Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu kola, has been referred to as “one of the miracle elixirs of life.” This creeping plant is known in Indian (Ayurvedic) tradition as a rasayana, or rejeuvenative tonic. Its range of medicinal uses is exceptional. According to folklore, one ancient Chinese herbalist lived to over 200 years of age as a result of using Gotu kola.
Medicinal Uses of Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is highly valued for its effectiveness in treating a variety of skin disorders, including leprosy. It provides healing action for wounds and psoriasis. Gotu kola is believed to have a refreshing effect on the mind, and is used to treat depression. European herbalists use the herb to treat the conditions that underlie connective tissue swelling in disorders such as scleroderma, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Modern research has confirmed many of the traditional uses of Gotu kola, and has suggested interesting new uses as well. Gotu kola offers potential for treating high blood pressure and pooling of blood in the veins, known as venous insufficiency. Gotu kola is traditionally used as an herbal therapy for syphillis, ulcers, epilepsy, bronchitis, asthma, and hepatitis.
Gotu Kola Fights Tuberculosis
Gotu kola has a revitalizing effect on the brain and nervous system, and is believed to increase attention span and concentration, counteracting the effects of aging.The plant is valued as a mild adaptogen. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-ulcerogenic stimulant and diuretic properties. Gotu kola also is effective in treating venous insufficiency,and is used in some areas for opium detoxification.
Another interesting use of Gotu kola is seen in its effectiveness against tuberculosis. This effect was studied on guinea pigs which had been infected with tubercle bacillus 15 days previously. The animals were injected with a 4% solution of hydroxyasiaticoside extracted from Gotu kola. The extract was shown to reduct the quantity of tubercular lesions in the lungs, liver, nerve cells and spleen of the infected animals. The extract also decreased the spleen volume of the treated animals. These results show that Gotu kola demonstrates anti-tubercular activity.
Gotu Kola Improves Cardiac Health
Clinical trials have affirmed Gotu kola’s effectiveness in treating venous insufficiency and varicose veins. These conditions are characterized by pooling of blood in the legs and leakage of fluid from the veins due to loss of elasticity. Ninety-four participants in a clinical study reported improvement in their venous insufficiency symptoms after being treated with Gotu kola. In a second study, ultrasound examination of patients with varicose veins showed improvement in vascular tone after treatment with Gotu kola.
Other studies have suggested that Gotu kola has a cardiotonic effect, reducing blood pressure. In a clinical study, patients with heart disease and high blood pressure who took Gotu kola experienced a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure.