Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica)

Gotu Kola Benefits

Gotu Kola is a rejuvenative nervine recommended for nervous disorders, epilepsy, senility and premature aging. As a brain tonic, it is said to aid intelligence and memory. It strengthens the adrenal glands and cleanses the blood to treat skin impurities. It is said to combat stress and depression, increase libido and improve reflexes. It has also been indicated for chronic venous insufficiency, minor burns, scars, scleroderma, skin ulcers, varicose veins, wound healing, rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, hepatitis and high blood pressure.

In India, Gotu kola is regarded as perhaps the most spiritual of all herbs. 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. It is regarded as one of the most important rejuvenative herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine. Sri Lankans noticed that elephants, renowned for their longevity, munched on the leaves of the plant. Thus 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.

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.

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. It hastens the healing of wounds.

Gotu kola has a positive effect on the circulatory system. It improves the flow of blood while strengthening the veins and capillaries. It has been used successfully to treat phlebitis, leg cramps, and abnormal tingling of the extremities. It soothes and minimizes varicose veins and helps to minimize scarring.

It 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.

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.

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.

Modern Studies

According to modern studies, gotu kola does offer support for healthy memory function. A study conducted in 1992 by K. Nalini at Kasturba Medical College showed an impressive improvement in memory in rats which were treated with the extract (orally) daily for 14 days before the experiment. The retention of learned behavior in the rats treated with gotu kola was 3 to 60 times better than that in control animals. Preliminary results in one clinical trial with mentally retarded children was shown to increase scores on intelligence tests (Bagchi, 1989). This does not mean gotu kola will improve intelligence for all special or normal children.

According to pharmacological studies, one outcome of gotu kola's complex actions is a balanced effect on cells and tissues participating in the process of healing, particularly connective tissues. One of its constituents, asiaticoside, works to stimulate skin repair and strengthen skin, hair, nails and connective tissue (Kartnig, 1988).




Gotu Kola Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names

Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica

Common Names

Gotu Kola, Brahmi, Chi-hsueh Ts'ao, man t'ien hsing, Indian Pennywort, Brahma-manduki, Marsh penny, Water pennywort.

Properties

Alterative, diuretic, febrifuge, nervine, rejuvenative

Uses

Chronic venous insufficiency, mental function, minor burns, scars, scleroderma, skin ulcers, varicose veins, wound healing, rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, hepatitis and high blood pressure, phlebitis, leg cramps, and abnormal tingling of the extremities. Improves circulation, strengthens veins and capillaries.

Indicated for

Ayurvedic practitioners suggest the following applications for Gotu Kola: Adrenal purifier, AIDS, blood purifier, eczema, epilepsy, insanity, hypochondria, intermittent fevers, hair loss, immune system boost (cleansing and nourishing), longevity, memory, nervous disorders, psoriasis, senility, skin conditions (chronic and obstinate), tetanus, convulsions, elephantiasis, bowel disorders. Rejuvenative for brain cells and nerves and promotes intelligence.

Gotu kola may cause miscarriage if it is taken or applied during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid using it in any form.

Gotu Kola may raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels so individuals with high cholesterol or diabetes should not take or apply it.

Very little information is available on how gotu kola might affect an infant or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended while breast-feeding or during early childhood.

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Karyl 's avatar  Karyl 04/08/2014 15:23

I've been taking Gotu Kola since the 1970's and have found increased memory and I look 10 years younger, I've been told. I'm a teacher and now have written my first novel! Thank you Gotu Kola!

Daffydogs 's avatar  Daffydogs 13/12/2010 21:59

I started GK as a treatment for brain fog and spider veins... however I have since found that it spares me days of grief after an accidental ingestion of wheat (I am gluten intolerant). Eating gluten makes me depressed, fogs my brain, causes intestinal upset, and swollen joints for 5-7 days afterward. However upping my intake of GK shortened it by several days! I put it down to increased blood flow and supporting the gastrointestinal tract. WOW!

7 people liked this.
A_hafsah 's avatar  A_hafsah 11/03/2011 08:00

We eat raw GK all the time, as salad with rice. I am 51 but feel 30. Go to gym everyday dancing latin, house and contemporary rock. People say my whole family looks younger than our ages. My mum is 76 and can run up a hill faster than me...she eats only home cooked food which goes without saying...has plenty of GK. I do hope everyone wud take this herb more seriously. All the best.

5 people liked this.
Vandabona 's avatar  Vandabona 01/02/2011 11:55

No, but it has a proven property to improve vision. That is why you don't see goats and cows wearing glasses

5 people liked this.
Elizabeth Bode 's avatar  Elizabeth Bode 12/01/2011 20:28

yes this is a amazing herb ..so many benifits

3 people liked this.
Michelle Capalungan 's avatar  Michelle Capalungan 10/10/2013 10:56

One day while at work I almost fainted,got dizzy and visioned black spots,did go to the doctor but prescription meds did not work for me after about 3 weeks. I researched my symptoms on my condition online and stumbled on Gingko and Gotu Kola that would help circulation of blood on my brain. I had numbness throughout the back of my head and a little pressure on my ears. I decided to try GK and after 2 days,the numbness and pressure disappeared and I felt wonderful. I truly like GK and hopes the rest of the benefits work on me too.

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