Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Article by Erika Kerzon

Gotu Kola is considered to be one of the most spiritual and consciousness-expanding herbs in India. It is used by yogis and health-minded people alike to improve meditation, memory and intelligence. The Sanskrit name is Brahmi, Latin name Centella asiatica. It is a small green leaf with potent neurological effects that ironically resembles the human brain. It had powerful and synergizing effects on the mind, body and spirit.

Of particular interest is Gotu Kola’s ability to restore neuron function and improve memory. The dendrite is the part of the neuron that the electrical signal travels down and neurotransmitters are exchanged; Gotu Kola promotes dendrite branching and elongation. It also protects the neurons from apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Furthermore, recent studies have found that Gotu Kola has protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, neurotoxicity from chemicals, depression, anxiety and epilepsy. Gotu Kola does this by combating oxidative stress as it acts both as an antioxidant and enhances antioxidant production.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, Gotu Kola is considered a rasyana or rejuvenative, impart due to its ability to restore balance and harmony in the body. It’s ability to improve blood quality and circulation most likely contribute to its rejuvenating qualities. Gotu Kola has a compound in it called Beta-sitosterol which helps lower serum cholesterol and also assists in the breakdown of diseased cells, making it easier for the immune system to clean them out. In addition, it is postulated that Gotu Kola strengthens weakened veins and assists in the maintenance of connective tissue, including the tissue that lines the vascular wall. It reportedly accomplishes this by stimulating the formation of hyaluronidase and chondroitin, two enzymes needed for connective tissue repair and maintenance.

Image courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr

Topically, Gotu Kola is a potent wound healer and has been traditionally used in this way for many years. One study found that application of an ointment with Gotu Kola extract applied to open wounds in rats 3 times daily for 24 days increased cellular proliferation, collagen synthesis, and tensile strength of the resulting collagen. Asiaticoside, an active compound in Gotu Kola has been shown to not only stimulate collagen synthesis and increase tensile strength of the resulting collagen but it also inhibits the inflammatory response preventing hypertrophy of scars and improves capillary permeability in the affected area. In another study, an alcoholic extract of Gotu Kola applied to wounds of rats showed that collagen cells cross-linked faster and more efficiently than the control.

This miracle herb even has beneficial effects on the digestive system as well. It has been found that Gotu Kola inhibits gastric lesions from forming and strengths the gastric mucosal barrier. Therefore, those that suffer from ulcers will find great value in this herb. Studies have shown that Gotu Kola accomplishes this by increasing mucin secretion and mucosal cell glycoproteins, both signifying an increase in mucous and overall protection from gastric ulcers.

Gotu Kola is a powerful and healing herb that has been treasured and used since ancient times. These claims have been tested and supported by modern scientific research. You can include Gotu Kola in your health and wellness regime in the form of tea, tincture, or capsule. Be well!

About the Author:

I’m Erica and I have been a registered nurse for two years and received my Biology degree from The University of Colorado Denver. I am originally from Colorado but have spent the last five months on an organic farm in Kaui. I love all things herbalism and natural healing and have healed myself from hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue. Love to listen to podcasts, surf, watch documentaries and educational Youtube videos, do yoga, and be outdoors.

 

 

References:

Gohil, Kashmira J., Jagruti A. Patel, and Anuradha K. Gajjar. “Pharmacological Review on Centella Asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-All.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 72.5 (2010): 546–556. PMC. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.

Lokanathan, Yogeswaran et al. “Recent Updates in Neuroprotective and Neuroregenerative Potential of Centella Asiatica.” The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences : MJMS 23.1 (2016): 4–14. Print.

Faerman, Justin. “Gotu Kola: The Ancient Indian Herb of Enlightenment and Longevity.” Gotu Kola: The Extraordinary Benefits of the Herb of Longevity. N.p., 04 Mar. 2017. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

“Gotu Kola Benefits & Information (Centella Asiatica).” Herbwisdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

“Free Herb Information – GOTU KOLA.” Free Herb Information – GOTU KOLA. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

 

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