Library of Nature: Gotu Kola
Bearing round, cupped leaves and small white or crimson flowers, Gotu Kola is a popular culinary and medicinal herb that grows in the wetlands in Asia. It belongs to the Apiaceae family of plants, popularly known as the parsley or carrot family. It has been a staple medicinal herb in traditional Chinese, Indian (Ayurveda), and Indonesian medicine for thousands of years. Prized for its potent health boosting properties, Gotu Kola is often regarded as the ‘herb of longevity’ or ‘the fountain of life’.
It’s also known with the names of Indian pennywort and Asiatic pennywort. In the scientific world, the herb is called Centella Asiatica.
Let’s explore this useful herb, its use through history, and evaluate the medicinal benefits of Gotu Kola.
A Brief History of Gotu Kola’s Use
Gotu Kola gained the reputation of a longevity herb because of an ancient legend according to which the herb helped a Chinese herbalist lived for over 200 years.It is also mentioned as the ‘fountain of life’ in Shennong Ben Cao Jing (The Herbal Classic of Shen Nong) – a historical Chinese book on herbalism and medicinal plants written by the legendary herbalist Shennong in the 3rd century.
In addition to boosting overall health and wellbeing, the herb was believed to have powerful brain boosting and healing properties. Throughout history, the herb was commonly used to improve cognitive function, stimulate or speed up wound healing, and relieve various skin conditions.
Some people also used it for respiratory infections, fever, and some stomach-related issues.
Health Benefits of Gotu Kola
Following are some of the ways Gotu Kola can help improve health and well-being:
· It Can Help Improve Cognitive Function
Gotu Kola has been popularly used as a brain tonic and memory aid for a long time. In Ayurveda, it is termed as a mental rejuvenator and is known for its high efficiency in reducing mental fatigue and improving mental clarity. Research studies, both animal and human, have also found positive evidence regarding the brain boosting properties of Gotu Kola.
One research that compared the effects of Gotu Kola on the brain with that of folic acid on patients with cognitive impairment due to stroke found that both were equally effective in improving overall cognitive function. However, Gotu Kola was more beneficial in improving memory domains.
· It Helps Improve Circulation and Reduce Swelling (in Legs)
In the US and Europe, Gotu Kola is now commonly used for conditions that cause poor (abnormal) blood circulation in legs; venous insufficiency and varicose veins. The herb not only helps regulate blood circulation, but also provide relief from the associated symptoms, such as swelling. A research study found that Gotu Kola is also effective for fluid retention, swelling of ankles, and circulation issues that many people experience during or after long flights.
· It Can Help With Stress and Anxiety
Research shows that Gotu Kola has powerful anti-anxiety properties. The herb helps calm the nerves and promotes a healthy stress response in the body. It also acts as an antioxidant and offers protection against oxidative stress.
The anxiety relieving properties of Gotu Kola are associated with Asiatic acid, which is found to help regulate the activity of the GABA neurotransmitter.
Even though Gotu Kola is gaining popularity in the west as a viable alternative treatment for leg-related circulatory issues, it’s still a significantly underrated herb. It has a lot more to offer. It has not been known as a ‘longevity herb’ for no reason.
Consult an herbal expert to determine how this powerful herb can help improve your health and wellness. As far as getting your hands on pure Gotu Kola formulations is concerned, we’ve got you covered. At HerbEra, we offer 100% pure and organic Gotu Kola tincture and capsules to help you get maximum benefits from this incredible ancient herb.