Get Into the Flow State, with Gotu Kola, Meditation in a Mug Other Names
Brahmi, Centella asiatica, Monk in Mug
*There are two very different herbs that are called Brahmi in India. Both are amazing but they are very different! One is Gotu Kola, and that’s called Brahmi in the north. And one is Bacopa, which called Brahmi in the South.
So, when you read or try Brahmi, make sure you know which one it is, so you know what to expect. While we often combine the two, as is done in India, they have very complementary but different effects.
- Organ Systems
- Immune system
- Cardiovascular System
- Connective Tissue
- Skin, Joints, Scar Tissue, Ligaments
Gotu Kola is the Herb of 2019 at Vital Ways for the amazing benefits it brings.
Few herbs bring as much healing as this little member of the carrot family.
It’s easy to grow, has virtually no side effects, and has made more of a difference in more lives, at Vital Ways than most other herbs or interventions.
We call it the herb of 2019 as it fit the needs of our community so well, including our students, faculty, patrons, and clients.
It’s not uncommon for plants to rise to prominence based on a shift in human need. The needs that arose that brought this plant to prominence were based in the mind, and brain. This remedy is one of the key herbs in not only helping clear brain fog, but also in encouraging the ‘Flow State’ that is so often sought after.
Even if you know a bit about this remedy, I encourage you to read on, as our community, through extensive usage came up with new perspectives that we haven’t read about elsewhere and could very well help you understand, and appreciate it, even more.
This herb is an ancient gift for modern people with very important applications.
Relationships and Reminders:
There are lots of ways to know an herb. Most people want to know about USES.
“How is the herb used?” they ask.
Meaning, for what symptom or disease.
Many people are surprised to find out that as important as usages are to know, they make up only a small fraction of what can be known about a plant’s medicinal properties.
We use about 21 different categories of plant knowledge, each having its own unique contribution to the whole. So when learning plants our way, students have a much broader understanding. This understanding leads to a knowledge that is more comparable to a relationship rather than simply a collection of facts or usages.
When you have this kind of relationship with any healing intervention whether plant, mushroom, or otherwise, then you develop a strong intuitive awareness of how that remedy can be used across multiple systems and in ways that aren’t found in books or websites or anywhere else.
This is how we learn plants at Vital Ways.
So as we discuss Gotu Kola, let’s remember that, just as a person can’t be described in a few paragraphs, neither can an amazing healing plant like Gotu Kola be captured in this way. Hopefully though, with the following words, we’ll do it justice enough to give you a new and expanded awareness of one of nature’s most important healing gifts!
If you want to learn this way of knowing plants, we welcome you to join a class.
Gotu kola, or Brahmi as it’s known in North India was beloved by ancient Yogis for its ability to help them reach their spiritual goals, and now is beloved by students and scholars for its ability to facilitate the deep focus necessary for plumbing the depths of knowledge.
Known in Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India as a Medya Rasayana, or mental rejuvenative, this herb continues to receive very positive scientific support for lowering inflammation in the brain, and being useful for such broad conditions as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s, CTE and other conditions where neuronal damage is a hallmark of the condition.
We’ll get back to the mind at the end of the post.
This herb also has a thousands of years as a connective tissue remedy for internal and external usage, being used successfully for extensive burns including 3rd degree, as well as scrapes, cuts, wounds and even old scar tissue. Research and our experience support this usage and its one of our top remedies for healing post surgery.
As if this wasn’t enough, it also profoundly supports cardiovascular health, shown by its powerful blood lipid profile correcting effects, AND it’s effective use for addressing chronic venous insufficiency, spider and varicose veins. And don’t forget that Cardiovascular Disease continues to be the #1 killer in the United States and its incidence is growing each year!
The total constituents of any of our medicinal plants is hard to assess. And when we remove a single or collection of constituents, they no longer represent the same medicine as the entire plant as constituents act together, and synergize through multiple ways.
So, we know, that any time a plant is talked about as having ‘active’ ingredients, we take that with a grain of salt, but we can still learn a lot from this way of studying, including the best ways to extract and use the medicine when combined with what we learn from the traditional ways.
Very important active constituents of ‘Monk in a Mug’, are its Pentacyclic Triterpenes, but there is quite a bit more including phenols, tannins, aromatics, sterols and micronutrients.
These can all be brought out quite effectively as an infusion, (a basic tea) as well as a tincture, or oil.
A very interesting preparation that I learned about and used extensively in India is called Brahmi Grittham, which is the herb, extracted in Ghee.
Then it most commonly is used as a Nasya, or nasal administration of an herb, and the fat carries the medicine to the surface capillaries, which bypasses the digestive process. Wow, that’s a smart way to get an herb, and that practice is at least 2000 years old.
Unfortunately, in this country if you’re sitting there with your finger up your nose, and a green oily substance is around it, you probably will receive a lot of confused stares at best!
But it’s ok, the tea is delicious, with a lovely grassy flavor. In fact, it’s so nice, that it’s commonly eaten as pot herb, and drank as a tea in many parts of Asia.
This tells us something very valuable, the herb is safe, even at high doses. If you can eat an herb, not unlike the herbs Maca and Nettles which are also eaten in large quantities, then its safety profile is high.
The Super Power of Brahmi
If Marvel Comics wanted to showcase a superhero who use wisdom rather than being better at beating people up than that Superhero’s name would be Brahmi.
This herb is a curious one, in that one of our favorite effects is often hard to recognize in people who use it.
We aren’t terribly subtle creatures these days. We like our herbs to smack us over the head, like coffee, or cannabis, or ginseng or we don’t think they have any effect.
Gotu kola, shares its mental-emotional medicine in profound subtleties. It takes days to feel this herb, and by the time you do, you’ve forgotten that you didn’t always feel that way. That’s the stone in the shoe effect. When the stone is there, that all you know. But once removed, you forget in about a day, that is was ever there.
This herb gives perspective, clarity, and focus on the much bigger picture. It cuts through haze in the mind, and allows for the muddy stream to get clear, so you can make out the finer essence of what’s at the bottom of things.
It’s not uplifting. That’s Holy Basil or Rosemary, or Peppermint or other cerebrally focused aromatic plants. It’s not stimulating to the mind, that’s Bacopa, Rhodiola, or Ginseng.
It is wisdom producing.
And that’s also like the herbs, um…wait….there are no other herbs that do this like Gotu Kola. Because of this, only Gotu Kola has a whole new herbal action category that I made for it: Wisdom Enhancing.
This sounds better than ‘Monk in Mug Making’, but either will do.
It gives you the wisdom to be the person that you most want to be by removing what you thought was your other needs but as it turns out, were just distractions.
If you have goals, and purpose, but feel you are blocked from achieving them by many distractions, and you want to clear your mind, center, but not by calming your spirit, but instead develop a comprehensive perspective, then this herb may be perfect for you.
Remember again: No herb acts outside of the influence of our Core 5. This herb as powerful as it is, is no exception.
When we can use it, holistically, as we adjust other aspects of our lives, wow, can it do powerful things to help us on our life’s path. This herb’s effects feel like meditation but are much more pronounced with actual meditation and breathing exercises.
If we just want to use herbs, even though that was never done in any historical herbal tradition, then they can only do so much with what we give them.
Just as an FYI, this information is not based on something we read in a book. We experienced these things in our community, through extensive and repeated usage. We aim to teach everything that we do, based on a similar level of investigation and learning.
Now, I don’t believe in medicating the masses by putting things in the water supply,
as I believe that all people should be autonomous and self-directed to do the good that is in our hearts, BUT if I did believe in putting things in the water supply, then I’d choose to add Gotu Kola. Wow, wisdom, perspective, clarity and more flow states would certainly be helpful things for our very interesting times.
Hoping you have been inspired to seek out the wisdom of this plant’s medicine, and realize its extremely uncommon ancient gifts that are so necessary in modern times.
Amounts: 1oz (28g) to 1 qt (roughly 1l) per day