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Gotu Kola – (Centella asiatica)

Gotu Kola

Native to southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Australia, gotu kola is a small annual plant used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is considered a longevity herb by many and it helps maintain the health in many ways. It is well regarded in Ayurvedic medicine as a food that increases mental capacity and helps with the negative effects of aging, known in Ayurvedic medicine as the "Vayasthapana effect".

 

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Gotu kola can be used to increase venous sufficiency and improve the tone of the blood vessels. It can lower blood pressure and anxiety and stress. This herb can decrease joint pain, hardening of the skin and improve movement in the fingers. It has sedative effects and works well to relieve insomnia. Historically, the herb was used for leprosy, arthritis, hemorrhoids and tuberculosis. It is also said to enhance the memory. It is also used to reduce fever, as a mild diuretic and to build up connective tissue.

Externally – Gotu kola can be used in an ointment for wounds and skin lesions. It strengthens the skin and increases the blood supply. It can be used for burns, psoriasis, to prevent scars after surgery, to treat external fistulas and to heal episiotomies after childbirth.

Other Uses – Gotu kola is part of Sri Lankan cuisine and as part of "pennywort drink."

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine use herbal formulas for treatment. It is frequently added to herbal mixtures in these two schools of herbal medicine to treat specific symptoms in a patient.

Parts Used

Leaves, stems – The leaves and stems are used medicinally.

Cautions

Do not take gotu kola for longer than six weeks at a time. If you take this herb that long, take a break of two weeks before you begin again. Anyone with a history of skin cancer should not take this herb as it has been associated with tumor growth in some studies. Pregnant women should not take it due to the risk of miscarriage. There is no information on the safety of this herb for infants and children, so nursing mothers should avoid and it should not be given to children.

Side effects are rare, but include skin allergies and burning sensations for topical use, and headache, upset stomach, nausea, drowsiness and dizziness for ingestion of large doses. Patients older than 65 should take lower doses. Although there are no known drug interactions with gotu kola, due to its sedative effect, it should not be taken with medications that induce sleep or relieve anxiety.

Preparation and Dosage

Gotu kola is eaten fresh, juiced, used topically, taken as an extract, in tablets, capsules, tinctures and as herbal tea. Tea made from the dried leaf can be taken three times a day. Powdered herb taken in capsules can be taken in doses of 1,000 to 4,000 mg, three times per day. The dose for tincture is 30 to 60 drops, three times a day. If you prefer a standardized extract, take 50 to 250 mg two or three times a day.

Gotu Kola Herbal Remedies Top