It is not very well known in the Balkans, but it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Gotu kola, Centella asiatica, is native to India. Today, this perennial creeper grows in the tropics and subtropics and on wetlands; in addition to India, it mostly grows in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, China, Madagascar, a little bit in eastern Europe, Australia and southern Africa, at about 1,800 metres above sea level. It belongs to the same plant family as parsley, although it does not look like it: it has cute, round bright green leaves, has no smell or taste, but can be eaten as salad because it is full of vitamins and minerals. However, it is more used in natural medicine because the whole plant is medicinal.
Gotu kola should not be confused with the plant called Cola nitida, which contains caffeine and is used as an aroma in popular drinks, and was once an important ingredient in Coca-Cola. Gotu kola has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to detoxify the blood, regulate blood pressure, revitalise the nervous system, strengthen memory and, in general, for longevity. Old pharmacopoeias mentioned its positive effect on a number of disorders, from depression to leprosy. In India it is known as mandukparni and is mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery called Sushruta Samhita. In China, where it has been used for over 2,000 years, it is considered to be one of the miraculous elixirs of life. Indeed, Gotu kola has always been used for a variety of disorders, from cardiovascular to respiratory and nervous disorders, or simply to slow down the ageing process and preserve beautiful skin.
WHAT MAKES GOTU KOLA MEDICINAL?
What is it about this plant that has earned it the title of a miracle cure for all ailments? The main ingredients of Gotu kola are:
- Triterpene saponins (triterpenoids), complex glycosides thanks to which the plant can grow and flourish even in seemingly impossible conditions. When these compounds are used for medical purposes, they very effectively promote wound healing and proper vascularisation of tissues. Asiaticoside has been shown to have healing properties by promoting collagen production and angiogenesis.
- Centelloside, a terpenoid in addition to brachmoside, tankuniside, brahmic and isobrahmic acid, has shown exceptional efficacy in treating venous hypertension.
- Sterols – kempesterol, beta sitosterol and stigmasterol preserve immunity, protect cells from malignancy, contribute to normal cell growth and division, as well as apoptosis. They are especially useful in regulating cholesterol and maintaining prostate health.
- Flavonoids – quercetin, rutin and kaempferol reduce irritation and swelling.
- Tannins are natural astringents and effectively stop bleeding.
- Alkaloids, hydrocodone in particular, are natural analgesics – they relieve pain.
- Polyacetylene has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, cytotoxic and antitumor effects.
- In addition to all these medicinal ingredients, Gotu kola is rich in minerals and vitamins: C, A, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin, as well as fatty acids – omega 3, omega 6, oleic, palmitic, stearic and lignocaine.
Once we learn about the precious ingredients found in this little plant, it becomes evident why it is so appreciated.
GOTU KOLA, VEINS, WOUNDS, HAEMORRHOIDS
One of the frequent uses of Gotu kola is for chronic venous insufficiency and microangiopathy, disorders in the functioning of small blood vessels. Gotu kola extract improves connective tissue, synthesis of collagen and other proteins by accelerating the work of fibroblasts in vein walls, stimulates collagen remodelling inside and around vein walls, in a way that simultaneously prevents excessive accumulation of collagen in scars. By improving microcirculation in the capillaries, Gotu kola prevents oedema and venous hypertension, so it helps with symptoms such as swelling, discomfort in the extremities, pain, cramps and tired legs. It is especially useful in diabetic microangiopathy – swelling of the joints in diabetics, diabetic foot problems and similar conditions.
Just as it affects veins and capillaries, Gotu kola has the same effect on haemorrhoids. As haemorrhoids are sacks composed of connective tissue and veins at the exit of the anal canal, once inflamed, it is necessary to calm the veins in them, but also the mucous membrane that swells and may burst and bleed. This medicinal plant regulates blood circulation, soothes inflammation, accelerates tissue healing and alleviates irritation, itching and tingling. It has the same effect on wounds, burns, cuts, abrasions … But even more than that, it can preserve our beauty.
By accelerating the synthesis of collagen, Gotu kola contributes to the elasticity of the skin, reduces scars, including those from acne, soothes wrinkles and slows down the skin ageing process. As a powerful antioxidant, this plant neutralises the negative effects of UV rays, prevents photoaging and its accompanying symptoms – blemishes, freckles, uneven complexion, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.
It is often used in dermatology: by regulating microcirculation and capillary health and by reducing redness and swelling, it can help with rosacea and skin prone to irritations, and as a powerful blood detoxifier it also helps with the most complicated skin diseases, eczema and psoriasis. With regular use of Gotu kola our complexion becomes even, the skin is hydrated with visibly reduced wrinkles and inflammation and it looks rejuvenated. Health and beauty are united and their bond in this plant seems unbreakable.
But that is not all – positive effects of Gotu kola are endless. It improves cognitive functions: in China it is also called the grass of memory because it prevents dementia, accelerates brain activity and balances the work of the nervous system, so it is also valuable for women during menopause. As it calms tension, it is used against anxiety and depression. Its ability to increase the level of the neurotransmitter GABA – gamma aminobutyric acid – in the brain explains its traditional use for leprosy and epilepsy. Its triterpenoids strengthen the heart muscle and regulate pressure. It protects the mucous membrane of the digestive system and prevents ulcers. It also has a strong antimicrobial effect against herpes. With its antitumor properties, Gotu kola prevents even the most serious diseases: breast, prostate, liver and lung cancer.
That is why it is not accidental that this miraculous “source of youth” has reached Herba Svet laboratory. In the top-quality Devi Sensitive Rescue Serum, Gotu kola contributes to soothing sensitive skin prone to rosacea, redness, seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis. This serum has anti-inflammatory and soothing action; in addition to hydrating the skin and making it feel supple, it also has a beneficial effect on the signs of ageing – wrinkles, blemishes and uneven complexion.
In Plantis H balm, Gotu kola prevents the formation of haemorrhoids and alleviates their unpleasant symptoms. This balm is rich in valuable ingredients that have an anti-inflammatory effect, strengthen connective tissue and also alleviate symptoms such as itching, irritation, pain and bleeding.
Yes, Gotu kola is truly a miraculous remedy for all ailments and a source of inexhaustible youth. It is there for us – we just need to take advantage of it.
The following products contain this plant: