Gotu Kola - Medical and Spiritual Uses
Gotu kola has an extensive history of medicinal use. As an anti-aging herb, it has been used for longevity (A Sinhalese proverb states "Two leaves a day keep old age away") and to increase memory (See HC 050281.362 for a pilot study on gotu kola for cognition and memory enhancement in an elderly population). As a memory and energy enhancer, it is also good for students and others who require both physical and mental stamina. Gotu kola is considered a powerful blood cleanser and has been used to treat high blood pressure, circulatory ailments, and skin diseases such as psoriasis and leprosy. It balances the hormones and can be used for menopausal symptoms. Gotu kola enhances the formation of collagen in bones, cartilage, and connective tissue, and therefore, it can be therapeutic for injuries, burns, scar tissue, and wounds. Its greatest medicinal value lies in its nerve rejuvenative abilities. It has the capacity to bring both calmness and clarity to the brain and to prevent and treat nervous system disorders. Gotu kola can also strengthen the immune system and the adrenals.
While providing a number of physical benefits, gotu kola is also considered an extremely spiritual herb in India as an aid to the knowledge of supreme reality or Brahmin. This may have to do with the fact that the herb is labeled as "sattvic" – it balances all the doshas and both hemispheres of the brain. It rejuvenates Pitta (fire), calms Vata (air), and reduces excessive Kapha (earth). In the Himalayas, yogis use gotu kola as a food for meditation.
To use for meditation, gotu kola can be drunk as a tea with honey. To rejuvenate the mind and body it can be mixed with ghee (clarified butter) – this mixture is said to revitalize the spirit. For external use on chronic skin conditions, the powder can be mixed with a little water to form a paste and applied to the skin. Gotu kola with milk can be used as a nerve tonic.
Lori Glenn, Managing Editor