by Karena Harmon, certified herbalist, nutritionist
Gotu Kola, Brahmi, Indian Pennywort
Fresh or dry leaves
Cool, Bitter, slightly sweet
Gotu kola is an ayurvedic herb (traditional herb in India) that has been widely used for thousands of years. The green leafy fan shaped leaves are said to be consumed by elephants giving them a long intelligent life. A common saying in China is "eat two leaves a day and keep old age away." This is an herb commonly used for nourishing the brain while combating memory loss. For this reason, it is often combined with Ginkgo biloba.
Another common name for Gotu kola is Brahmi or sometimes Brahma meaning "supreme reality". It is considered the most spiritual of all herbs in India with yogis traditionally drinking or eating it to improve meditation and open the crown chakra. It is also said to balance both hemispheres of the brain as well as the ayurvedic doshas.
This diverse herb is also a fabulous nervine herb meaning it strengthens and calms the nerves. Its blood purifying capabilities make it a very beneficial herb for wounds and skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and even leprosy. The circulatory benefits can also help with venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
May aggravate itching, large doses can cause headaches.
Preparations & Applications
Best as an infused tea, tincture, capsule, fresh edible, or medicated ghee (clarified butter). Externally used as a poultice or wash.
Clari — Tea
2 parts Gotu kola
2 parts Tulsi
1/2 part Hibiscus
1/4 part Rosemary
Pinch of Stevia for a bit of sweetness
Brahmi Infused Coconut Oil
In a double boiler on low melt 2 parts Coconut oil and add 1 part Brahmi powder. Infuse on a very low heat for a few hours then strain out powder and store in tightly closed jar (don't put the lid on until it's cool). This infused oil can be applied to the head to calm the mind, promote sleep, relieve headaches and can help to prevent hair loss. It can also be applied to help relieve eczema and herpes.
Yoga of Herbs by Dr. Vasant Lad and Dr. David Frawley
The complete Herbal Tutor by Anne McIntyre