The active ingredients in gotu kola include:
For many years, herbalists have been using gotu kola for the treatment of skin conditions like leprosy and psoriasis, respiratory infections such as colds and bronchitis, syphilis, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, diarrhea, fever, asthma and mental fatigue.
Benefits of gotu kola
Studies show that gotu kola helps reduce swelling and improves circulation in legs, making it an effective natural treatment for venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Venous insufficiency is characterised by swelling of the legs as a result of fluid leaking out of blood vessels when blood pools in the leg area.
Gotu kola contains triterpenoids, chemical compounds that strengthen the skin, heal wounds, and increase blood supply to the area. As such, gotu kola may be found in topical preparations that are used for treating minor burns, psoriasis, prevention of scars following surgery, recovery from episiotomy following vaginal delivery and treatment of external fistulas. The asiaticoside found in gotu kola is also known to dissolve the waxy covering of bacterial cells allowing the immune system to destroy the bacteria found in leprosy and skin diseases.
Gotu kola is also used as an active ingredient in tonics, oral slimming formulas, body-firming products, wound healing and anti-ageing skin care products. Gotu kola keeps the skin cells tough and makes it resistant to sagging. It increases tensile strength of the skin, repairs damaged tissue and reduces the appearance of stretch marks.
Preliminary results from experiments involving mice show that the triterpenoids found in gotu kola reduces anxiety, increases mental function, and acts as a sedative. This confirms gotu kola’s traditional use for boosting memory and intelligence, easing anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Gotu kola is also currently being studied for the possible treatment of joint pain, skin hardening and as a remedy for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling like psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Gotu kola is available in teas, dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, tablets and ointments.
Gotu kola should not be used in children, persons under 18 years of age, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Persons with a family history of precancerous or cancerous lesions should not use gotu kola as it contains asiaticoside, a substance linked to abnormal cell growth in mice. Gotu kola should not also be used for prolonged periods as long term use may cause liver damage. As with most herbal medicine, it is best to consult a naturopath or health professional before taking gotu kola.