Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Focus on Herbs: Gotu Kola

Last November our three Gotu Kola plants arrived safely from Shipard's Herb Farm and I was very keen to get this herb growing well as it has wonderful medicinal properties.It is also known as Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Indian Ginseng, Horse-hoof Grass, Gotu Cola and Gota Kola.

Our three plants arrived in very good condition from the herb farm and after a couple of weeks were transplanted into larger pots.

They have been doing very well up until the last couple of weeks but I have noticed some yellow spots on the leaves lately and am experimenting with putting them in different areas of the garden to see out where they are happy. I don't want to plant them in the ground in case we get some severe frosts during winter. 

Gotu Kola thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climates so in our temperate area I will move the plants to a warmer position in winter where they will be protected from frost. I also need to remind myself to fertilise them regularly to encourage growth.

This herb is such an amazing medicinal herb that Isabell Shipard has devoted eight pages to it in her book How Can I Use Herbs In My Daily Life?. According to Anne McIntyre in another popular book on herbs, Drugs in Pots, it is renowned for its ability to enhance concentration and memory and, as it is a brain tonic, the leaves can boost brain power helping children with learning difficulties and autism. It is also said to help protect against Alzheimers and ageing.


Gotu kola aids in relieving anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression and also has a calming effect in the digestive system while its antibacterial action may contribute to its anti-ulcer properties.

By increasing the circulation to wounds and scars it can speed up healing to those areas. Inflammatory skin problems, cellulite, poor venous circulation, varicose veins and oedema issues can also be helped by using this herb.

 It also clears toxins and allays inflammation and there are many testimonials in Isabell's book from arthritis suffers who have experienced relief from their pain after taking Gotu Kola on a regular basis.

The list of benefits just goes on and on so it is a herb that is well worth growing. Isabell Shipard recommends to start off by eating 1-2 leaves (about the size of a fifty cent piece) and stems daily. The Gotu kola leaves can be dried and a tea made from 1/2 teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water and sweetened with honey or added lemon juice to improve the flavour. It can also be used externally by making an oil or a poultice.

Obviously I need more practice with my metal stamping :-)

As with taking any herbs internally do your research first especially if you are pregnant, have a diagnosed illness and are taking medication. Also make sure that you have correctly identified the plant you are wanting to use as my husband thought we had Gotu Kola growing in the garden but, as Isabell had mentioned in her book that many people get it confused with other plants, I bought the plants from her farm to make sure it was actually the real deal. 

Do you have Gotu Kola growing and how to you use it? I'd love to know and I am sure others would as well as this is such a wonderful herb.


  1. Love this Blog Site. Visually interesting and all sorts of investigating to be done.

  2. I don't have it, but I am sure you can use it for something to do with dogs, maybe it was fleas? I could be wrong, I nearly brought some at the market recently now reading your blog I am wishing that I had!

  3. I moved to Adelaide from Sydney and started planting Gotukoa in my front garden. It was growing well, but at the beginning winter the colour became light yellow and some patches on most of the leaves. Any reason for that.

  4. Mine does the same in winter but comes good when it warms up,


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