Long before the advent of modern medicine, ancient cultures relied on herbs and foods to heal the body and keep it healthy and free of illness and disease. In ancient India, one of the top herbs used by traditional Ayurvedic doctors and healers was Gotu Kola. In fact, this herb was so important in the Ayurvedic system of medicine that it became known as brahmi in Sanskrit, which roughly translates to “divine empowerment” and speaks to the reverence with which it is held in Hindu culture.
And as is so often the case with traditional herbal medicines, researchers studying the herb have indeed found that it has truly remarkable medicinal properties that substantiate the ancient claims of its healing powers. In the case of Gotu Kola, the herb is considered a supreme mental adaptogen, or herb that works to bring the mind back into balance and harmony. In fact, Gotu Kola does this so well that it is has been shown in some recent groundbreaking research to do the following:
Stimulate Neural Regeneration
One study found that an alcohol extract of Gotu Kola had a measurably positive effect on neurite outgrowth in human brain cells. It was found that many different compounds in Gotu Kola extracts stimulated neurite branching and outgrowth from human brain cells, demonstrating that there are several active parts of the Gotu Kola plant promoting growth and rejuvenation. This effect was also seen in rats: researchers report that when the alcohol extract of Gotu Kola was added to the drinking water of old rats, “(they) demonstrated more functional recovery and increased axonal regeneration (of neurites and dendrites), larger calibers of axons and greater numbers of myelinated (sheath-covered) axons.” As such, the researchers firmly concluded that alcohol extracts of Gotu kola play an important role in brain regeneration and neuron health.
In two different studies, one on children and one on rats, regularly administered extracts of Gotu Kola were shown to produce measurable increases in intelligence. In the group of children, intelligence tests given before and after a Gotu Kola regimen showed marked improvement in the children’s cooperation, memory, concentration, attention, vocabulary, and overall adjustment. In the study with rats, the retention of learned behavior in the rats treated with Gotu Kola was three to 60 times better than that in control animals not treated with Gotu Kola.
 M.V.R. Appa Rao, et. al, The Effect of Mandookaparni (Centella Asiatica) on the General Mental Ability (Medhya) of Mentally Retarded Children, Journal of Indian Medicine (August 25, 1973), p.9-12.
Balance Communication Between Brain Hemispheres
By increasing oxygen levels in brain cells, as well as circulation to the brain in general, Gotu Kola has a marked positive improvement on general brain function including trans-hemispheric communication and harmonization of brainwave patterns. For this reason it has been traditionally used by meditators and has long been sought as a brain tonic and mental awareness promoting herb.
When all is said and done, there is no question that the research into this plant demonstrates that for all things relating to the mind and mental functioning it is one of the world’s most beneficial plants. This, coupled with the fact that the herb has a multi-thousand year history of use for the same purposes makes Gotu Kola a must for anyone looking for greater intelligence, memory, brain function, and overall health and wellbeing.