Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gotu kola

*Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

*tropical perennial plant
*grows similar to strawberries
*best in zone 8 or higher
*happy in containers, very pretty in hanging baskets

Parts Used:
*whole plant, esp. leaves, fresh or dried

*natural habitat: damp places
*also eaily grown in a large pot or a garden with well-drained sandy soil enriched with compost and kept moist
*full sun to light shade

*can be propagated by seed, but more easily grown from rooted sections with at least one attached plantlet
*will reseed itself in warmer climates
*divide in the summer

*regularly water and weed
*feed regularly with liquid fertilizer (such as fish emulsion) from spring until fall, especially if you are growing it in a container and especially if you are picking its' leaves regularly
*if you have a cooler climate than zone 8, you can grow it, but make sure you cover it in the winter. It will probably die back but it will regrow in the spring. It tolerates temps as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, cover it or plant in a pot and bring it in during cooler weather

*harvest the leaves and use them fresh as required
*dry the leaves by spreading them in a single layer out of the direct sunlight on a cookie sheet/tray, then store them in an airtight container

*effective nerve tonic that calms and strengthens nerve and brain cells
*improves memory
*reduces anxiety
*possibly good for arthritis
*use new leaves instead of mature ones whenever possible

*add leaves to salads, sandwiches, and stir fries for a slightly spicy flavor

For additional information, see: references and warnings

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