• Botanical Name: Centella asiatica
Sanskrit Name:Mandookparni, Saraswati
Common Name:Indian Pennywort, Gotu kola
Latin Name:Centella Asiatica Urban
|Medicinal Properties:The leaves are used in Ayurvedic preparations. Mandookaparni is used as a Medhya Rasayana (Brain tonic). Ayurveda uses it for skin and mental conditions. In many parts of India, it is used as a substitute for Brahmi (Bacopa monnjera). Nootropic (nourishment effects on nervous system) and immunomodulatory activities are observed and established through various clinical researches. When compared this with Brahmi, it showed similar action. It is also used for cardiac care, cough expectoration, polyurea and helps to improve lactation in.|
Effect on Dosha:Balances Kapha and Pitta
It has been found to help reduce gastric ulcers in rats, and has shown to have improved their cognitive processes (in different laboratory trials). There is hope that it can be used to help Alzheimer’s patients and to combat the effects of senility.
Traditionally it has been used in India and Pakistan as a cure all and modern medical research has so far supported these ancient uses although more trials are needed on humans before the researchers will say categorically that Centella asiatica is very good for us in lots of ways. They agree that it heals wounds effectively, and can improve blood circulation and help those with varicose veins. As it promotes blood circulation and strengthens veins, it is good for sexual disorders in both sexes, especially erectile dysfunctions in men.
It can help decrease anxiety, stress and fatigue and is good for scleroderma, improving finger movements, joint pain and skin hardening. As it has a mild sedative effect it is good to cure insomnia, although your dreams may have more clarity. It is sometimes used as an aid to meditation, with the leaves burned as incense, as it clears the mind and gives mental clarity. It has been said that it helps in past lives recollection. It has the effect of balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Gotu Kola is mainly used in the West (at the moment) for its cutaneous anti-inflammatory properties as it can help in rheumatism.
In China it is reputed to promote longevity and the example often given of this is that of Li Ching Yun, a legendary healer who lived until he was 256 years old, presumably retaining all his faculties.
It has anti-aging properties for the skin and tightens older skin, helping to prevent wrinkling and can be used in creams to get rid of acne blemishes. In this respect it is rather like aloe vera.
If you are pregnant, or taking the contraceptive pill, or oestrogen replacement treatment, do not use gotu kola internally.
Li Ching-Yuen, a Tai Chi Chuan Master, was rumoured to have lived for a staggering 256 years because of his daily use of Pennywort. Sri Lankan King Aruna was said to have given Pennywort the credit for giving him enough stamina to satisfy all 50 women belonging to his harem during the 10th century.
This wonder herb is used to treat venereal diseases, skin impurities, rheumatism, high blood pressure, hepatitis, varicose veins, skin ulcers, minor burns, fatigue and stress. Fresh leaves have been known to be used in treating dysentery, asthma, stomach disorders and bronchitis. Juice extracted from the leaves is highly beneficial in promoting the purification of the blood. It helps improve circulation and the rebuilding of connective tissue, assisting in the prevention of premature ageing. Pennywort can be used for eczema and other skin-related ailments, including skin ulcers. It is also able to lower blood sugar levels.
Pennywort contains a number of minerals and vitamins, among them Vitamin K, calcium, sodium, Vitamin B-Complex, magnesium, zinc and manganese. It is also able to help protect the body from toxins. This herb is also able to greatly benefit the central nervous system, making it effective in the treatment of ADD, senility, epilepsy, strokes and nervous system disorders. Those suffering from leg cramps and phlebitis can benefit from using this herb. It is also effective in reducing fevers.
Place Pennywort leaves in a blender and add enough water to cover them. Add honey, stevia or xylitol to sweeten them. Puree until the leaves are completely mushy. Strain out any leafy sludge that remains with a fine-mesh strainer or colander. Serve it poured over ice. Lemon juice may also be added to improve the taste.
To make tea using Pennywort leaves, pour boiling water over them and steep for approximately five minutes. If using fresh leaves, use around a quarter cup for 1 cup of tea. If you are using dried leaves, use approximately two teaspoons of the dried leaves.
It is important to note that the safety of this herb has not yet been established for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. photos