There is an important Ayurvedic herb that I want to talk to about, and that is Gotu Kola! Cantella asiatica has been thought of as a promoter for longevity and used by South East Asian cultures for millennia. It grows in the Himalayas and was used by yogis for meditation, as it has been said to develop the crown chakra (at the top of the head) and is a very spiritual herb. In Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine it was used for many health issues. In fact, a study in 2018 that examined the indigenous uses of plants as medicine in Northern Bengal of India, found that among the 100 plant species used locally, gotu kola was the most widely used, and for conditions such as diabetes, pain, jaundice, typhoid, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and dysentery.
Dosha – VPK =
Taste: bitter, sweet, astringent
Parts used: aerial parts
Gotu kola has carotenoids, B vitamins, vitamin C, protein, minerals, flavonoids, volatile oils, tannins, polyphenols. It also has asiaticoside and madecassoside which are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. It also contains Asiatic acid and saponins. These ingredients make gotu kola good for inflammation, memory, wound healing, and promote collagen.
Gotu Kola is known for skin healing and skin issues. Ayurveda used it for wounds, burns, scratches, eczema and skin inflammation. It promotes collagen and healing of scar tissue. Research has shown it improves wounds, burns, and psoriasis by increasing collagen synthesis, hyaluronic acid content, and inhibiting inflammation and scar formation. Studies on people also showed beneficial effects on cellulite. Madecassoside is prescribed in Asia for wound healing and scars.
Nervous System and Memory
Gotu kola was used in Ayurveda as a nerve tonic. In fact it has shown in many studies to be neuroprotective and enhance memory. It promotes enhanced scores on intelligence tests. It improves memory and cognitive function. Gotu kola promotes axonal regeneration following nerve damage. Madecassoside and Asiatic acid are agents that decrease neuroinflammation. Gotu kola has shown promising results in Alzheimer’s disease studies as well.
Gotu Kola has shown anti-stress and reduction of anxiety properties in humans.
Gotu kola helps reduce arterial plaque and Asiaticoside is anti-inflammatory and inhibits early events of atherosclerosis.
Gotu kola helps protect against stomach ulcers and protects the mucosal lining of the stomach, where ulcers form.
How to take Gotu Kola
You can eat gotu kola as a leafy green mixed with other greens in salads (such as Gotu Kola Sambola from Sri Lanka) or cooked into various recipes. You can make a tea, or blend some leaves into a smoothie. You can also blend gotu kola leaves alone into a smoothie and then use a strainer to separate the juice and drink it this way.
You can also find Gotu Kola in the form of pills, powders, tinctures, teas, and the dry herb, or even grow your own! There are many ways you can benefit from taking this wonderful herb!
Xu Y et al. Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) extract enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008 Apr;13(3):341-9.
Hossain S et al. Medicinal value of asiaticoside for Alzheimer’s disease as assessed using single-molecule-detection fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, laser-scanning microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and in silico docking. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Apr 14;15:118.
Soumyanath A et al. Centella asiatica accelerates nerve regeneration upon oral administration and contains multiple active fractions increasing neurite elongation in-vitro. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;57(9):1221-9.
Belcaro G et al. Pycnogenol® and Centella asiatica to prevent asymptomatic atherosclerosis progression in clinical events. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2017 Feb;65(1):24