Gotu Kola Plant Profile And Medicinal Uses

In Sri Lanka, the herb was acredited with enhancing longevity and mental clarity due to the large quantities of the plant being eaten by elephants which, according to the locals, attributed to the elephant’s longevity and excellant memory. As it turns out, scientific studies supports the notion that gotu kola does have the ability to increase mental function.

In India the herb was traditionally used to heal wounds and revitalize the nerves and brain cells, fresh leaves were given to children for dysentery and an oil extract used to promote hair growth, and in China it was used for fever and respiratory diseases. Throughout Asia the plant was used for treating skin diseases such as leprosy and lupus, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis as well as a remedy for depression and emotional disorders caused by physical problems. It was also valued for treating stomach ulcers, syphilis, hepatitis, mental fatigue, epilepsy, diarrhea and asthma.

Gotu kola is recognised as an excellant skin and tissue rejuvenator, and after several decades of clinical studies, it has been established that the herb can offer relief to people suffering from scleroderma, a rare and chronic disease that is characterized by excessive progressive deposits of collagen in the tissues, leading to hardening and scarring, not only affecting the skin but also the muscles, blood vessels and organs.

Today, herbalists use gotu kola primarily for healing wounds, burns, ulcers and preventing the formation of scar tissue following surgery. It is also recommended for lowering high blood pressure, treating varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the veins), rheumatism, rheumatic arthritis, for improving memory, and for treating eczema and psoriasis.

Being a tropical plant it thrives in warm, moist conditions and found around paddy fields, beside ponds and lakes. A ground hugging plant with trailing evergreen, slender stems and rounded leaves. Tiny white or light purple to pink flowers are borne under the leaves followed by small oval friuts. Normally collected from the wild, but can be propagated by seeds or by division of it’s long runners. Parts that are used are the leaves and stems.

Summary of Main Benefits
Gotu Kola’s major benefit is it’s effect on connective tissue, promoting healthy development and inhibiting the formation of hardened areas, which makes it important for the treatment of burns, keloids (overgrown scar tissue), scleroderma, skin ulcers and wounds. It also valuable for treating varicose veins by strengthening the cells in the walls of the blood vessels and improving blood flow. Research studies on the plants effect on veins found that 80% of patients with varicose veins and similar problems showed substantial improvements. Applied topically to psoriasis lesions, studies have indicated that the herb may aid healing as well.

Current studies seem to support the plant’s ability to boost memory, improve learning capabilities and may reverse some of the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In one study with 30 developmentally disabled children, found that after taking gotu kola for 12 weeks, concentration and attention levels were significantly increased.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the plant also helps to relieve rheumatism and rheumatic arthritis.

Key Actions: Tonic, anti-inflammatory, mild diuretic, sedative and peripheral vasodilator.

Key Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (asiaticoside, brahmoside, thankuniside), Alkaloids (hydrocotyline), bitter principles (vellarin).

Preparations

Powder (1-2g mixed with water) as a general tonic or to dust areas of eczema
Paste made from powder (2 tsp mixed with water) and applied to patches of eczema or psoriasis.
Tablets/Capsules; for best results look for those that contain 10% asiacosides
Tea Infusion as a drink for rheumatism, or soak a compress in the tea and apply to burns, wounds, incisions, scars, eczema and psoriasis.
Tincture for poor memory and concentration.

Caution Do not use this herb if you are taking tranquilizers, sedatives or sleeping aids.

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