Gotu kola (Centella asiatica (L.) Urban), of the Apiaceae family, is also known as centella and pennywort. Native to areas such as Sri Lanka and South Africa, the leaves of this swamp plant have been used around the world for centuries to treat leprosy, cancer, skin disorders, arthritis, hemorrhoids, and tuberculosis.
Gotu kola has also been employed as an energy tonic, an aphrodisiac, and as a treatment for high blood pressure and mental disorders. Gotu kola is a vital herb in Ayurveda, the traditional science of health in India, where it is used to “strengthen both the white and grey matter of the brain”, stimulate learning, memory and alertness, and calm or sedate anxiety when necessary. Traditional Chinese medicinal believed Gotu kola provided longevity, and thus called it the “fountain of youth” herb in China. In the United States gotu kola is found in countless energy formulas and tonics.
A common misconception is that gotu kola contains caffeine, which is simply not true. Researchers have found that gotu kola contains several glycosides that exhibit wound healing and anti-inflammatory activities, and in large doses it can act as a sedative. Other researchers have shown that fresh leaves of the gotu kola plant are effective in healing chronic skin ulcers and other wounds.
Gotu kola contains a group of triterpenes called asiaticosides that possess strong antioxidant properties. In modern health care Gotu Kola is used primarily for venous insufficiency, localized inflammation and infection, and post-surgery recovery. Gotu kola is also used for the following:
* SKIN: Open wounds, sores, ulcers, other infections and radiation ulcers. * CONFINEMENT: Bed sores, phlebitis, tingling, night cramps. * VEIN PROBLEMS: Phlebitis, varicose veins, cellulite and edema. * GYNECOLOGY: Lesions during pregnancy, delivery and obstetric manipulations, and episiotomy tears.
Gotu kola affects various stages of tissue development, including keratinization (the process of replacing skin after sores or ulcers). Asiaticosides stimulate the formation of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin. Gotu Kola has been found to have significant results in healing of skin, other connective tissues, lymph tissue, blood vessels (decreasing capillary fragility), and mucous membranes.