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Gotu kola information

Introduction to Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu Kola is an ancient herb used traditionally in East Indian "Ayurvedic" medicine for wound healing and leprosy. This herb has existed in the fringes of European herbalism for many years as well, having been used in France in the 1880's. Ayurvedic medicine refers to Gotu Kola as "brahmi", which means "godlike", a reference to its anti-aging properties and to its use as an aid to meditation. It is considered by Ayurveda practitioners to be the most spiritual of all herbs.

Gotu Kola is a small herbaceous plant found growing mostly in the damp areas of India, China, Indonesia, Australia, the South Pacific, Madagascar, and Africa. In the past, some people have reportedly confused it with Cola (or "Kola") nut, and incorrectly attributed its activity to caffeine. Gotu Kola does not contain any caffeine. It is a jungle creeper found in hot moist climates and is a delicious vegetable when eaten in a salad. Some health food stores and juice bars have the fresh leaves available.

One of the more popular modern uses for Gotu Kola is to maintain and improve memory function. Some research into this use has found Gotu Kola to exhibit a mild anti-anxiety, anti-stress and tranquilizing action, which may improve mental function. In addition, Gotu Kola may help improve circulation to the brain, and protect the brain against oxidative damage due to aging. In this manner, Gotu Kola is thought to have actions similar to those of Ginkgo. A 1992 study in rats showed an impressive improvement in memory. The treated rats retained learned behavior 3 to 60 times better than the untreated rats. More recently, a new study conducted in Korea shows that components in Gotu Kola show potential for treating Alzheimer's disease.

Use of Gotu Kola may be beneficial in conditions involving varicose veins and venous insufficiency (a hardening of the veins and loss of circulation to the extremities). Research has found Gotu Kola to be effective through its effect on connective tissue, which is an important structural component of veins. Gotu Kola has also shown that it may have the ability to lessen hardening of the arteries and to increase blood flow to the veins. In clinical studies, a decrease in many of the symptoms and physical findings accompanying venous insufficiency and varicose veins, such as feelings of heaviness in the lower legs, tingling sensations, night cramps, spider veins, and edema was also observed.

The active ingredients of Gotu Kola are Asiatiocosides and Triterpenes. Triterpines are steroid-like compounds, which have a balancing effect on connective tissues. These triterpenes are thought to improve the function and integrity of the collagen matrix and support the "ground substance," the basic "glue" that holds the cells of our bodies together. It has been used to prevent the development of keloid (bulging, enlarged) scars following surgery, as well as to soften existing keloids. Gotu Kola has also been tried as a treatment for improving burn and wound healing and to alleviate the symptoms of the connective tissue disease, scleroderma.

The oral use of Gotu Kola extract has produced few reported side effects. Ingestion of Gotu Kola has been reported to cause intense itching over the whole body, and may cause photosensitization some people.

Since Gotu Kola is basically a mild salad vegetable, the dose can be very high. For acute skin disease, use one to two ounces of dry herb, by weight, as a tea, per day. Many people use a modest dose of 1 gram per day in capsules for daily rejuvenation. Try a cup of Gotu Kola tea with honey before meditation. It contains many nutritional properties that support the body's vitality and feed the nervous system, such as vitamins A, B, E, G and K, and magnesium.

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Mazatec Garden describes the common uses of many herbs. This is for informational purposes only, as we are not advising or prescribing herbs for any specific medical condition or for any specific use. Distribute this information freely.

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