Herbs A-Z: Centella asiatica & Cichorium intybus


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Happy new year! We’re continuing our Herbs A-Z series in 2022, starting off strong with gotu kola & chicory. These widespread herbs both have long histories & active presents of medicinal application.

Centella asiatica, known best as gotu kola, is today mostly thought of as a neuroprotective or even “nootropic” herb. It does indeed protect the nerves and brain, and help with cognitive health. It even has some similarities to ginseng and jiaogulan in terms of stress, immunity, and inflammation modulation. But it’s also a good topical antimicrobial and wound-healer, with some similarities to marshmallow in that regard.

Cichorium intybus is chicory – and also radicchio, endive, and frisee! They’re all variants or cultivars of the same plant species. Chicory root is often roasted and taken as a coffee substitute, and that’s perfectly valid. It’s not caffeinated, but it does have the roast-y and bitter flavors of coffee. Plus, it’s got food for your friendly gut flora (as long as you make a water preparation and don’t filter too aggressively).
These quick plant profiles were done off-the-cuff & on-the-spot. If you enjoyed them, we have more! Our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.

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