Gotu Kola benefits people suffering from many health conditions since ancient times. Indeed, many people haven't heard about this plant just yet, but the truth is our descendants have been enjoying countless the great things that it has to offer in many places all over the world for a very long time.
What is Gotu Kola?
Many of us would probably be surprised at how highly regarded Gotu Kola is in the field of health and wellness. Its scientific name is Centella Asiatica from the Apiaceae (carrot) family. This tiny and perennial creeping herb from the same family as carrots is both tasteless and odorless. Its stem and leaves are the parts commonly used.
This plant also goes by other names such as Indian pennywort, hydrocotyle, Manduukaparani, Brahma-Manduki, Brahma-Buti, talepetrako, Tsubokusa, Asian pennywort, Brahmi, marsh penny, spade leaf, and many others. It grows best in shady, damp and marshy places or anywhere that is near a body of water.
It blossoms tiny pink or white flower leaves that resemble a fat half-moon. Despite its popularity as Chinese medicine and Indian herb, it is widely distributed throughout the world. It grows in other countries like Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Madagascar, and even down under in Australia.
But don't confuse it with kola nut, even though they rhyme, they are not at all related. Gotu Kola is free from caffeine and does not act as a stimulant.
The Lowdown on Gotu Kola Benefits
Throughout history, Gotu Kola has not only been used as a medicinal plant but in cooking too. Its leaves are great for soups and salads, while the leaves together with the stem are handy remedies. You can extract a rich concentration of a special triterpenoid compound called saponin from the leaves that is the active ingredient used in many capsules, gel, cream and ointment preparations.
Considered as the most spiritual Indian herb, it grows in certain places in the Himalayas and helps improve meditation. For those who do yoga, they claim that Gotu Kola can help a person develop the crown chakra. It is the energy center on top of your head and is responsible for balancing both the left and right brain hemispheres. After all, the shape of its leaves highly resembles that of a human brain.
It has a special place in Ayurvedic medicine. “The Herb of Enlightenment,” that's what many Ayurvedic texts called Gotu Kola. The Sri Lankans observed that elephants with long lives often munched on Gotu Kola leaves. Hence, it was since then recognized as a promoter of long life. It boosts the immune system by cleansing and strengthening the adrenals. Also, it comes in handy as a pure blood tonic to improve skin health and helpful when you want to have a good night's sleep.
The Chinese even dubbed it as “the fountain of life” according to a legend where an old Chinese herbalist named Li Ching-Yuen lived for over 200 years because Gotu Kola was a staple in his diet and life.
Panacea of Healing
Gotu Kola is regarded as an actual “adaptogen.” This term is used in describing herbs with a harmonizing and balancing effect on a person's mind, body, and spirit.
Check Out these Main Gotu Kola benefits:
Improves Memory/ Enhances Cognition
Improved mental acuity or functioning is one of the Gotu Kola benefits you can get from this plant. Many meditators rely on it in achieving harmony between the left and right hemispheres of the brain to produce a heightened state of awareness.
Patients who have Alzheimer's disease can counteract the associated memory loss by taking Gotu Kola. Once the circulation in the brain is improved, memory is enhanced through the improvement of nerve impulse transmission.
If anxiety is also a constant issue in your life, experience the herb's calming effect through its mild sedative action.
It can also help patients with nervous disorders such as epilepsy, premature aging, and senility. It likewise aids in memory and intelligence by working as a brain tonic. It helps fight stress and depression, increases libido, improves reflexes, prevents a nervous breakdown, boosts mental acuity, invigorates the central nervous system, and builds up energy reserve.
Burns and Wound Healing
Gotu Kola is famous for its burn and wound healing ability, along with relieving some skin disorders like leprosy and psoriasis. You no longer have to worry about keloids because this herb minimizes skin scarring when applied during a wound's inflammatory phase. Patients with third-degree burns can benefit from it when Gotu Kola is applied soon after the accident. Daily use can prevent scar formation as well as smooth out cellulite and repair skin and connective tissues.
Of all Gotu Kola benefits, this all boils down to its active component. Saponin is a triterpenoid compound known as madecassoside, asiaticoside, and madasiatic acid. They act on collagen in reducing the production of hyperactive scar tissue. People with diabetes, who are prone to poor wound healing, can benefit from it.
Another aesthetic benefit you can get involves fighting off cellulite formation. To better understand what cellulite is, it is not a substance. It is an unappealing condition secondary to a progressive disruption of the subcutaneous tissues of the skin, inclusive of layers of connective tissues and fat cells. Because of structural changes, it develops its prominent dimpled “mattress effect.”
Prevents Blood Vessel Disorders
When eating Gotu Kola leaves, triterpenes found in the leaf's extract act on the vein by improving its tone and strengthening them to fight off degenerative processes. Also, the actions of madecassoside and asiaticoside are responsible for the prevention, treatment, and delay of chronic venous insufficiency.
When valves carrying the blood back to the heart are damaged or weakened, they become spider veins or varicose veins. You wouldn't want to sport those bulging and snaky bluish blood vessels when wearing shorts or short skirts for ladies. By strengthening the blood walls, Gotu Kola not only prevents blood from leaking but as well as slow down retinopathy in the eyes.
The same thing applies to hemorrhoids, which is a sort of varicose veins, but among anal veins due to too much exertion during a bowel movement. Gotu Kola also strengthens the GI lining among patients with ulcers. But a more severe condition is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), wherein your vein's function has ultimately deteriorated.
It includes those deep veins not visible to the naked eye but is responsible for circulating blood, oxygenated or not, all over our body. Similar to veins, arteries are the same structure-wise. When a health support staff takes your blood pressure, it is the arterial pressure being measured. And the cardiovascular system has both veins and arteries. Having blood clots or low venous tone can lead to chronic venous hypertension in the legs and eventually to CVI.
Prevents High Blood Pressure
Gotu Kola is indicated for the treatment of high blood pressure, blood diseases, rheumatism, and congestive heart failure. As a mild diuretic, it shrinks swollen membranes and helps get rid of body fluids.
For a long time now, Gotu Kola has been used as an oral, topical, and injected treatment for leprosy. And studies have cited its antibacterial effect through asiaticoside's action in damaging bacterial cell walls causing leprosy. By now, the immune system has an easier job of getting rid of the weakened bacteria.
Other Gotu Kola Benefits
Indians used this herb to treat cough, diabetes, skin inflammations, cataracts, and other eye conditions. Malaysians used it to treat asthma and bronchitis, as well as kidney problems, dysentery, and urethra inflammation and swelling they are using it to treat tuberculosis, liver diseases, and blood in the urine. Japanese relied on it for the herb's detoxicant and diuretic properties. Sri Lankans vouch for their ability to prolong life. Those living in South China used it as a diet supplement to promote immune system function and overall health.
What's interesting is there are plenty more health benefits attributed to the use of Gotu Kola. Upon knowing all this herb has to offer, it's not yet too late to incorporate it into your lifestyle and enjoy all these benefits from now on.