, or botanical name "Centella Asiatica", is a small herbaceous annual plant native to Asia and Australia. It grows in moist environments such as ditches and low-lying wetlands.
Gotu Kota has been shown to stimulate the circulatory system and support blood vessels and capillaries. With this extra peripheral circulation and oxygen carried to the brain, it aids memory, improves learning ability and increases attention span and concentration.
Gotu Kola also carries cholesterol from the blood, reducing blood pressure and the chance of heart disease. Some take it before a long flight to reduce the chance of blood clotting and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
This improved circulation has also been found to help both the appearance and the healthy function of the legs in clinical trials. Gotu Kola can reduce cellulite by improving the function of the lymphatic system and strengthening connective tissues. It is also great to prevent or reduce further varicose veins.
Ayurvedic herbologists also believe it delays degeneration of the brain and increases lifespan, as well as promoting spiritual wellbeing and improving psychic sensitivity.
This is an excellent beauty herb - it promotes beautiful skin by increasing collagen production and carrying away toxins which cause skin blemishes. Because it helps to repair connective tissue, it is also very effective at reducing the appearance of scars.
It is used as a delicious and healthy addition to many Sri Lankan dishes and also made into a sweet drink, found in many Asian grocery stores under the name "pennywort drink". This herb is pungent and spicy, so syrup is usually added to the drink to make it more palatable.
Fresh Gotu Kola leaves can be eaten raw in salads, but the more effective form is the dried leaf. It is also available in capsule form from herbal stores and online retailers.
As always, be sure to always consult your doctor before starting a course of herbal treatment.