Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How I use herbs - Gotu Kola

Here's another herb that is growing in my garden, quite wild now, but I don't know really how to use it.  Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica).  Its also known as Spadeleaf and Indian Pennywort.  Here's how I grow it and here's what my herb books say I should do with it!

eight acres: how to grow and use gotu kola


How to grow Gotu Kola
This herb seems to like damp soil and shade.  It sends out shoots,so it spreads easily, but is not deep rooted and invasive.  This makes it easy to propagate by transplanting some shoots. I haven't seen it flower yet, apparently they are small so maybe I missed them.  Its been in my garden for a few years, since I took a clump from Pete's parent's garden.  It does die back in winter when we get a frost, but then reappears in spring.  I keep it in a pot with the mint and other herbs, as that's the easiest way for me to keep the soil damp enough.



eight acres: how to grow and use gotu kola


How to use Goto Kola
You know this is a special herb when you see that Isabel Shippard devoted nearly six pages to it in her book "How can I use herbs in daily life?".  Gotu Kola is known as a longevity herb, but more specifically it is used for:

  • Skin healing as it stimulates collagen production (good for wounds and ulcers)
  • Strengthening veins - used for varicose veins and poor circulation
  • Nerve tonic - calming, reduces anxiety, improves memory
  • Anti-inflammatory - used for rheumatism (as an infusion/tea)

With two cautions:
  • Can cause sensitivity to sun exposure
  • May reduce fertility
Gotu Kola can be eaten fresh in salads, made into an infusion or tincture from either fresh or dried leafs.  Dried leafs can be made into a paste for topical application.  Fresh or dried leaves could be used to make an oil infusion and salve.

Do you grow Gotu Kola?  How do you use it?


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3 comments:

  1. Liz I have it growing in a pot as I wasn't sure how much it would spread. I bought it from Isabel a few years ago in case I get bad arthritis pain in the future. Now and again I break off a few leaves and chew them. Last year it had already started to die back but this year it is still going strong as it is so warm.

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  2. I have a plant in my garden (a weed actually!) called pennywort. Some people say it is gota kola and others say that the two plants are different. It certainly grows well here in the tropics and most people say a couple of leaves a day are good for arthitis. I am pretty sure it is one and the same.

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  3. I've been growing gotu kola for a few quite a few years for my dad. He eats two leaves a day for arthritis, and swears it helps. When he doesn't have it he notices. I used to grow it in a pot in Brisbane, but since we moved to a frost area I grow it under my lemon tree, which I cover on frost-predicted winter nights. It doesn't do as well in winter, but it does well enough to survive. We experimented with putting a few clumps (it's easy to dig up a section as it roots along it's runners), and definitely found that shady and wet areas work best. We also harvest and wash a bunch in autumn and freeze it so he can have it when the plant is struggling.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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