Common Name- Gotu kola or Indian pennywort
Botanical Name - Centella asiatica
Indian pennywort is indigenous to India. It was known to Sanskrit writers from ancient times. This plant is found throughout India both in the plains and hilly tracts up to 2000 meters. It grows abundantly in moist areas and riverbanks, thriving in shade.
Gotu Kola is an herb in the parsley family. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.
The fresh leaves have an aroma due to the presence of an oily substance called Vellarine. The dry plant yields an alkaloid hydrocotylin.
The Herb helps in restoring the normal function of the digestive system. It counteracts inflammation and It also increases the secretion and discharge of urine.
All the parts of the herb are used for therapeutic and culinary purposes.
The leaves of the Indian pennywort are considered beneficial in improving memory. The powder of the leaves is taken with milk in small doses. Studies show that Gotu Kola extract is effective in improving cognitive function.
Some studies found that the herb has a positive effect on the behavioural abnormalities with Alzheimer disease.
The leaves of the plant are effective in the early stages of the dysentery in children. Three or four leaf or a pinch of powder can be taken with cumin and sugar.
Infusion of the leaves with fenugreek is helpful in bowel complaints.
Is effective in female sterility. The Infusion should be taken in the morning and evening. However, first she should not be having menstrual pain, leucorrhoea and obesity. If any of these symptoms are present than first these symptoms should be treated.
The herb is helpful in treating elephantiasis of the scrotum and legs. The juice extracted from the fresh plant should be applied locally to the affected part. The poultice made of fresh leaves is also effective.
Gotu kola is a common household remedy for skin diseases like chronic and persistent eczema, chronic ulcers and syphilitic sores. It may improve wound healing and minimize scarring. The herb may also reduce appearance of stretch marks.
The herb is helpful in arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. A study found that giving gotu kola orally reduces joint inflammation, cartilage erosion, and bone erosion. It also has a positive effect on immune system due to its antioxidant nature.
The leaves of Gotu kola have culinary uses. They can be used for making soups, raw chutney, tea, raw juice and can be used in bread (mixed with wheat flour).
The best way to introduce it, is to take it slowly in food or in the form of tea and then increase the dose.