The herb Manduka Parni (Centella Asiatica) or gotu kola also known as Indian pennywort is a small herb which grows in tropical swampy areas. This herb is known as gotu kola in Hindi.It is an annual herb with slender, green soft stalk. The roots consist of rhizomes and root hairs. The plants are connected to each other . The leaves are round, smooth and reddish green in colour.. The flowers are small and pinkish red in colour. They occur in bunches. The plant matures in three months.
Scientists are able to determine chemical composition of Centella asiatica or gotukola contains various alkaloids, triterpenes, sterols, tannins, and glycosides. Recently three new compounds centellin, asiaticin, and centellicin were isolated from this herb.
Ayurveda Acharyas list this herb under “bitter root group”. They also appreciate its anti aging, memory boosting and fertility increasing properties.
This herb normalizes pitta and kapha.Hence used in diseases which are caused due to vitiation of kapha and pitta.
Health benefits of gotu kola:
Skin: This herb is very effective in skin diseases as it has antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. Its use is recommended in open sores and chronic wounds. Many studies have proved its wound healing properties.
Nervous system: The herb gotukola boosts memory and grasping power. It is used as brain tonic . Its benefits in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease ,anxiety and depression are also appreciated.
Circulatory system: This herb effectively helps to reduce high blood pressure and edema which arises due to increased blood pressure. It normalizes vitiation of blood due to pitta.
Respiratory system: The accumulated bronchial secretions or kapha gets easily expectorated when this herb is used in respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma.It is very useful in inflammation of vocal chords.
Urinary System: The usage of this herb helps to reduce frequency of urination. It helps in diabetes.
Rejuvenation: Regular use of this herb helps in slowing down aging process. Its anti aging properties help to rejuvenate body tissues and boosts body immunity. Lactating mothers can reap the benefits of this herb, as it increases milk secretion and also purifies it.
Apart from these benefits the herb gotu kola also acts as an antipyretic. It helps to reduce fever and normalize body temperature.
The Culinary Use of herb Gotu Kola or centella asciatica / brahmi
This herb is rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. It contains good amount of Vitamin K, minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium and Zinc. According to texts of ayurveda this herb rejuvenates body, boosts body immunity and strength. It helps to increase memory power and is a good brain tonic.
Here is an introduction to use of this herb in recipes.
Gotukola Kenda is a soup preparation which is prepared using rice, puree of gotu kola or centella asciatica, coconut milk, ginger, garlic , lemon and salt. It is once again a srilankan dish
Brahmi leaves or gotu kola leaves are used in chutney. Finely chopped gotu kola leaves, Coconut gratings, coriander leaves, salt, green chillies are used to prepare this chutney. The chutney can be relished with idli dosa etc.
In Vietnam and Thailand leaves of Brahmi or centella asciatica are used to prepare a herbal drink.
Many yogis and acharyas advice to chew two or three leaves of this herb, along with plenty of water in empty stomach. This has to be consumed in empty stomach.
Note: This herb may cause headache, rashes and giddiness when used in excess.