|Binomial Name||Centella Asiatica|
Gotu Kola is a perennial herb that belongs to the parsley family and it is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the wellness industry. Although it may seem like this a nutrient-packed herb is gaining popularity only recently, it has been in a staple in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years! In China, centella asiatica is often used to treat respiratory infections like colds. This herb has been called “the fountain of life” because according to an old legend, an ancient Chinese herbalist lived over 200 years by consuming centella asiatica. Gotu Kola plays a vital role in many southeast Asian traditional foods and medicines. Even today, Gotu Kola is widely consumed as a supplement to boost cognitive abilities, improve cardiovascular health and strengthen the immune system. It is also one of the most sought-after herbs in the skincare industry due to the skin rejuvenating and wound healing properties that Gotu Kola possesses.
Gotu Kola is a type of plant that grows and thrives in moist areas, it is mostly found in tropical and subtropical countries like India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Indonesia, South Africa and in South Pacific. Depending on the conditions of the environment where this medicinal herb grows, it’s appearance can change. The entire plant can be used for consumption and medicinal purposes, however only the leaves and the stems of this herb are most commonly used for medicinal purposes. It bears small flowers that vary in colour from white to purple, and small oval-shaped fruits. The herb has no taste, it is odourless and it has small fan-shaped leaves that resemble the size of an old British penny; hence it is often called as Indian Pennywort. It is also commonly called as Centella Asiatica, Brahma-Buti and Brahma-Manduki.
Gotu Kola leaves and roots hold key constituents which help the body to boost cognitive function, maintain healthy neurotransmitter function and fortify the immune system. In Indian and a few other Asian cultures, the leaves and roots of the Gotu Kola plant are used to improve the health of skin, hair and nails. Centella asiatica is reported to have chemical compounds namely Triterpenoids, volatile and fatty acids, alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, and vitamin B, C, G and some other amino acids.
Boosts Brain Power:
A study conducted in 2016 examined the effects of Gotu kola and folic acid in boosting cognitive function on a group of patients who had suffered a stroke. While folic acid was also beneficial, the study proved that Gotu Kola was more effective in improving cognitive function.
It May Help Prevent And Treat Alzheimer’s Disease:
Gotu Kola can help strengthen your body’s nerve function and improve memory, hence making the herb a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted in 2012 proved that when Gotu Kola was orally administered to rats with Alzheimer’s disease, it had a positive effect on their behavioural abnormalities.
Reduces Anxiety And Stress:
Gotu Kola has calming properties which help soothe an overactive nervous system. The Aqueous extract from centella asiatica showed significant effects on cognitive functions. This medicinal herb is also useful to treat dementia, anxiety and other mental disorders. Hence, this herb has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine as a natural remedy to improve one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
May Help Insomnia:
Since Gotu Kola has the perceived ability to reduce anxiety and stress, many believe that this herb can also help cure mild insomnia. A study carried out in 2008 on the effects of centella asiatica on mild cognitive impairment and other common age-related clinical problems showed that the participants who consumed this herb experienced favourable effects in diastolic blood pressure, insomnia and loss of appetite.
Skin Rejuvenation Benefits:
You may have heard or come across the term Centella Asiatica while shopping for beauty products. From soothing serums to clarifying creams, this herb has proven to be one of the most popular ingredients in the skincare and wellness industry and with good reason! The terpenoids found in Gotu Kola help improve the collagen production of the body, hence improving the skin’s elasticity. When applied topically, it can also reduce inflammation, redness and help fade hyperpigmentation and scars.
In the 1900s, Indian pharmacopoeia started incorporating Gotu Kola and its extract. Not only did it promote wound healing, but it was also recommended to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers and eczema. In a study that examined the effects of centella asiatica extract on dermal wound healing in rats concluded that the herb’s extract increased cellular proliferation and collagen synthesis at the wound site. The results of the study show that centella asiatica created different actions during the phases of the wound repair.