Gotu Kola or “Source of Life” from a Herbal Pharmacy in Distant China
According to legend, a Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years because he used gotu kola, also known as the “source of life”, every day.
Known in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, gotu kola has been used to treat wounds, improve mental function, treat skin diseases, hepatitis, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. Today it is used to treat varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency and to improve memory.
Centella asiatica (Apiaceae), known in our country as gotu kola, is a herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The above-ground part of the plant is used for medicinal purposes. Gotu kola is a perennial plant. It has kidney-like leaves, growing in the wetlands of South Africa, South America, Australia and India.
Historically, this herb has been used to treat wounds, improve mental function, treat skin conditions (such as psoriasis), treat hepatitis, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. This plant was also called the “source of life” because, according to legend, a Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years only because he consumed it every day. Today, this herb is used to treat varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency and to improve memory. A standardized extract (standardized for 10 percent asiaticoside) is used to make gotu kola preparations.
What does this herb contain?
This healing herb contains saponins, essential oils, fatty acids, amino acids, flavonoids, polyphenols, tannins and carotenoids. The main component -asiaticoside (triterpenoid substance) which has anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects. It is a substance that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain, causing faster blood flow and a better oxygen supply.
Dried greens containing various biologically active substances are used for medicinal preparations. The specific composition of gotu kola has also important beneficial effect on veins, which is why it is used in preparations for the treatment and relief of vascular system problems. The chemical composition of gotu kola directly affects the prevention of the process of venous varicose veins, i.e. it reduces the problems with varicose veins (varicose veins) that already exist.
About the application of gotu kola we know:
– In phytotherapy it is used in rheumatic diseases and superficial wounds that heal slowly. Gotu kola contains triterpenoids. According to researches, it is shown that these compounds help in healing wounds.
– Some studies indicate that these active substances – triterpenoids, strengthen the skin and increase blood flow in the area. Based on this evidence, gotu kola is used for minor burns, preventing scars after surgery, and preventing or reducing stretch marks.
– They can also be used topically in the treatment of cellulite. Creams that contain gotu kola are very good and appreciated for healing wounds and reducing the size of scars and in the fight against aging.
– Gotu kola is used to treat bacterial and viral infections, such as urinary tract infections, flu, colds…
– It is more often used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, mental disorders, to improve memory.
– Recent research confirms the neuroprotective effect, enhances working memory and increases memory potential. The same chemicals – triterpenoids reduce anxiety and increase mental function. Clinical studies examining the effectiveness of gotu kola on anxiety have used very high doses, so it is impossible to say at what dose it can be used to treat anxiety.
– Numerous actions are attributed to her (anti-stress, antianxiety, antioxidant, diuretic, immunomodulatory) and effects (stimulates skin regeneration and wound healing, ensures better metabolism, revitalizes nerves, improves tissue and organ oxygenation).
– Clinical studies have proven the property of stimulating blood flow, improvement of blood circulation in the brain and in the legs and undoubted efficacy in chronic venous weakness. When blood vessels lose elasticity, fluid leaks out of them causing swelling of the legs (venous insufficiency). Several clinical studies prove that taking gotu kola can reduce swelling and improve blood flow. Gotu kola is the best plant for brain cells and the entire nervous system. It nourishes and rejuvenates them. In combination with ginkgo, which improves circulation (especially in the brain), it is used against all forms of dementia (elderly senility, forgetfulness).
More than 30 years ago, many scientific studies of Gotu Kola were conducted
in the West.
Studies have shown that children with brain damage, who took gotu kola for a period of 12 weeks, were significantly more attentive and focused. It has been clinically proven to help people with ADHD (attention deficit disorder) and memory loss.
Modern research speaks in favor of the fact that this plant could be an excellent natural aid to students and pupils. It can help with exam preparation and learning, as it increases concentration, the ability to master the material and memory.
Many also see hope in Gothic colic for people with Alzheimer’s disease, because it shows the possibility of regaining a certain part of the lost memory.
When taking gotu kola, it is necessary to adhere to certain precautions.
– This preparation is safe when used orally. Side effects are rare, but there is a possibility of liver damage, stomach upset, nausea, itchy skin. If taken more than prescribed, it causes drowsiness.
– It must not be given to pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with liver damage. If you are using this product and are planning a surgical procedure, it is important to know that you must stop using it at least two weeks before the procedure.
– Not intended for persons under 18 years of age. The dose needs to be adjusted in people over 65 years of age.
– People who have melanoma or have had a cancerous history should not take these preparations.
Gotu kola interacts with sedatives and drugs that otherwise damage the liver, such as amiodarone, simvastatin, lovastatin, itraconazole… People with diabetes should consult their doctor before taking this preparation.
If you use a diuretic, caution is needed: there may be increased fluid loss from the body, because gotu kola also shows diuretic effects.
Gotu kola also acts as a sedative, so caution should be exercised in people who use sedatives, as the effect of the drug may be increased. The same goes for herbal preparations, such as valerian.