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Health Benefits of Gotu Kola (brahmi) or Vallarai

Gotu Kola comprises a rich amount of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The principal bio-active chemical constituent of gotu kola is saponin. It is believed that this herb improves brain function and the mental ability as well as improves memory and learning performance. The herb heals chronic wounds, varicose vein, stomach ulcers, skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis or leprosy, dreaded viral infections i.e. hepatitis and syphilis.

Asiatic pennywort, Gotu Kola,  (English), Bacopa monniera,  Chi-hsueh Ts’ao, man t’ien hsing, Brahmi, Brahma-manduki, Bemgsag, (Hindi), Mandooka Parni (Sanskrit), Vallarai keerai (Tamil), Centella asiatica (botanical name) family, Umbelliferae is commonly found near river banks, water streams or water ponds or reservoirs. This herbaceous plant grows well in moist soil conditions. The perennial herb is abundantly found in swampy, tropical regions. You can easily identify this slender, long stemmed creeping plant and its small, kidney shaped (reniform) lobed, green leaves as well as its pinkish red or white flowers. The plant has no taste or smell.

Nutritional Values

The herb comprises rich amount of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This will help you to convert carbohydrates into glucose as well as to improve the functioning of your nervous system. It has also good amount of vitamin K. It has an excellent source of minerals i.e. calcium, magnesium, sodium, manganese and zinc.

Bio-active Chemical constituents (Phytochemicals)

The principal bio-active chemical constituent of gotu kola is saponin. The two saponins present in this plant are brahmoside and brahminoside. The saponins restrict from excessive formation of scars. The triterpenoids comprises asiaticoside, madecassoside and madasiatic acid. It also has two triterpene acids i.e. brahmic acid and isobrahmic acid; betulic acid and stigmasterol. The tripene acids show excellent wound healing properties. The plant also comprises important amino acids i.e. asparate, glutamate, serine, threonine, alanine, lysine and histidine. The other bio-active chemical constituents are sugar, glycosides, sterols, alkaloids (hydrocotyline), tannin, and few other inorganic salts

Medicinal Values

In India the roots, stems and leaves has been traditionally used as an herb for treating acute and chronic diseases for thousands of years. The indigenous Siddha system of medicine recognizes gotu kola as ‘Kaya Kalpa’ or ‘elixirs of life’. Many of the ‘Ayurvedic Rasayana’ preparations use gotu kola as an important ingredient. The traditional physicians of ancient Indian have recognized the plant’s ability in healing chronic wounds, varicose vein, stomach ulcers, skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis or leprosy, dreaded viral infections i.e. hepatitis and syphilis. The herb has ability to balance your excessive BP to near normal level. It is highly recommended as a de-worming agent. The herb is also prescribed as an expectorant since it clears phlegm from your respiratory system.

It is a tonic and has ability to tone up your muscular tissues. . It improves hemoglobin percentage, RBC, serum cholesterol and blood sugar in your blood. It activates fast growth of your hair, skin and even nails. It is identified as an excellent brain and nerve stimulant. It is believed that this herb improves brain function and the mental ability as well as improves memory and learning performance. You are able to overcome easily all your negative effects related with fatigue and stress. The herb has potentials to improve I.Q. among children. It is also recommended for mentally retarded children. People often compare this herb with Chinese ginseng.

Recipe 1: Gotu Kola or Vallarai chutney

Ingredients

  • Gotu kola leaves Two bunches
  • Small Onion 10 numbers
  • Garlic One piece
  • Coconut (Grated) Two tablespoon
  • Tamarind Small ball
  • Thuvar dhal (Dry Fried) One tablespoon
  • Red chillies Four numbers
  • Black gram (urad dhal) One tablespoon
  • Ginger Small piece
  • Cooking oil or Ghee 10 ml
  • Salt to taste

Method

1) Take Gotu kola leaves alone (no stem) and wash it and dry it.

2) Place a saucepan. And lit the stove.

3) Add little oil or ghee and heat and sauté onion, garlic, grated coconut, thuvar dhal, black gram dhal, red chillies, and ginger together for two minutes.

4) Add tamarind.

5) Heat the ghee and add gotu kola leaves and saute for two minutes.

6) Add salt

7) Blend all ingredients into coarse paste in your mixer.

8) The chutney goes well with white rice, tiffin items like chapathy, idly and dosai.

Recipe 2: Gotu Kola or Vallarai Gravy (Masiyal)

Ingredients

  • Gotu kola leaves Two bunches
  • Moongdal (splitted) 50 gr.
  • Pepper One Tablespoon
  • Jeera One Tablespoon
  • Lemon Juice One Tablespoon
  • Small Onion 5 numbers
  • Garlic One piece
  • Tamarind Small ball
  • Thuvar dhal (Dry Fried) One tablespoon
  • Red chillies Four numbers
  • Salt to taste

Method

1) Take Gotu kola leaves alone (no stem) and wash it, dry it and chop it.

2) Pressure cook Gotu kola leaves, moong dhal with a pinch of turmeric power. Wait for two whistles.

3) Place a saucepan.

4) Add little oil or ghee and heat and sauté onion, garlic, and red chilly together for two minutes.

5) Add the sauted ingredients with the pressure cooked ingredients.

6) Mash the cooked ingredients with the help of a wooden masher (mathu). Add salt

7) The gravy goes well with white rice.

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  1. Is this the same as Ginkgo biloba? Ginkgo Biloba is used for dementia patients.

  2. Ginkgo biloba is a differen medicinal plant (more ancient). Vallarrai is traditionally grown in Sri Lanka, India etc.; and now available in Western countries as well. But both plants have similar medicinal values.
    Ranjanan

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