Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is an outstandingly important medicinal herb that is widely used in the Orient[238] and is becoming increasingly popular in the West[254]. Its Indian name is 'Brahmi' which means 'bringing knowledge of the Supreme Reality' and it has long been used there medicinally and as an aid to meditation[238]. It is a useful tonic and cleansing herb for skin problems and digestive disorders[254]. In India it is chiefly valued as a revitalizing herb that strengthens nervous function and memory[254]. The whole plant is alterative, cardio-depressant, hypotensive, weakly sedative and tonic[240]. It is a rejuvenating diuretic herb that clears toxins, reduces inflammations and fevers, improves healing and immunity, improves the memory and has a balancing effect on the nervous system[147, 152, 238, 240]. It has been suggested that regular use of the herb can rejuvenate the nervous system and it therefore deserves attention as a possible cure for a wide range of nervous disorders including multiple sclerosis[K]. Recent research has shown that gotu kola reduces scarring, improves circulatory problems in the lower limbs and speeds the healing process[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of wounds, chronic skin conditions (including leprosy), venereal diseases, malaria, varicose veins, ulcers, nervous disorders and senility[238, 240]. Caution should be observed since excess doses cause headaches and transient unconsciousness[238]. Externally, the herb is applied to wounds, haemorrhoids and rheumatic joints[238]. The plant can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried[238]. Another report says that the dried herb quickly loses its medicinal properties and so is best used fresh[237].