Green fountain of youth

There was a time when gardening meant growing beautiful flowering plants in your house. But now due to the increasing prices and to save our environment people are growing eatables in their gardens. “Grow food not lawns” is the new mantra. One such eatable you can grow with least monitoring is Centella asiatica.

Commonly known as Brahmi booti in Hindi, Mandukapani in Sanskrit and Ondelaga in Kannada it is a small, annual plant of the family Mackinlayaceae. It is native to India, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in colour, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green leaves. The flowers are pinkish to red umbels seen near the surface of the soil.

Medicinal value

Centella, commonly found as a weed in crop fields and other waste places throughout India is used as a medicinal herb. It is mildly antibacterial, antiviral and anti inflammatory. Centella asiatica may be useful in the treatment of anxiety. Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica’s ability to aid wound healing. In Sri Lanka it is believed to prolong life, as the leaves are commonly eaten by elephants. In China, it is used for treatment of depression, longevity and hence it is called the “fountain of youth”.

In India it is used in many recipes such as sambar, salad and juices.
The shovel shaped leaves are dried and powdered and stored to use when needed. It is believed that one spoon of Centella powder a day will increase the memory of children.

Centella is an easy growing plant which requires least attention, but should be watered daily. As the Centella is a ground hugging plant it can be grown easily in place of lawns that are spread across the ground.

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