Common names: Gotu Kola, Indian Pennywort, Asiatic Pennywort, Spadeleaf, Brahmi Herb, Kodavan et.al
Scientific name: Centella asiatica / Hydrocotyl asiatica
Plant history & use:
Gotu Kola is a well-known medicinal plant that originates from Asia. It has long been used to alleviate e.g. stress and anxiety. It is also commonly used to cure skin conditions such as eczema, wounds and acne as it improves the elasticity of the skin. Gotu Kola is an adaptogen and therefore, like Ashwagandha, it is one of the few plants with an incredibly wide range of uses in traditional medicine. There are a variety of scientific articles to read for those interested in learning more in-depth.
For purely medicinal purposes, extracts are made from the Gotu Kola plant. But you can also use its health-promoting properties in food and drink.
In Burma for example, a salad is often made with "Pennywort" as a base together with tomato, onion & peanuts etc. You can also make tea brewed from the leaves or make a cooling drink.
In its natural environment, Gotu Kola is often found growing in water, in moist-retaining soils as well as dryer areas along roadsides and hedgerows.
It is an easy-to-grow and vigorous plant that thrives best in moisture-retaining soil in semi-shady locations. It appreciates an airy soil with a lot of organic material that retains moisture and at the same time drains off excess water effectively. Gotu Kola can also grow in drier soils.
The Gotu Kola plant spreads quickly, so if growing in a pot, a wide pot is preferred.
This plant usually does not grow taller than 30 cm but, on the other hand, it likes to spread horisontally towards widths of 1 m. For this reason, it is an effective ground cover for intercropping with other crops.
Gotu Kola is a common water plant and is well qualified for hydroponic cultivation systems.
Put seeds in an airtight plastic bag with moist sand/peat/sowing soil in the fridge for 3 weeks. Then sow in moist soil. Cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil moist.
Location: Part shade/Sun
Height: 30 cm (width 1 m)
Germination Time: 2-8 weeks
USDA Zone: 7-10