Gotu kola has been
important in the medicinal systems of central Asia for
centuries. It was purported in Sri Lanka to prolong life, as
the leaves are commonly eaten by elephants. Numerous skin
diseases, ranging from poorly healing wounds to leprosy,
have been treated with gotu kola. Gotu kola also has a
historical reputation for boosting mental activity and for
helping a variety of systemic illnesses, such as high blood
pressure, rheumatism, fever, and nervous disorders. Some of
its common uses in Ayurvedic medicine include heart disease,
water retention, hoarseness, bronchitis, and coughs in
children and as a poultice for many skin conditions.
is a slender, creeping plant that grows commonly in swampy areas of
India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa and the tropics. Its fan
shaped leaves are about the size of an old British penny - hence its
common names Indian pennywort, marsh penny and water pennywort.
regarded as one of the most spiritual and rejuvenating herbs in
Ayurveda and is used to improve meditation. It is said to develop
the crown chakra, the energy center at the top of the head, and to
balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf
is said to resemble.
kola has been widely used for a number of conditions, particularly
in traditional Eastern health care. In Ayurveda Gotu kola is one of
the chief herbs for revitalizing the nerves and brain cells. It is
said to fortify the immune system, both cleansing and feeding it,
and to strengthen the adrenals.
been used as a tonic for purification of blood and for promoting
healthy skin. It has also been used to aid in restful sleep, treat
skin inflammations, as a treatment for high blood pressure and as a
mild diuretic. Recent studies (1995) demonstrated that Gotu kola
destroyed cultured tumor cells in the laboratory setting (in vitro).
leaves of this swamp plant have been used around the world for
centuries to treat leprosy, cancer, skin disorders, arthritis,
hemorrhoids, and tuberculosis. In recent years, Gotu kola has become
popular in the West as a nerve tonic to promote relaxation and to
herbs calming properties make it well suited for overcoming insomnia
and making one calm for yoga and meditative practices. It is
commonly used to rebuild energy reserves improve memory and treat
fatigue, both mental and physical.
kola has been referred to as "food for the brain". This
oriental herb has demonstrated mild tranquilizing, anti-anxiety and
anti-stress effects, as well as improving mental functions such as
concentration and memory. It has a calming effect on the body and is
chiefly used to support the central nervous system. These beneficial
qualities make Gotu kola an excellent herb for children with A.D.D.
because it has a stimulating effect on the brain that increases
one's ability to focus while having a soothing and relaxing effect
on an overactive nervous system.
kola is often confused with kola nut. Due to this confusion, some
people assume the rejuvenating properties of Gotu kola are due to
the stimulating effects of caffeine contained in kola nut. In fact,
Gotu kola is not related to kola nut and contains no caffeine. There
are three main chemical constituents in Gotu kola. The first is
asiaticoside, which is a triterpene glycoside and classified as an
antibiotic. It aids in wound healing and has been used in the
treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis in the Far East. The second
constituent is a pair of chemicals, brahmoside and brahminoside,
which are saponin glycosides. These are diuretic in nature and have
a slightly sedative action in large doses. Finally, there is
madecassoside, a glycoside that is a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
The plant is also a source of Vitamin K, magnesium, calcium and
Kola has been found to have significant results in healing of skin,
other connective tissues, lymph tissue, blood vessels, and mucous
membranes. Researchers have found that Gotu kola contains several
glycosides that exhibit wound healing and anti-inflammatory
activities and that asiaticosides stimulate the formation of lipids
and proteins necessary for healthy skin.
kola affects various stages of tissue development, including
keratinization (the process of replacing skin after sores or
ulcers), the synthesis of collagen (the first step in tissue
repair), the stimulation of hair and nail growth, and support for
the repair of cartilage. Gotu kola has been effectively used in the
treatment of second and third degree burns. It has been shown to
decrease healing time and reduce scar tissue formation.
studies show that Gotu kola also has a positive effect on the
circulatory system. It seems to improve the flow of blood throughout
the body by strengthening the veins and capillaries. Gotu kola has
been shown to be particularly useful for people who are inactive or
confined to bed due to illness.
has been used successfully to treat phlebitis (inflammation of the
veins), varicose veins, as well as leg cramps, swelling of the legs,
and "heaviness" or tingling in the legs. In modern health
care it has been used for venous insufficiency, localized
inflammation and infection, and post-surgery recovery.