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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. 


Robbyn said...

This was so interesting reading about the gotu kola because we have it growing wild next to our house, a small patch that comes back in the spring. And Green Deane of eattheweeds.com did a segment on Dollarweed as an edible weed saying its another variety of the same type plant in the pennywort family...have you ever heard this? If it's true it would more or less revolutionize our herb availability, since dollarweed is plentiful and considered a modern urban lawn pest (gotta love those herbs that are such survivors they're considered pests!) Have you had any experience with the dollarweed, since you are doing so well with the gotu kola? Here's the link: http://www.eattheweeds.com/a-pennywort-for-your-thoughts-2/

Hill Country Herbalist said...

Dollar weed is edible and I've heard of people using the fresher newest leaves in sandwiches, salads and the like. I've not eaten any though- doesn't grow on my property otherwise I might have by now, lol. Be careful where it comes from to ensure it hadn't been treated with pesticides. It looks a bit like gotu kola but the leaves are really quite different in shape.

Robbyn said...

Do you know if they have similar benefits and properties? I realize the leaves are a different shape, as I have both growing here...they are both centellas, so just wondering :)

Hill Country Herbalist said...

I did find this though, Dollar Weed: This lawn weed is an ideal substitute for curly parsley in your favorite recipes. It is quite nutritious, containing magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, cop- per, sulfur and vitamins A, B1 and C. When harvesting dollar weed, select the young, tender leaves and avoid the tougher, mature leaves. You can also use the dollar weed flower in salads, or as a garnish.

Hill Country Herbalist said...

(cont) Gotu Kola is also nutritious and a source of Magnesium, Vitamin K,calcium,Vtamin B, saponin glycosides, and sodium. I mostly study herbs for their benefits when applied on the skin so I grow gotu kola for its skin rejuvenating properties. I make a scar away serum that I plan on improving with an infusion of this oil.
Hope this helps, HCH

Paulo Dias said...

helo Hill , i like to visit your blog, very interesting how many natural produts, in my island we have a lot of plants, then the people ignor them valeus
thank you for your postings and information
by Paulo Dias