PLANT NAME: Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.
COMMON NAMES: Pohe kula [Hawai'i]; gotu kola, marsh pennywort [USA]; ji xue cao (“accumulated snow”), luo dei da (“drop will strike”), ma ti cao (“horse’s hoof”) [China]; mandukaparni, muttil, kutannal [India]; kapukapu [Cook Islands]; tohetupou [Tahiti]; ghod tapre [Nepal]; totodro [Fiji]; tono [Samoa, Tonga].
FAMILY: Apiaceae (carrot family).
USE AS FOOD: Gotu kola is juiced fresh in Thailand to make a refreshing beverage. One part of the fresh juice is mixed with two parts water, then blended with palm sugar and shreded ice. Yum!
RANGE: From Australia and New Zealand, to South America and South Africa. Native to Asia.
HABITAT: In Hawai’i, (if it’s not too dry) somewhere in your yard. Grows from sea level to 5000′.
TOXICITY: None noted.
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS: Some sources state that Centella may reduce fertility in animal studies, thins the blood, and may be hypoglycemic. I could not verify any of this with research studies, but I would not use it during pregnancy or with blood thinners. See Possible Drug Interactions.
POSSIBLE DRUG INTERACTIONS: Caution with Aspirin, Coumadin, Heparin, or any blood thinner. (speculative).
NOTES ‘N QUOTES
• Used by Confucius.
• Legend has it that gotu kola was introduced to Hawai’i as medicine by a victim of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) who had cured himself of the affliction.