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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Penny Wort - The Elixir of Life

‘GOTA KOLÁ - aka ‘Penny Wort’ in Australia
“ 2 leaves a day keeps old age away!”

GOTA KOLÁ (commonly known as Penny wort) energizes and rejuvenates the brain and body. Penny wort, a tiny leafed, low-growing plant, has been called the “Elixir or Life”.

Research herbalists have called Penny wort the finest of all herb tonics and nutrients. It appears, they say, to have no equal in the treatment of general debility and decline, digestion is strengthened, and foods better utilised, and the process of metabolism increased.

This low-growing ground cover herb has been used by the Sinhalese, and the people of India who live along the Indian Ocean, for many hundreds of years, because they believe that it contains remarkable longevity qualities. They say that Penny wort will increase the span of life 50 years by developing the brain, thus making it incapable of breaking down for a long period of time.

The leaves act as a brain food. 2-4 leaves eaten raw each day will strengthen and revitalise worn out bodies and brains to a remarkable degree and will prevent brain fag and nervous breakdown. “Two leaves a day will keep old age away” – this is the claim of the ancient Sinhalese.

It is the belief of the Sinhalese and of the Indians, that one or two leaves are necessary daily to bring about a gradual return to health and strength, provided the body is exposed to the sun for a time each day.

It is said that if the leaves are eaten daily, disorders like poor memory, rheumatism, arthritis, neuritis, nervous breakdown, abscesses, blood pressure improve. The natives of India use the plant medically too as a diuretic or stimulant to the kidneys and bladder as well as a blood purifier. Gota Kola also has been found to be a safe aphrodisiac.

This rejuvenating herb has also been used medically for:

Fluid retention
Age spots
To strengthen the heart
Combat stress
Nervous and mental problems
Skin problems
As a thyroid stimulant
To improve reflexes
Help the body defend itself against various toxins
And, in cancer treatment.

It was renowned Chinese herbalist and Professor, Li Chung Yun, who lived to the age of 256 years using this herb that awoke our western world as to its values.

Li Chung Yun was born in 1677 and in 1933 the New York Times announced the death of this remarkable oriental, whose life span had reached over 2.5 centuries. His age was officially recorded by the Chinese Government.

At 200 years of age, Professor Li gave a course of lectures for 20 weeks (each lecture lasting 3 hours) on longevity, at a Chinese University. Those who saw him declared that he did not appear older than a man of 52. Professor Li outlived 23 wives and that is perhaps proof enough of his age. He stood straight and strong and had his own natural hair and teeth.

After Li Chung Yun’s death, the French Government, under Professor Menier of Paris, undertook extensive studies and experiments with Penny Wort to see what was so special about this plant. They found that it contained an unknown vitamin, which they called Vitamin X, the ‘youth vitamin’. It was called this because it was found to have marvellous rejuvenating effects on the brain and endocrine glands.

Another French biochemist, Jules Lepinė, conducted an examination of the herb and after extensive study, found that it has rare tonic properties which have a marked energizing effect on nerves and brain cells and keeps them functioning well.

Many people who take Penny wort daily tell how they no longer feel brain fatigue and feel physically well and energetic. One person who took the herb for 6 weeks said she did not fee fatigued in spite of a busy schedule. She stated she was more relaxed and arthritic pain had gone. This person, whose fingers were quite knobbly and bent from arthritis, could not praise Penny wort enough. For years she had not been able to remove the rings from her fingers and, after taking the herb for several weeks, was able to again.

Penny wort (Centella Asiatic or hydrocotle asiatica) is a low-growing ground cover with a leaf the size of a thumb nail and with a serrated edge. It has a long tap root and matts over the ground. It grows in sun, but will thrive in shade and grows taller. If grown in shade, the flavour is milder too. It is propagated by seed or root division. The flower is extremely small, in fact hardly visible between the leaves.

Penny wort can be eaten straight from the bush, added to salads, or chopped up at the last minute as a garnish on a meal. If chopped finely as a garnish and added to meat or savoury dishes, even the youngest child will not object. Leaves can be used fresh or dried as tea, and sweetened with honey if desired. It is important to take Penny wort daily and for several weeks before any marked beneficial effect is noticed. Some people find it helpful, until they have the habit ingrained, to make a reminder note and tape it to the refrigerator or kitchen table, to remind them to take their leaves daily.

This amazing tonic plant is rich in chlorophyll. Vitamins A,B,C,G,K and particularly, the mineral magnesium.

Plants and seeds are available from nurseries and some larger stores with garden departments where plants and seeds are sold.

This article was distributed by Shipards Herb Nursery, Nambour Qld Australia, date unknown.

Postscript: I have found it difficult to find the plants in Sydney although my daughter did find one plant at a nursery near Richmond. Fortunately an Aunt has Penny Wort growing, having obtained plants from my brother in Queensland, and she has potted some for me.

Vena McGrath – December 26, 2005


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