Habitat & Cultivation:
Native to SE Asia including: India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, South Africa and Madagascar (Orhan, 2012).
Has now been found in Turkey, South America and West Indies (Lokanathan, Omar, Ahmad Puzi, Saim, & Idrus, 2016) Islamic republic of Iran, Pakistan (WHO Monographs on selected medicinal plants-Volume 1, 1999), Australia and Southern USA (Chandrika & Kumara, 2015). Grows well in warmer regions of north and south hemispheres up to altitudes of 7000 ft. (Chandrika & Kumara, 2015). It prefers swampy and damp areas of fields (Lokanathan, Omar, Ahmad Puzi, Saim, & Idrus, 2016), shady places and along river beds, streams and ponds (Chandrika & Kumara, 2015). It has been found along stone walls and rocky areas at 2000ft in India and Sri Lanka (Chandrika & Kumara, 2015). ← This is an indication of it’s adaptogenic properties.
Stems & leaves
Poor memory, head trauma injuries, anxiety, mental fatigue, and irritability (Winston & Maimes, 2007). Depression, anxiety, stress, memory, and mental fatigue (Romm, 2018).
Here are additional indications:
Assist healing wounds - connective tissue repair
Reduce keloid formation or hypertrophy of scars
Accelerate healing of burns
It’s a nice adaptogen for recovering from a cesarean birth, when there is so much connective tissue and nerve tissue undergoing repair, possible birth trauma being processed, and the increased stress of recovering from surgery while also initiating lactation and dealing with sleep dep.
Centella asiatica is light, cooling, smooth, liquid, soft, mobile, subtle, dull, and clear, but not extreme in any of these energetics. All three constitutions would be supported by gotu kola, but by different qualities it possesses. For example, a pitta might be balanced by its cooling qualities while at the same time being supported by its quality of lightness. A vata might find it generally supportive but also balancing by being slightly more grounding (soft, liquid). A kapha might find its more stimulating qualities helpful, but not be too aggravated by its more balanced qualities of softness and being cooling.
Overall, gotu kola is considered balancing for all of the doshas (VKP=). It is a tonic for pitta, inhibits vata, and reduces excess kapha.
Pregnancy Safety: Category B1: “No increase in frequency of malformation or other harmful effects on the foetus from limited us in women. No evidence of increased foetal damage in animal studies” (Mills & Bone, 2005). History of use as a contraceptive agent in Bengal
Lactation Safety: Category C: “Compatible with breastfeeding” (Mills & Bone, 2005).
Contraindications: Allergy to the Apiaceae family.
I made a decoction and drank it, it was bitter but I enjoyed it. I had a boost of energy that kept me going all day. I love the natural energy it gave me.
Chandrika, U. G., & Kumara, P. P. (2015). Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): Nutritional Properties and Plausible Health Benefits. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, 76.
Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.
Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health (p.18-19). St. Louis, Mo: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Gotu Kola (Centelalla asiatica)