Medical Brain Myth Shattered in Sacred Monkey Forest

Bali is a beautiful paradise with white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush green jungles.


Some of the monkeys will come right up to you but others, such as pregnant or nursing females will keep their distance.

It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

On one of my trips, I ventured deep into the jungle to encounter the Balinese long-tailed monkeys at the Sacred Money Forest of Padangtegal.

This 27 acre nature reserve and ancient Hindu religious site is home to more than 600 Balinese long-tailed monkeys that live in the heavily forested park. It’s the same species of monkey that helped us discover something very important for your brain.

They’re fascinating, because some will come out and interact with visitors, many of whom offer them bananas. Others never have any contact with people. I wanted to see them because of a study I read by Princeton biologists Elizabeth Gould and Charles Gross.

You see, for years, Science believed that the adult human brain could not grow new brain cells. They thought we were born with all the brain cells we’ll ever have — and that when the cells are gone, they’re gone for good.

The study, published in the American Journal of Science, detailed a new discovery by the biologists — the daily growth of new brain cells in the adult macaque monkey.

Because of this discovery, we now know your brain can grow new cells.

This is very important, because our brains shrink as we age.

I’m surrounded by gotu kola – an herb that can actually help you to grow new brain cells.

Over the course of your life, your brain will lose 5% to 10% of its weight. The shrinkage starts around your 20th birthday.

Today, we can help prevent this consequence of aging by renewing the growth factors that decline with age. This is the best way to slow down brain shrinkage.

And we can do it with an herb that’s native to Bali and Southeast Asia, just as macaque monkeys do.

It’s an herb called gotu kola.

When I traveled to India, I found gotu kola there, too. It’s one of the most important herbs in the oldest system of medicine in the world, Ayurveda medicine.

I always have faith that something works when I see the same tradition of use spring up in totally unrelated places around the world.

Ayurveda also uses goto kola to reduce anxiety, reduce fever and treat skin conditions. It also improves circulation and has an ancient link to longevity…

However, it’s the brain-boosting activity of gotu kola that makes it most interesting for me.

I know losing memory and brain power are two of my patients’ top concerns.

But studies now show that gotu kola can help spur growth in brain cells.

In a recent study, gotu kola extract helped increase neurite growth in mouse brain cells, proving that the extract was responsible for this growth.1,2

In a new study on human brain cells, researchers treated the cells with different concentrations of an extract of gotu kola (centella asiatica).3

However, there is also another healing benefit of gotu kola. Contained in the gotu kola plant is asiatic acid, which has been known to fight and induce cell death in tumors. In a recent study, asiatic acid was also found to inhibit the growth of non-small lung cancer cells.4

Gotu kola is used by the locals as something of a “first-aid kit” with many traditional uses. Westi gave me the inside story on some of them…

“Gotu kola grows wild across much of Bali. People here also cultivate it in their gardens. It’s also a handy first-aid treatment for bug bites and small cuts. We just crush a few leaves in our hands and rub them on the wound to cleanse and speed healing.

In Ayurvedic medicine, gotu kola is one of the most important herbs for rejuvenation. In Bali, gotu kola is sometimes called “the student herb,” because it sharpens the mind.”

Grow New Brain Cells With This Ayurvedic Herb

I recommend my patients use gotu kola in three ways.

  1. As an extract. Take 10 drops or from 10-20 ml per day.
  2. As a powdered herb (available in capsules). Take 400 mg – 600 mg, three times a day.
  3. As a dried herb. You can make a tea of the dried leaf, three times daily. Use up to 6 grams of dried leaf.

Gotu Tea


  1. To prepare leaves for tea, dry them in indirect sunlight and store them in an airtight jar.
  2. When you’re ready to make your tea, crush a few leaves into a cup, then cover with boiling water.
  3. Steep for a few minutes, strain out the leaves.

Enjoy the hot, full-bodied tea.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS

1. Soumyanath A, Zhong Y, Gold S, Yu X, Koop D, Bourdette D, Gold B. “Centella asiatica accelerates nerve regeneration upon oral administration and contains multiple active fractions increasing neurite elongation in-vitro.” J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Sep.
2. Garcia-Alloza M, Dodwell S, Meyer-Leuhmann M, Hyman B, Bacskai B. “Plaque-derived oxidative stress mediates distorted neurite trajectories in the Alzheimer mouse model.” J Neuropathol Exp Neuro. 2006.
3. Wanakhachornkrai O, Pongrakhananon V, Chunhacha P, Wanasuntronwong A, Vattanajun A, Tantisira B, Chanvorachote P, Tantisira M. “Neuritogenic effect of standardized extract of Centella asiatica ECa233 on human neuroblastoma cells.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013.
4. Wang L., et al. “Antiproliferative, cell-cycle dysregulation effects of novel asiatic acid derivatives on hum an non-small cell lung cancer cells.” Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2013.