Gotu kola- the herb of enlightenment


Gotu kola (Centella/Hydroctyle asiatica) is one of the most respected medicinal plants in Ayurvedic and Asian medicine. Not only does it have remarkable rejuvenating effects on the brain and nervous system, including improving memory and cognitive functions but it is also used to enhance the effectiveness of spiritual practices such as meditation as it promotes calm and clarity and a heightened sense of awareness.

Eastern sages and yogis throughout the centuries have attributed their long healthy lives to gotu kola and more recent spiritual seekers are just as impressed. I strongly recommend a quick internet search for ‘Gotu kola nootropic’, it will bring up a host of really interesting discussions on its uses and effectiveness as a ‘smart drug’ and an aid on the quest for a deeper understanding of life.  However, its youthfulness promoting is not just confined to the nervous system. Some have nicknamed it “Botox in a bottle” because of its obvious effects on connective tissues all around the body. Not only does it promote tissue healing but it helps build collagen and maintains a more youthful and wrinkle free appearance and is a prominent ingredient in many mainstream anti-ageing products.

I have been using gotu kola quite a lot recently – on myself and on the rest of my family to help soothe nerves and boost our attentiveness in these crazy, divisive times we are living through. I can’t speak for them just yet but for me personally I feel less caught up in the drama, less reactive and more capable of just standing back and observing the madness. It is clearing the clutter from my mind which for me is a precious gift. I can totally see why this herb has the reputation it does as a ‘brain food’ and mood elevator – this energising plant deserves its lofty and exalted praises plus a whole lot more.

Centella has many more benefits to the mind, body and spirit (aphrodisiac, joint disease, circulation promoter, immunity etc) click on our main article on Gotu kola to read more on its uses, to purchase organic dried herb or tincture and for instructions on how to take it.

  • Please note there is no caffeine or any other known stimulants in Gotu kola.

Daily Nutrient Tea for Health Maintenence

nutrient tea

I just wanted to share my favourite herbal tea mix that is packed with nutrients and can be taken on a daily basis.

The formula is 2 parts of each of oatstraw (Avena sativa), red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) and nettle leaf (Urtica dioica). A ‘part’ can be any measure you choose, a spoonful, a handful or a more specific measure such as 1 ounce/25g. I generally make my mix using 2 handfuls of each herb and store it in an airtight jar, keeping it by the kettle with the other teas and coffees etc.

I make a pot or jug for the day using 3 heaped teaspoons of the mix and adding enough boiling water (around a pint and a half) to be able to pour off a few cups throughout the day for a serious nutrient boost. Some days I simply have one cup using a heaped teaspoon of the herb mix. Some days I don’t feel like it at all.

This basic herbal tea is rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, chromium, silicon and manganese. Together these herbs act as a general tonic and purifier of the body as well as acting on the kidneys and liver, they feed and tone the nervous system and muscles, improve circulation, energize the body and mind and give an overall sense of wellbeing.

The word ‘tonic’ sums up these kinds of herbs beautifully, they have properties which gently yet powerfully move the body into a better state of health without any forceful and specific medicinal actions, which is why they work so well as a daily drink. This is my equivalent of a daily mutivitamin/mineral pill with the bonus of having not a single filler or additive and being a fraction of the cost. It tastes pretty good too and you can even forage the ingredients from the wild or grow them in the garden.

I use this tea as a base, adding in other herbs as and when I feel I need extra support. For instance, I add a teaspoon of plantain herb or cleavers herb per cup if I feel a big sluggish or toxic. If I need some extra brain power I might add some gotu kola or ginkgo. If I am feeling a bit cold I will add a pinch of chilli powder or ginger to each cup, a bit highly strung and stressed and I will add some skullcap, motherwort or chamomile for instance. The possibilities are endless and you can even make it up in a flask to take out with you.

Experiment with your own herbal mixes and feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Happy herbalising!