Friday, August 17, 2012

gotukola -brahmi booti(centella asiatica)

Scientific classification
Kingdom            :     Plantae
(unranked)          :    Angiosperms
(unranked)          :    Eudicots
(unranked)          :    Asterids
Order                 :    Apiales
Family                :    Mackinlayaceae
Genus                 :   Centella
Species               :   C. asiatica
Binomial name    :   Centella asiatica (L.) Urban
Synonyms           :   Hydrocotyle asiatica L.

Gotukola  or Brahmi is a herb and used as  medicine since  long  time in different countries .

What are  Herbs ?
Herbs are plants or parts of plants. We use them every day without even knowing it-like when we eat peppermint candy, drink ginger ale or a cup of tea. Some herbs are used in cooking (like the oregano on a pizza) and  are used in medicine.

In China people have been using herbs to treat illness for thousands of years. In some countries, like  the United States, people are just beginning to learn how helpful herbs can be.

Many people like to use herbs because they are milder and have fewer side effects than conventional medicine. Because they can be so mild, herbs sometimes take longer to work than conventional drugs, but some people prefer taking something made in nature better than something made in a laboratory.

It's important to remember that even though herbs are natural, they can have strong effects on the human body and need to be used with care.

What are Essential Nutrients?

The body requires 45+ nutrients from the diet to maintain health.

These essential nutrients are divided into six categories: protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Essential nutrients are substances that must be obtained from food or supplemental sources and are used by the body for growth, maintenance, or repair of tissues.

Even marginal deficiencies of one or more nutrients can interfere with health and contribute to the development of disease.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic substances that must be supplied by the diet in very small amounts to promote growth, maintenance, and repair of the body.

13 essential vitamins
are needed for many body processes, such as making and maintaining healthy red blood cells, hormones, nervous system function, chemicals, genetic material, and all the cells and tissues of the body.

Vitamins do not supply energy or calories, but many vitamins help convert calorie-containing substances in food, such as carbohydrate, protein, and fat, into usable energy for the body.

Deficiency symptoms develop if the diet supplies inadequate amounts of one or more vitamins. For example, too little vitamin A results in skin and eye disorders.

Gotu kola

Trisanthus cochinchinensis Lour.Centella asiatica, commonly centella (Sinhala: gotu kola in Sinhala, Mandukaparni in Sanskrit, Tamil: vallarai ), is a small, herbaceous, annual plant of the family Mackinlayaceae or subfamily Mackinlayoideae of family Apiaceae, and is native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional African medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. Botanical synonyms include Hydrocotyle asiatica L. and Trisanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.).


Centella asiatica grows in tropical swampy areas. The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.

The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit. The crop matures in three months, and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.

How to Grow Gotu Kola: Growing Conditions

Gotu kola is a bog plant that grows best near or in water.

Gotu kola is a ground hugging herb that grows in India, Pakistan, parts of Africa, Turkey and is native to the wetlands of Asia. It has been a topic of conversation for its medicinal properties and has been a featured herb in Ayurvedic medicine and Asiatic tonics. It spreads via runners and has small spatular leaves with tiny pink to white flowers. Asiatic coinwort, as it is also known, is hardy to USDA zones 7 to 11 (lows of 0 F) and thrives in full sun but can grow in the shade. It can become an invasive weed when grown in damp areas and it colonizes moist lawns.

Things to be  Needed

Peat moss
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1. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the plant's root ball. Chose a site near water or in a boggy area of the yard with poor drainage. Line the hole with an inch of peat moss and 2 inches of compost. The peat will help hold the moisture in the soil and the compost furnishes the rich wetland soil that the plant will need to thrive.

2. Backfill half the soil you removed from the hole. Remove the plant from the nursery container and fan out the roots gently. Flood the hole with water until it contains 3 to 4 inches of water. Press the roots of the plant into the muddy soil and then cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil or just enough to cover the roots.

3. Press the soil around the area firmly leaving a large depression. Disperse the rest of the soil from the hole elsewhere.

4. Water the depression again until it is flooded with water. You will have to flood it daily in the summer to keep the soil soggy. Gotu kola can even be grown in water with its leaves spread out and floating. Do not let the area get dry or the plant will die back, although it will probably regrow if re-hydrated quickly.

5. Propagate the plant by cuttings set in damp rich soil or by planting a seed in moist compost. You can collect seeds from the flowers in the summer and save them in a dry tightly sealed container. There are several look-a-like plants so be certain you have the correct one before you attempt any self-healing teas and obtain your doctor's advice.


Centella grows along ditches and in low, wet areas. In Indian and Southeast Asian centella, the plant frequently suffers from high levels of bacterial contamination, possibly from having been harvested from sewage ditches. Because the plant is aquatic, it is especially sensitive to pollutants in the water, which are easily incorporated into the plant.

Culinary use

Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is called gotu kola. In Sinhalese, gotu is translated as "conical shape" and kola as "leaf". It is most often prepared as malluma , a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes, such as dal, and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola, malluma almost always contains grated coconut, and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder, turmeric powder and lime (or lemon) juice. A variation of the nutritious porridge known as kola kenda is also made with gotu kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Kola Kenda is made with very well-boiled red rice (with extra liquid), coconut milk and gotu kola, which is pureed. The porridge is accompanied with jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in sweet "pennywort" drinks.

In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, and is also mixed into asinan in Bogor.

In Vietnam and Thailand, this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls. In Bangkok, vendors in the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market sell it alongside coconut, roselle, crysanthemum, orange and other health drinks.

In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

It is one of the constituents of the Indian summer drink thandaayyee.

Medicinal effects

Centella is a mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiulcerogenic, anxiolytic, nervine and vulnerary, and can act as a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, and a diuretic.

Centella asiatica may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, and may be a promising anxiolytic agent in the future.

In Thailand, tisanes of the leaves are used as an afternoon stimulant. A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores.

Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1966 that a subspecies "Hydrocotyle asiatica minor" allegedly from Sri Lanka also called fo ti tieng, contained a longevity factor called 'youth Vitamin X' said to be 'a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands' and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems. However according to medicinal herbalists , it appears that there is no such subspecies and no Vitamin X is known to exist.

Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica's ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with Centella asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.

The isolated steroids from the plant also have been used to treat leprosy. In addition, preliminary evidence suggests that it may have nootropic effects. Centella asiatica is used to revitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration, and combat aging. Centella asiatica also has antioxidant properties. It works for venous insufficiency. It is used in Thailand for opium detoxification.

Followers of Sri Sri Thakur Anukulchandra, commonly known as Satsangees, all over the world take one or two fresh leaves with plenty of water in the morning after morning rituals. This is prescribed by Sri Sri Thakur himself.

'Many reports show the medicinal properties of C. asiatica extract in a wide range of disease conditions, such as diabetic microangiopathy, edema, venous hypertension, and venous insufficiency . The role of C. asiatica extract in the treatment of memory enhancement and other neurodegenerative disorders is also well documented. The first report concerning the antitumor property ofC. asiatica extract was on its growth inhibitory effects on the development of solid and ascites tumors, which lead to increased life span of tumor-bearing mice. The authors also suggested the extract directly impeded the DNA synthesis.

The Benefits of Gotu Kola

What is Gotu Kola?

A member of the parsley family, gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India) to heal skin conditions such as psoriasis, fight mental fatigue, and treat asthma, fever, and stomach ulcers.

Now sold as an herbal supplement, gotu kola is marketed as a memory-booster and natural remedy for anxiety and depression.

Gotu Kola's Health Benefits

Gotu kola has yet to be extensively researched, but a few studies have shown that the herb may help with these health problems:

1) Anxiety

Triterpenoids (a group of compounds found in gotu kola) may ease anxiety, according to a 2000 study. In an experiment involving 40 healthy adults, scientists discovered that those taking gotu kola were less likely to be startled by new noises. Since the "acoustic startle response" may be a marker of anxiety, the study's authors suggest that gotu kola could decrease anxiety symptoms.

2) Mood Disorders

In another small study, 28 older adults took gotu kola at various doses (250, 500, and 750 mg) once daily for two months. Results revealed that study members on the highest dose had improvements in mood, as well as memory and cognitive function.

3) Varicose Veins

A number of small studies indicate that gotu kola may stimulate circulation and help fight varicose veins and venous insufficiency (a condition that impairs flow of blood through the veins).

Taking Gotu Kola Extract

Available in most health food stores and shops that specialize in herbal remedies, gotu kola can be taken in capsule, tincture, or tea form. Ointments containing gotu kola are used to treat wounds and other skin problems.

If you're considering using gotu kola for longer than six weeks, make sure to consult with your doctor.

Gotu Kola Side Effects

Although side effects are rare, some people taking gotu kola may experience upset stomach, headache, and drowsiness. Because gotu kola can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, it's important to limit your sun exposure and use sunscreen while taking it.

Medical experts advise against using gotu kola if you have a history of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell skin cancer, or melanoma. People with liver disease should also avoid gotu kola.

Supplement Extract

An extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Extracts may be sold as tinctures or in powder form. The aromatic principles of many spices, nuts, herbs, fruits, etc., and some flowers, are marketed as extracts, among the best known of true extracts being almond, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, pistachio, rose, spearmint, vanilla, violet, and wintergreen etc .

Other names

Other common names include:
Brahmi booti - Hindi
chipped big bowl- Chinese
Vallaarai - Tamil
Thankuni pata
Gotu kola (Sri Lanka)
Asiatic pennywort
Indian pennywort
Luei gong gen( literally "thunder god's root", Chinese)
Takip-kohol - Filipino
Manduki, divya, maha aushadhi - Ayurveda
Mying Khwar (Myanmar )
Bai bua bok (Thai)
Brahmi (shared with Bacopa monnieri)
Rau má (mother vegetable) - Vietnamese
Manimuni - Assamese
Saraswathi plant - Telugu
Ondelaga - Kannada
Ekpanni - Konkani
Kudakan or kudangal - Mayalam
Yahong yahong (Philippine)

In India, it is popularly known by a variety of names: bemgsag, brahma manduki, brahmanduki, brahmi, ondelaga or ekpanni (south India, west India), sarswathi aku (Andhra Pradesh), gotu kola, khulakhudi, mandukparni, mandookaparni, or thankuni (Bengal), depending on region. North Bacopa monnieri is the more widely known Brahmi; both have some common therapeutic properties in Vedic texts and are used for improving memory. C. asiatica is called brahmi particularly in north India, although that may be a case of mistaken identity introduced during the 16th century, when brahmi was confused with mandukaparni, a name for C. asiatica.

What is gotu kola?

Gotu Kola consists of the dried above-ground parts of Centella asiatica (L.) Urban. (syn. Hydrocotyle asiatica L.) . Chemical constituents include saponin glycosides, notably asiaticoside, madecassoside, brahmoside, and brahmissoside. The concentration of triterpenes in gotu kola can vary between 1.1% and 8%, with most samples yeilding a concentration between 2.2% and 3.4%. Extracts (standardized to asiaticosides) contain concentrations of asiatic acid 29% to 30%, madecassic acid 29% to 30%, asiaticoside 40%, and madecassoside 1% to 2%.

How much gotu kola do I need?

Average dose: 0.5g. to 1g. three times daily. Powder: 0.5g. to 1.5g. Liquid extract: 1:1 dose: 2ml. to 4ml. (0.5 tsp. to 1tsp.). Standardized extracts: 60mg. to 120mg. daily.

Probably the earliest study of mandookaparni as medya rasayana (improving the mental ability) was carried out at the Dr. A. Lakshmipathy Research Centre

FolkloreGotu kola is a minor feature in the longevity tradition of the T'ai chi ch'uan master Li Ching-Yuen. He purportedly lived to be 197 or 256, due in part to his usage of traditional Chinese herbs, including gotu kola.