The Ancient Herb of Enlightenment (and Premium Nootropic)
Plus Great for Building Collagen for Skin and Joint Health
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is usually called Brahmi in Ayuveda, a name which it shares with the herb Bacopa.
Gotu Kola is a low growing creeping plant that thrives in moist, swampy areas. It is commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa and other subtropical and tropical areas.
As it’s leaves are about the size of an old british penny it picked up the name of Indian Pennywort, Marsh Penny and Water Penny.
Some claim the fan-shaped leaves look like the two hemispheres of the brain, which according to the Doctrine of Signatures, is indicative of its powerful medicinal effects on the brain.*
It is used by both the Chinese and Ayurvedic medical systems. The Chinese traditionally viewed it as being a supreme shen builder and tended to use it more for it’s longevity capabilities. Science might explain this by highlighting Gotu Kola’s collagen promoting actions, as adequate collagen throughout the body is so important to graceful aging. *
A Sri Lankan legend claims that elephants live exceptionally long lives because they eat gotu kola. Watching animals consume Gotu Kola may be how humans learned to consume this herb like so many others.
The yogis’, gurus’ and meditators’ of India used it (and still do) to “enhance reality”. It is a Sattva tonic herb. The observations of Ayurvedic healers was that three gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas) affected the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of the human mind. Through them they create harmony or disharmony in life.*
Sattva is the most desirable of the three as it, “…is responsible for creation. Inside our own self, it gives us the ability to visualize well, think right, do good and act in accordance with the laws of nature.”
Gotu Kola is well known for it’s memory enhancing effects these days but traditionally, this herb was used to promote the spiritual side of life.
It does this by working on the Crown Chakra.
The Crown Chakra is found at the top of the head or slightly above it. It connects us to the rest of the universe and in fact, draws energy from it and distributes it to the rest of the chakra system. It’s associated with higher forms of consciousness, joy, wisdom and the sacred.*
Another important meditative area is the pineal gland (third eye), where gotu kola is claimed to be able to stimulate the pineal glands hormone production. We note this claim though as yet we have not been able to find research to support this claim.*
However, one study showed that regular Gotu Kola ingestion resulted in increased calmness. They figured this out by measuring the acoustic-startle response of healthy subjects (rats). The control group had significantly less reaction to loud audio stimuli. A important aspect of meditation is being able to get into and maintain a relaxed state without distraction.(1)*
Another study of 28 healthy elders found in a double-blind placebo controlled trail that those given 750 mg over the course of 2 months showed precipitous improvement in age-related mental faculties and especially in overall contentment with life.(2)*
For those feeling disconnected, this herb can help you make that connection again. Even without meditation, you may become more connected with the living world around you through this herb. For a culture that for the most part sees itself as somehow separate from the natural world now, this herb can be used to RECONNECT and become more aware of just how connected we are.*
This isn’t hippy-dippy talk either as many studies have shown that mood-enhancement goes hand-in-hand with a sense of connection in life.*
Gotu Kola is brain food, plain and simple. In Ayurveda it was used as a brain tonic.
Both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have ‘tonifying’ herbs, that is, herbs that have a tonic effect on particular organs. The term ‘tonic’ implies a herb or formula that uses a multifaceted approach to making an organ healthier and work better, toning the organ much as working out will tone muscles, tendons and ligaments. Most tend to be the organs in our torso so it is rare indeed to have a herb that works to produce such a well-rounded, higher functioning brain.
These are just some of the effects found in the scientific literature; “C. asiatica (gotu kola) has been reported to have a comprehensive neuroprotection by different modes of action such as enzyme inhibition, prevention of amyloid plaque formation in Alzheimer’s disease, dopamine neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease, and decreasing oxidative stress. Therefore, C. asiatica could be suggested to be a desired phytopharmaceutical with neuroprotective effect emerged from traditional medicine.”(3)*
Much of the studies done on Centella asiatica have focused on the major triterpene saponosidesthe plant possesses. These include:
- Asiatic acid
- Madecassic acid
- Madasiatic acid
One study performed on 60 elderly persons with mild cognitive deficiency and a average age of 65 found that gota kola extract administered at 500 mg twice a day for 6 months led to significant mental improvement.(3)*
This helps highlight the fact that just like bacopa, long-term consistent use is the best way to get the tonifying effects of gotu kola. All studies where done with months as a timeframe to get statistically significantly results. This means it is not advisable to expect anything necessarily to happen in anything less then a couple months. If it does, then you may be more in tune with your body then others. Not a bad thing at all!
This herb doesn’t just work on the brain but helps to rebuild neural pathways throughout the nervous system. The nervous system is so important to the symbiotic health of the human organism. Where it directs, the body follows. This can have a tremendous cascade effect as a body in sync means more energy because of more efficient use of resources and less over all stress. Lower stress results in even more cascading effects in the body.*
Gotu kola could be said to be very much like tuning up a car. Suddenly everything seems to just work better afterwards.
Combining gotu kola with bacopa will only increase the mental benefits. They seem to work exceptionally well together.
Gotu kola has major collagen building properties. Collagen is hugely important to a healthy body. Lack of collagen in the diet and/or poor ability to build the different types of collagen the body requires results in many age-associated issues, especially in regards to physical looks.*
This herb has been used for centuries as a dermatological agent to treat minor wounds, scars and skin conditions.(6)*
Centella asiatica has been found to, “promote fibroblast proliferation and increasing the synthesis of collagen and intracellular fibronectin content and also improvement of the tensile strength of newly formed skin as well as inhibiting the inflammatory phase of hypertrophic scars and keloids.(4)*”
Collagen is the scaffolding of the body, holding everything together. Not only does Gotu Kola work on improving the look, feel and strength of our intergumentary (skin) system but supports the vary structures of the organs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, myofacisa and cardiovascular plumbing.
It does this in a couple ways…
“Previous independent studies have showed that both asiaticoside and madecassoside could facilitate burn wound healing possibly via enhancing collagen I synthesis [13–15]. On the other hand, current studies on the two aglycones asiatic acid and madecassic acid focus on their proapoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects [16–19]. Hence, our group postulated that madecassoside, administered orally, might exert anti-inflammatory effects in collagen II-induced arthritis mice through its intestinal metabolic product madecassic acid but not itself… ” (5)*
Our Gotu Kola
Our gotu kola comes from the same supplier that produces our shilajit and bacopa. If you have had either of those, then you know this stuff will be quality!
It is Certified Organic.
Extraction is done by Supercritical CO2 and Hydroethanol (duel extract). Supercritical CO2 is an important commercial and industrial solvent due to its low toxicity and environmental impact. The relatively low temperature of the process and the stability of CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage or denaturing.
This is also a Full-Spectrum Extract meaning it is not standardized to anything in particular and has the natural quantities of the many different active components found in the plant. It also means it contains Polar, Non Polar and Mid Polar active compounds for the best bioavailability and bio-adaptability.
This is very good for an herb like this as being somewhat more well studied then other herbs, a lot of its components have been found to do something or another in the body. We do not want to emphasize any particular component over that of others and lose the synergistic effect of them in the body.
A bag comes in at 60 grams (2.12 oz) and we suggest a dose of 700 mg (1/4 tsp) a day. Many of the studies are done between a dose of 500 mg up to 1200 mg. If you so desire, increase the dose upward.
Consistency is very important for this herb if you wish to experience the best possible results, especially for the mental effects. Daily consumption is highly advised.
Taking first thing in the morning along with other nootropic herbs works really well. Combine it with Bacopa, Lion’s Mane and even Rhodiola for an amplified mind-state. Add coffee (or caffeinated tea) and really get stuff done.