Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), also known as Asian pennywort, is a perennial with small kidney-shaped leaves.
It has been shown to boost brain function and is effective in treating wounds and varicose veins.
Described as “a pharmacy in one herb”, gotu kola contains vitamins A, B, C and D and minerals including calcium, chromium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, selenium, silica and zinc.
It has been used for thousands of years in India and China to improve mental clarity, heal wounds and treat respiratory infections.
Gotu kola is commonly used today to treat varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where blood vessels lose their elasticity, causing blood to pool in the legs, which then become swollen.
Gotu kola is one of the most important rejuvenating herbs, particularly valued for revitalising nerve and brain cells, improving reflexes, helping digestion and promoting calmness.
It is also a herb that students have used for renewing mental alertness and energy levels without the ‘jitteriness’ some people may experience with coffee.
Gotu kola also contains compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to help heal wounds.
“Some studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, suggest that triterpenoids strengthen the skin, boost antioxidants in wounds and increase blood supply to the area”. “Based on these findings, gotu kola has been applied to the skin, or topically, for minor burns, psoriasis, preventing scars after surgery, and preventing or reducing stretch marks.”
Gotu Kola is a nervine tonic that enhances learning, academic performance and improves mental ability. It acts as an anti-anxiety agent and is used to treat several mental disorders. It also calms restlessness in children. It is used as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability.
Used in Ayurveda for centuries, Gotu Kola supports the normal function of the mind, intellect, consciousness and good spirit.
The herb contains the alkaloids brahmine, herpestine and a mixture of three bases. The herb also contains the saponins, hersaponin and bacosides A and B. Bacosides A and B possess haemolytic activity. Hersaponin has cardiotonic and sedative properties.
Key therapeutic benefits:
Gotu Kola promotes intelligence, particularly the power of retention. It relieves nervous irritation or agitation. It is used traditionally for enhancing memory and for treating psychosis, epilepsy and anxiety.
Gotu Kola can elevate the level of cerebral glutamic acid and temporarily increase the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) level in the brain. It is believed that the endogenous increase in brain glutamine may be helpful in the learning process.