What Is Gotu Kola (or Brahmi), & How Can It Promote Mental Clarity & Focus?
Gotu kola—sometimes referred to as brahmi, Centella asiatica and Indian pennywort—is a widely used Ayurvedic herb renowned for its benefits for the mind. Known as “the herb of enlightenment,” gotu kola is a powerful herb that is often used as a supplement to promote mental focus, concentration and clarity. But the benefits of this herb are not only mental—gotu kola is also known to help reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate joint pain, soothe the nervous system and promote radiant hair and skin.
In Ayurvedic tradition, gotu kola is tridoshic, which means that all doshas can effectively reap its many benefits. It’s especially helpful for Pittas, though it may risk exacerbating Vata. It is also believed to strengthen agni, our digestive fire that helps us regulate and process what we let into our bodies; a strong agni is crucial for maintaining one’s overall health.
Below, we break down some of the central benefits of gotu kola alongside ways to incorporate this brain-boosting superstar into your routine. (Note: You should only be taking gotu kola for up to 6 weeks at a time. Consult a medical practitioner beforehand to ensure it’s compatible with your lifestyle.)
Benefits of Gotu Kola
Boosts focus & cognitive function
One of gotu kola’s most revered benefits is its ability to boost cognitive function and mental clarity. Thought to resemble a cerebellum in shape, it has been used for thousands of years to improve concentration, memory and intellect. Research also supports this ancient Ayurvedic wisdom: as several studies have shown, gotu kola sharpens cognition and memory. It is thus a powerful tool for combating brain fog and promoting overall mental and emotional well-being.
Alleviates joint pain
In Ayurvedic tradition, it is believed that gotu kola helps to help drain the body of ama, or toxins, that can accumulate in the joints and contribute to pain and discomfort. In addition, gotu kola’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties enable it to help treat conditions like arthritis. As one study showed, gotu kola may also help to reduce joint inflammation and cartilage and bone erosion.
Promotes radiant skin & hair
Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also believed that gotu kola effectively soothes and cleanses the skin and scalp, leading to glowy and hydrated skin and hair. In addition, gotu kola also boosts circulation, which may in turn help foster a more radiant complexion.
Reduces stress & anxiety
As several studies have shown, gotu kola also has a powerfully calming effect on the nerves, helping it to alleviate stress and anxiety. Especially since gotu kola is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body react and adapt to internal and external stressors, it provides potent mental and emotional relief.
Some research indicates that gotu kola may also help alleviate insomnia, which can often accompany feelings of stress, anxiety and mental overwork. It can thus serve as a natural remedy for a more relaxed mind and better sleep.
Reduces stretch marks
Research has shown that the terpenoids found in gotu kola may also enable it to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and prevent future marks from forming by increasing collagen production.
How to Take Gotu KolaThere are many ways to incorporate gotu kola into your routine. One is by consuming it as a powder, which can be mixed with water or milk. You can also try using a liquid extract for more fast-acting relief, both mentally and physically. In addition, you can eat fresh gotu kola leaves, or incorporate them into salads or teas. For convenient daily consumption, we also have our very own UMA Brilliant Brain Herbal Supplement, designed to boost cognitive function, combat the development of neurological disorders and promote better sleep.