Gotu Kola

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Gotu Kola

Sometimes called "food for the brain," gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a slender, creeping plant that is easy to grow in a hanging basket in a sunny window. It also tolerates low light levels and handles water so well that it can be grown in a terrarium or aquarium.

In Ayurveda, gotu kola is used to revitalize the brain and nerve cells and as a tonic to purify blood and promote healthy skin. Like neem, new research is validating many of those traditional uses  specifically related to enhancing brain activity, both improving mood and memory in a clinical trial with human patients. Other studies indicate that it facilitates the repair of burned skin and reduced arthritis pain in mice probably by regulating humoral and cellular immunity.

They came through last winter's cold weather with flying colors, even the plants that didn't make it to the "hot" part of the greenhouse.

 

      of 5 stars 

I bought one plant last winter. It arrived very fresh and well packed. I nursed it until spring in a sunny window and planted it out in some rich soil in a mostly sunny spot in zone 8 and kept it watered. Despite some suffering in the heat of the day, it prospered, to say the least. It spread like gangbusters. Before the first frost, I potted up some of it and put it in the greenhouse for insurance, but it turns out I haven't needed it; the outside gotu kola has sailed through low-20's deg F temps and still looks very good. I've been very surprised and pleased with it. I'm planning to move some to shadier locations in the yard to help it in the heat as this past summer was milder and less droughty than usual and its success in the direct sun may have been somewhat explained by those conditions. Still, very hardy, vigorous, and adaptable so far. It also roots readily in water.

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