Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) other names: Brahma-Buti, Brahma-Manduki, Centellase, Centella asiatica, Centella Asi├ítica, Centella Asiatique, Centella coriacea, Divya, Gota Kola, Hydrocotyle asiatica, Hydrocotyle Asiatique, Hydrocotyle Indien, Indischer Wassernabel, Indian Pennywort, Indian Water Navelwort, Ji Xue Cao, Khulakhudi, Luei Gong Gen, Luo De Da, Madecassol, Mandukaparni, Manduk Parani, Mandukig, Marsh Penny, TTFCA, Talepetrako, Thick-Leaved Pennywort, Tsubo-kusa, Tungchian, White Rot.

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) flower

Gotu kola is a slender herb found growing as a perennial in much of the tropics. The gotu kola has peculiar shaped leaves, which have an almost smooth surface and are shaped like a kidney or almost heart shaped. The gotu kola also bears dark purple flower petals; these appendages give the form of the plant somewhat of an exquisite or fragile appearance. The plant is very hard to cultivate, and many efforts to do so have often failed, though the plant is rather obstinate and hardy in the wild and grows as a weed in many places. For example, gotu kola subjected to spraying with herbicides, will result in only the death of the leaves, the root of the plant on the other hand seems to thrive on these harmful substances. The plants growing as weeds still proliferate amazingly well even following one good spraying.

Much of the swampy areas in tropical countries such as India and Sri Lanka, in South Africa, and the other tropical regions of the New World have thriving populations of this creeping perennial herb. Gotu kola is the common name of the herb; however, the herb is also called the hydrocotyle or the Indian pennywort in many places where it grows.

Traditionally the people of Sri Lanka have observed that one of the longest living mammals, the elephants fed extensively on the plant in the wild. This may have been the initial cause for the use of gotu kola and its subsequent reputation as a promoter of longevity in people who eat it. It is commonly held that the consumption of a few leaves of the gotu kola every day will "strengthen and revitalize worn out bodies and brains." At the same time, traditionally, herbalists have used the gotu kola in treating people affected by all sorts of mental troubles, by high blood pressure problems, by the presence of abscesses, by rheumatism, and it has also been used in the treatment of fever, in treating ulcers, in treating cases of leprosy, problems like skin eruptions, all sorts of nervous disorders, as well as jaundice. A considerable reputation that the herb has acquired in recent times, is as an “aphrodisiac ”- a chemical agent that has an ability to stimulate and promote sexual desire as well as heighten sexual ability in people. In Sri Lanka, the crushed leaves of gotu kola are commonly eaten, either in the form of a hot beverage or as a green salad.

The gotu kola grows native in most of the tropics, though gotu kola is believed to be a native species of India; it also grows in the wild in the southern US states. At the same time, wild populations of the gotu kola herb are also seen growing in the tropical and subtropical parts of Australia, the Southern parts of Africa, as well as the South American tropics. The gotu kola herb tends to prefer marshy areas and riverbanks in the tropics. While it is hard to grow, the gotu kola is cultivated from seeds during the spring season, while commercially it is usually gathered from the wild. Harvesting of the aerial parts of the herb is usually carried out throughout the year in many places.

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Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Health Benefits

Gotu kola is an herb that is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine.

Gotu kola is used to treat bacterial, viral, or parastitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, H1N1 (swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.

In the ancient Indian system of medicine known as ayurveda, the gotu kola has been used for thousands of years and has a prominent position in all ayurvedic medicine. In this ancient system, remedies made from the gotu kola are used especially for the treatment of leprosy, all kinds of skin ulcers, and all skin problems in general.

Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs.

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) leaves

The power of rejuvenation is attributed to the gotu kola, this particular reputation as a "rejuvenator," herb has been linked to the gotu kola for a long time. The gotu kola is believed to aid mental concentration as well as memory in people. Remedies made from the gotu kola are also used to boost fertility and are used in the role of a tonic for improving poor digestion as well as in the treatment of rheumatism in different people.

Some people use gotu kola for sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis), jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, asthma, “tired blood” (anemia), diabetes, and for helping them live longer.

The gotu kola is used in treating children for dysentery, a few freshly plucked leaves of the herb is given to the affected children along with the daily meal. Gotu kola remedies are also believed to be helpful in the treatment of fevers, as well as in alleviating all kinds of abdominal disorders, in the treatment of asthma, and in the treatment of bronchitis. The gotu kola is also used in the form of an oil extract to promote hair growth in people affected by balding and hair loss.

Gotu kola medications are mainly utilized in the treatment of skin problems and topical wounds, this is despite the reputation it has as a tonic herb. The anti-inflammatory action of the gotu kola is also now being considered to be effective and helpful and it is normally given for the herbal treatment of rheumatism, problems like rheumatoid arthritis, and in cases of poor venous circulation affecting patients.

Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire.

Gotu kola is sometimes applied to the skin for wound healing and reducing scars, includiung stretch marks caused by pregnancy.

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Side effects

Gotu kola is possibly safe in pregnant women when applied to the skin. However, not enough is known about the safety of taking gotu kola by mouth during pregnancy. Avoid taking gotu kola by mouth if you are pregnant. There also is not enough reliable information about the safety of using gotu kola during breast-feeding. Avoid using any form of gotu kola if you are nursing.

Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) plant

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Gotu kola is possibly safe in pregnant women when applied to the skin. But don’t take it by mouth. Not enough is known about the safety of taking gotu kola orally. There also isn’t enough known about the safety of using gotu kola during breast-feeding. Avoid using it if you are nursing.

Liver disease: There is concern that gotu kola might cause liver damage. People who already have a liver disease such as hepatitis should avoid using gotu kola. It might make liver problems worse.

Surgery: Gotu kola might cause too much sleepiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop using gotu kola at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.