CENTELLA ASIATICA – BENEFITS, REMEDIES AND RECIPES
Commonly known as ‘cica’ ‘tiger grass’ ‘Brahmi’ or ‘Gotu Kola’, is used very often for culinary purposes and for its medicinal value.
Here are some of its benefits:
- Boosts one’s immunity:
Brahmi has antioxidant properties which protect the body from free radical (particles which are known to damage the healthy cells in our body) damage and can protect the body from various infectious diseases, in turn improving one’s overall health.
- Effective for hair loss:
Brahmi oil (recipe below) can help stimulate and strengthen the hair follicles and can also treat dandruff, dry scalp and itchiness. It helps nourish the scalp and strengthens the blood vessels, in turn allowing proper oxygen and nutrients to reach the hair follicles, promoting hair growth.
- Improves cognitive function and memory:
Brahmi acts as a natural memory booster and can also improve one’s attention. For people suffering with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) where the person finds it difficult to focus, brahmi could help do the trick and increase one’s attention span.
- Helpful for the skin:
Brahmi facials (recipe below) can help give your skin a better glow and rejuvenate the skin cells and can be used to treat other skin related problems. It helps to heal acne and also fade hyperpigmentation. It also helps improve skin tone as well as boosts your skin’s elasticity. Centella helps balance the moisture balance of your skin, to ensure it remains supple and hydrated. You can buy Centella Asiatica serum or creams that are easily available online.
- Can relieve anxiety, stress and also be beneficial for epilepsy:
Brahmi can help increase the body’s resistance to stress as it is an adatogenic herb (counteracts the effects of stress in the body. It can help elevate one’s mood by reducing the levels of cortisol (hormone linked to one’s stress levels) in the body. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where the brain activity becomes abnormal for a period of time causing convulsive seizures and unusual behaviour. Brahmi can be helpful to reduce those convulsions.
- General health benefits:
- Helps reduce inflammation.
- May help reduce blood pressure levels.
- Helps people who suffer from insomnia and other mental health issues.
- Can help cure urinary tract infections (UTI’s).
Recipe for brahmi juice:
- 2 glasses of water
- One handful of Centella leaves
- ½ tsp of jeera seeds (cumin seeds)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Jaggery (panela or gur) powder to taste
(or you can also use sugar)
- Salt to taste
In a mixer blender, add the brahmi leaves and half a glass of water and let it churn into a complete liquid. Then add the jeera, lemon juice, salt to taste and jaggery/sugar to taste. Blend it for another minute or so and then add in the remaining 1½ glasses of water and blend for another minute. Then, strain it into a glass and it is ready to consume.
Recipe for face pack:
- 10 brahmi leaves (without stalk)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp aloe vera or honey
Grind into a fine paste the Brahmi leaves and turmeric powder. In a separate bowl, add the aloe vera gel and the ground Brahmi and turmeric paste and mix into a smooth paste and it is ready to be applied on the skin. Apply it on the skin, leave it for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash off.
Recipe for brahmi oil:
2 handfuls of brahmi leaves
100 ml jojoba oil or argan oil
Step 1: Drying the brahmi leaves
To dry the brahmi leaves, separate the leaves from the stocks after rinsing in water and spread out the leaves on a dry cloth kept on a plate. Keep the leaves out in the sunlight or to dry up until all the moisture has been removed and the texture of the leaves become hard and crisp to touch and then it is ready to use.
Step 2: Making the oil
In a glass bottle around 6 to 8 inches in height and 3 to 4 inches wide, fill in the dried Centella leaves and add in the oil and gently press down the leaves until it is completely soaked and coated with the oil. Cover the bottle with the lid and tighten it close. Keep the bottle in a warm place or indirect sunlight for around a week, so that the essence of the leaves gets infused into the oil and the three oils can get combined over time.
Step 3: Extraction of the oil
After a week’s time, you will find that the oil has risen to the top, while the leaves have settled down below. This is when you can take another container and use a muslin cloth or handkerchief to strain out the oil from the glass bottle, let the oil drain out (squeeze it gently until all the oil has been extracted from the leaves) and then you can store the oil in the air tight container for future, as it is now ready to use. You can use this oil on your face, body and hair.