A member of the parsley family, gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India) to heal skin conditions such as psoriasis, fight mental fatigue, and treat asthma, fever, and stomach ulcers. Now sold as an herbal supplement, gotu kola is marketed as a memory-booster and natural remedy for anxiety and depression
Centella asiatica, also known as Hydrocotyle asiatica, Gotu Kola or Bahmi in the north of India, is also a small creeping plant with delicate leaves and small white flowers that bear small fruits. Centella is generally thought to be more cooling than the Bacopa, but both are considered good for all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha.) Centella can be grown in tropical climates or in the higher cooler elevations of India and China, while Bacopa is typically grown in warmer and wetter climates. This particular plant grows in swampy areas and also near natural water. This herb can be eaten as a vegetable every day and it can also be used as a herbal medication.
Gotu kola is regarded as perhaps the most spiritual of all herbs in India. Growing in some areas of the Himalayas, gotu kola is used by yogis to improve meditation. It is said to develop the crown chakra, the energy center at the top of the head and to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf is said to resemble.
Gotu kola contains numerous nutrients including the phytochecmicals beta-carotene, camphol and campesetol. It is also a source of the minerals calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc; and the vitamin C, B-1, B-2 and B-3.
Healthy Benefits of Gotu Kola
The American Cancer Society says however, that the compound most likely responsible for its benefit as an herbal remedy, is a compound known as “saponins.” For therapeutic purposes, gotu kola can be taken as a supplement in capsules, extracts or powders, as an ingredient in certain eye drops or made into a tea.
Centella, however, has unique properties not in Bacopa that support the skin (inner and outer), the lymph, and the microcirculation channels of the body.
1. Rejuenative Herb
the leaves became known as a promoter of long life. It is said to fortify the immune system, both cleansing and feeding it and to strengthen the adrenals. It has been used as a pure blood tonic and for skin health. It has also been used to promote restful sleep. Gotu kola is often confused with kola nut. Due to this confusion, some people assume the rejuvenating properties of gotu kola are due to the stimulating effects of caffeine contained in kola nut. In fact, gotu kola is not related to kola nut and contains no caffeine.
2. Gotu Kola Cures Bacterial and Viral Infection
This herb is used for the treatment of common cold, urinary tract infection, influenza, shingles, tuberculosis, leprosy, H1N1 (Swine Flu), dysentery, cholera etc. Gotu Kola can be used for the treatment of all kinds of bacterial, viral and parasitical infection in human beings.
3. Gotu Kola Improves Circulatory System
Gotu kola actually plays two important roles in the circulatory system, both of which benefit our bodies. Firstly, gotu kola extract can strengthen the walls of blood vessels and capillaries, which prevents blood leakage and optimizes your circulatory system. Secondly, it stimulates the flow of blood, which increases oxygenation of different parts of the body and important organ systems, thereby keeping their function high and efficient.
4. Gotu Kola Relieves High Blood Pressure
Gotu Kola can relieve high blood pressure and helps the body defend against various toxins. It is used to treat rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, hepatitis and high blood pressure. It is a mild diuretic that can help shrink swollen membranes and aid in the elimination of excess fluids.
Studies have linked gotu kola with a decrease in many diseases, one of the positive associations with the herb was blood pressure. By relieving tension and anxiety in the arteries and blood vessels, it is able to regulate blood pressure and reduce strain on the cardiovascular system. This lengthens the “life cycle” of the heart and prevents things like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes from occurring.
5. Gotu Kola Detoxify The Body
Gotu kola has long been known as a mild diuretic and can therefore stimulate the release of excess toxins, salts, water, and even fat from the body through urination. This release helps to ease tension on the kidneys and generally remove toxins quickly, while keeping our energy up and our fluid balances even.
6. Gotu Kola Gets Rid of Fatigue
This herb is also used for the treatment of fatigue. On eating this wonder herb, it provides you with a refreshing energy that will cure your weakness.
7. Gotu kola Boosts Central Nervous System
Gotu Kola is a rejuvenative nervine recommended for nervous disorders, including epilepsy, senility and premature aging. As a brain tonic, it is said to aid intelligence and memory. It strengthens the adrenal glands while cleansing the blood to treat skin impurities. It is said to combat stress and depression, energize flagging mental powers, increase libido, ward off a nervous breakdown and improve reflexes. It energizes the central nervous system and rebuilds energy reserves. For those who suffer from disorders like epilepsy or premature aging, it can have a powerful effect on the quality of life and the severity of the conditions if taken regularly.
8. Gotu Kola Improves Brain and Longevity
In both countries and across Asia on the whole, Gotu Kola was known as a longevity herb. The Daoist master and herbalist Li Ching-Yuen was, in his time, a famous proponent and user of the plant. Ancient Chinese medical texts report that he died at the ripe age of 256 years old and attribute his longevity in large part to the use of Gotu Kola on a daily basis. While the accuracy of these records is up for debate, the fact is that Gotu Kola is a well studied herb, and the vast majority of its healing and therapeutic properties, including its ability to measurably prolong life, have been documented and validated by the scientific community. It’s life-extending properties are most likely due to a synergistic combination of its powerful effects on the mind, body and spirit—in every sense, the whole person. The plant’s benefits range from greatly improving memory and restoring brain cell and nerve function to improving blood quality and circulation, restoring digestion.
9. Gotu Kola is Energetic Sex Booster
There is even some traditional evidence showing that gotu kola was used for an energetic boost in the bedroom. Increasing libido is often a side effect of other herbal remedies, and gotu kola is no exception. In addition to eliminating mental fatigue and increasing energy stores in the body, gotu kola can also bring some fire back to your relationship.
10. Gastrointestinal System
Traditional medicine used gotu kola leaves to treat severe pain in the stomach, which we now link to gastric ulcers. This treatment is still considered viable, and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the leaves, can clearly affect the comfort and health of the gut and colon.
11. Gotu Kola Increased Intelligence and Cognitive Functioning
Studies have directly connected gotu kola consumption to increased cognitive abilities. The main explanation for this is the positive impact gotu kola extract can have on the circulatory system, thereby oxygenating more of the brain and allowing cognition to improve. The antioxidant effects of gotu kola are also somewhat responsible, as they can stimulate neural pathways by eliminating plaque and free radicals in the brain. This has also made it a popular supplement for aging populations, as there is some evidence to suggest that it can slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Gotu Kola is centering, which makes it ideal for anyone looking for a cognitive boost without any of the unwanted and imbalancing side effects of stimulants. In one study, children who took a half a gram of Gotu Kola extract powder every day for one year demonstrated significant improvement of their intellectual level. After six months, there was a substantial improvement in intelligence, cognitive function and concentration.
12. Gotu Kola Wound Healer
Gotu kola leaves and salves have long been used in the topical treatment of the skin. The saponins and other organic compounds found in the plant stimulate the healing process at the site of wounds. By stimulating blood flow to the cells and protecting against infections, it can speed the healing process.
13. Gotu Kola Reduces Anxiety and Stress
In Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu Kola is classified as a rasayana, or rejuvenative, due to its ability to restore functioning, balance and health to many parts of the mind and body. For example, it is an extremely healing herb for the nervous system and has been shown to repair and restore axons, which are used to transmit nerve impulses throughout the brain and body. As such, it has been used as an anti-anxiety, anti-stress and anti-insomnia medicine throughout its long history of human use. Although the exact chemical pathways are still being studied, there is significant evidence that gotu kola can have a positive effect on anxiety issues for a broad range of patients. Research has revealed that it decreased the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks and episodes in a group of subjects who all suffered from some form of GAD (general anxiety disorder).
14. Gotu Kola Treats Poor Circulation and Leg Swelling
According to the American Cancer Society, some preliminary clinical trials have found that gotu kola may improve poor blood flow to the legs and help to reduce swelling. Individuals with a condition called chronic venous insufficiency, characterized by swelling of the legs and feet due to varicose veins and poor circulation, were given an extract of gotu kola. The gotu kola extract seemed to reduce the leakage of blood vessels that contribute to swelling, and the herb was deemed more helpful than the placebo. The American Cancer Society warns however that more research needs to be done, and herbs do not always produce the same benefits as extracts made from them.
15. Gotu Kola Repairs Skin
Gotu kola reduces scarring when applied during inflammatory period of the wound. It was found effective when applied on patients with third degree burns, when the treatment commenced immediately after the accident. Daily local application to the affected area along with intramuscular injections, limited the shrinking of the skin as it healed. It is known to prevent infection and inhibit scar formation. It is also useful in repairing skin and connective tissues and smoothing out cellulite.
The primary active constituent is triterpenoid compounds. Saponins (also called triterpenoids) known as asiaticoside, madecassoside, and madasiatic acid are the primary active constituents. These saponins beneficially affect collagen (the material that makes up connective tissue), for example, inhibiting its production in hyperactive scar tissue.
16. Gotu Kola Perfects for Aging Skin
Gotu Kola also acts as a toner for the skin. It tones and tightens the skin if you apply the herb topically. This is the reason why Gotu Kola is found in most of the anti-aging and skin firming creams these days. As this herb can promote the collagen production in human body, it can definitely help in improving the condition of an aging skin, wrinkles and fine lines. The fall of collagen production leads to fine lines, aging and wrinkles. Gotu Kola’s ability to replete the collagen supply in human body makes it a main ingredient in most of the anti-aging formulas.
17. Gotu Kola Fights Cellulite
Gotu Kola herb is also a classic ingredient to fight cellulite on the skin. Cellulite often causes a lumpy, dimpled and ugly appearance – just like an orange peel! The problem areas of cellulite are upper arms, thighs and buttocks. Gotu Kola acts as a diuretic by increasing the blood flow in the area and reducing the possible inflammation.
18. Gotu Kola Benefitial for Hair Loss
Gotu Kola is also very famous for the treatment of hair loss. This herb also acts as a platform for hair re-growth. Hair loss happens when the hair follicles become weak due to malnourishment. This herb plays a very important role in strengthening the hair follicles and nourishing the scalp. It strengthens the blood vessels in the area and allows the small hair follicles to expand.
19. Gotu Kola Improves the Blood Circulation in Scalp
The circulation of blood becomes better as the blood vessels relax, due to this herb. This makes space for the entry of oxygen and other important nutrients in the scalp. In the end, all that can be stated here is that Gotu Kola plays an important role in nourishing the scalp, preventing hair loss and promoting hair re-growth. It will provide us with strong, lustrous and beautiful hair. The only slight trouble here is that the efficacy of Gotu Kola as a treatment for hair and scalp has still not been validated by the scientists.
20. Gotu Kola Protects Veins and Blood Vessels
Due mostly to the actions of asiaticoside and madecassoside that it contains, gotu kola may prevent, delay and treat a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged and blood collects in the veins of the legs. This collection of blood can lead to varicose veins, spider veins, or sores on the legs. More serious results can include blood clots in the legs. Asiaticoside and madecassoside may help keep veins and other blood vessels from leaking. Because it strengthens the walls of blood vessels, gotu kola may also be effective for slowing retinopathy, the gradual break down of the retina in the eyes. It may also help to relieve hemorrhoids. These same effects are thought to strengthen the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, making gotu kola potentially useful for treating ulcers.
21. Mood Disorders
In another small study, 28 older adults took gotu kola at various doses (250, 500, and 750 mg) once daily for two months. Results revealed that study members on the highest dose had improvements in mood, as well as memory and cognitive function.
22. Anti Bacterial Properties
Gotu kola has long been used in topical, oral, and injected forms to treat leprosy. In addition to its ability to heal the sores associated with leprosy, gotu kola may also have anti-bacterial properties. Evidence from studies shows that asiaticoside may damage the cell walls of the bacteria that cause leprosy. The weakened bacteria are easier for the body’s immune system to eliminate.
If you do have an allergic reaction to gotu kola, it will likely appear as redness, itchiness, or hives on the skin. You may also suffer from upset stomach, nausea, or strangely colored stool. Drowsiness is another possible side effect. Granted, these side effects are rare, but the combination of compounds in gotu kola is also quite uncommon, so as always, speak with a trained herbalist or your medical practitioner before adding it to your herbal regimen. If you take suger,thyriod or any medecine then consult your doctor for advice before taking Gotu Kola.