Centella asiatica or Gotu Kola is a perennial plant which lives and thrives around water bodies. The leaves are small and fan shaped. The size of the leaves ranges from 1-7 cm. It has no taste or smell. The flowers are white to purple or pink in colour. It has a small oval fruit. This plant grows to 15 cm in height. It grows better in partial shady conditions. It blooms repeatedly all the year round. The stalk is 1 cm in length. The fruits are flattened discs 3 mm in diameter stacked upright in groups of three.
Gotu Kola plant benefits, uses and side effects
The common name for this plant is gotu kola. The other names are Brahma-Buti, Divya, mandukaparni, centella, Asiatic pennywort or Indian pennywort and Brahma-Manduki. People also call it the swamp pennyworth and the Indian Ginseng.
Botanical name or family
The botanical name of this plant is Centella asiatica. It belongs to the Umbelliferae or Apiaceae family.
Geographical regions where Centella asiatica plant grows
It grows in the swamp areas from North Queensland to South Western Australia. This plant also grows in parts of Africa and throughout Central Asia. It is native to various islands of the Pacific, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, India, and China.
Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) Medicinal uses
The active reagents in gotu kola are asiaticoside, brahmoside, madecassic acid, and thunkinside. The recommended dosage of Centella asiatica is two leaves per day.
Gastric complaints treat gastric and duodenal ulcers: Gotu kola has a beneficial effect of repairing the walls of the intestine and stomach. It augments the mucus layer and thus reduces the effects of an ulcer.
Anti-amoebic: The herb discourages the growth of pathogens and amoeba. By having Centella asiatica regularly, you can prevent the growth of amoeba anywhere in your body.
Rheumatism: You can get relief from inflammation of the joints such as rheumatoid arthritis by the regular use of gotu kola. Gotu kola shows good anti-inflammatory properties. Through the regular use, you can reverse the inflammation and get relief from the pain.
Cure Fever: You can get immediate relief if you take the Centella asiatica. It has remarkable antipyretic properties. Take two leaves with tea and by evening you will have recovered.
Improve brain function and Nervous breakdown: The herb has a natural ability to harmonize the left and right hemisphere activity. The person has improved awareness, and the thinking becomes clearer. By enhancing the brain circuitry, the learning and ability to concentrate become better. The memory of the person becomes better. People suffering from a nervous breakdown will benefit from the regular use of the gotu kola.
Scleroderma: Women who were suffering from scleroderma were given got kola for a period of two months. They reported lessening of pain in the joints and decreased hardening of the skin. The finger movement improved significantly.
Anti-spasmodic effect: People who have stressed involuntary muscles and suffered from spasms will benefit if they take the herb. It relaxes the muscles and reduces the spasms. It soothes the nervous functions and strengthens them. By easing the smooth muscles, it helps the person live a normal life.
Anti-fungal: Gotu kola prevents the growth of fungus. You can use the juice got from the crushed leaves and apply them on the regions where you might fungal activity.
Reduces tissue regeneration and scarring: It is used extensively in wound healing and treatment of skin lesions. This is because of the chemicals called triterpenoids that heal wounds. These chemicals strengthen the skin and boost the antioxidants in the wounds. The scarring and stretch marks remain reduced due to these chemicals.
Leprosy: The herb resists the growth of microbes, fungus, and bacteria, and thereby, reduces the growth of leprae, the bacterium that causes the spread of leprosy.
Longevity: There are stories of the Chinese naturalist who dies aged 256 years. He attributes the long life to the regular use of Centella asiatica. The life-extending properties are due to the synergetic effects of mind-body-spirit combination well-being. What is known is that the herb improves the functioning of the brain and connects the nerves so the person has a healthier life.
Insomnia: The herb provides rectification for the circadian cycle. People with insomnia will benefit since gotu kola will put their sleep-awake rhythm back into the correct groove. If you take the herb for a few days, you will begin to get regular sleep.
Also Read: Home remedies for insomnia
Anti-bacterial activity: Gotu kola helps restrict the growth of bacteria. This helps you prevent dangerous infections and infections. Heat destroys most of the bacteria, but some may persist, and the use of gotu kola will help suppress the growth of the bacteria.
Depression: The gotu kola improves the mood of the person and enhances the working of the brain. It makes the person more aware and the intellectual capacity increases. This makes the person more thoughtful and perceptive of the surroundings and his or her own actions. This helps the person overcome depression and become happy.
Mild sedative: It shows mild sedative effects and increases the sleepiness when administered along with other sedatives such as valerian. One should be careful when you use sedatives and want to take the herb.
Anti-inflammatory effect: There is a remarkable decrease in the inflammation when one takes the herb for some time. This helps people with arthritis and gout. The pain and inflammation decrease.
Venous insufficiency: When the blood vessels lose their elasticity and become rigid, the blood tends to pool in the legs. This is termed as venous insufficiency. This causes the legs to swell. Centella asiatica helps improve the condition if one takes the herb for a sufficiently long time. Similarly, taking gotu kola before flying caused less fluid accumulation in the legs. It also seems to help those who have varicose veins as there was less of fluid leakage.
Centella asiatica or Gotu kola is safe and has been used for thousands of years without any side effect. If there are side effects, they are minor such as a headache or an upset stomach. If you take more than two leaves a day, you may develop severe headaches. Gotu kola is not recommended for children.