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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gotu Kola: Bringing People and the Message of the Power of Plants Together

Back in May of last year, I posted an entry sharing the benefits of our beloved Gotu Kola. I am so drawn to this herb and have been nurturing this specimen for nearly three years. These past few years, I've learned about what it likes, how it tastes, when it blooms and that it thrives with moist roots, dry leaves and the Texas heat. It will freeze, so best to keep it potted and protected from the cold. (Link to my May post for more background information on Gotu Kola) http://www.hillcountryherbalist.com/2011/05/gotu-kola.html

It is a trailing plant and an excellent ground cover.  Native to India, it is prolific and enjoyed in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  We enjoy eating a leaf or two a day for brain health.  I'm also getting ready to infuse the leaves to make an oil infusion for salves and cremes blended specifically for irritated inflamed and hived skin.  So, as you can see - herbhusband and I love our Gotu Kola plant. 

So last week I'm catching up on emails and messages and to my surprise, I received communication from the office of Dr. Lindsey Duncan, founder and CEO of Genesis Today, Inc, as well as a  Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Nutritionist, & maker of superfruit juices and supplements.  The request was for a Gotu Kola plant needed within a day or two to be flown to New York to be with him while he discussed the benefits of superfruits and herbs with the co-hosts of The View. 

I didn't exactly know if I could be of help, but I extended what I could since I enjoy helping others with similar missions in health and wellness through the power of plants.  So, I agreed to help by dividing a bit of our Gotu Kola -  It had been weighing heavily on my mind that the plant had outgrown its pot and I needed to pot up our Gotu Kola and make a few divisions anyway. 
Boy, did this request come at the right time!  When I removed the pot from the plant I discovered ambitious runners with no where to go but round and round.  You can see how this plant will spread so readily with its runners (shown in this photo- white runners circling the upper portion of the plant). 

I carefully separated the runners and made a division.  Herbhusband was so helpful in ensuring the division was well adjusted in its new little pot.

Then, we were off to meet Ms. Angela Hein, Sr. Director of Public Relations at a nearby Whole Foods.  She greeted us with a bag of lovely of superfruit juices (Acai, Goji, Noni & Mangosteen as well as chewable vitamins, supplements and poweders).  It was so fun to chat about how funny our meeting really was.  It's like our little Gotu Kola plant was bringing people together and contributing to sharing the meaning and power of herbs.  Whether Gotu Kola is ingested as a super food or applied to the skin to help it feel better - it is win/win. 
(Here's a picture of the Gotu Kola division on its way to meet up with Angela).

(Here's a picture of the Gotu Kola division a couple days later on the set of The View held by co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck).  Life is so fun sometimes.  I just smile when I see this little guy in her arms next to Dr. Lindsey Duncan, Whoopie, and Sherri Shepherd. Gotu Kola made the big time, lol!

I'll leave you with this neat and oh so good idea for herbal chicken soup, garnished and enhanced by our very own Gotu Kola leaves:
 Here in Central Texas, many of us get adversely affected by pollinating Cedar trees (otherwise known as Cedar Fever).  Feeling a bit run down this time of year is a norm for us so I headed out to the herb garden and picked as many herbs I had growing in and out of the greenhouse and garlic, onion, shiitake mushrooms, celery, and dandelion greens I purchased from the store.  

I started with a bit of organic chicken and added rosemary and thyme bundles, mustard greens, joy choy, cilantro, celery, garlic, onion, dandelion greens, shiitake mushrooms, and seasonings.  I splashed in a dash or two of apple cider vinegar to bring out the best in all the herbs and flavors.  I let simmer and at the very end added yarrow.  I garnished the soup with a bit more Yarrow and Gotu Kola leaves and a squeeze of Meyer lemon from the greenhouse.  Amazing flavors and amazing benefits to the mind, body and spirit.  A little suggestion on how to use our friend Gotu Kola.  Hope you are able to enjoy this lovely herb in your home and garden, as well.