Veterinarian Reviewed on June 5, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is a delicate, low growing herb that is known to grow in swampy locations throughout India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, South Africa, as well as the tropics. It has fan shaped foliage that are approximately the size of 1 cent piece, which is how it received its more common names of Marsh Penny, Indian Pennywort and Water Pennywort.
History of Golu Kola
Gotu Kola has been religiously used throughout the centuries as a folk medicinal treatment all through Asia and is still being extensively used in these areas today. The Chinese term for Gotu Kola means “fountain of life”, based on an ancient legend that said that a Chinese herbalist lived over 200 years because of the use of this herb. A Sri Lankan fable suggests that elephants live longer lives simply because they feed on Gotu Kola.
Gotu Kola has been used for thousands of years in India to encourage relaxation, enhance memory, as well as support meditation. When it comes to traditional Chinese medicine, the natural herb is thought to promote longevity. Over the centuries it has also been used to combat hepatitis, mental fatigue, epilepsy, syphilis, stomach ulcers, fever, diarrhea and even asthma.
Modern Western Uses
In the present day, Gotu Kola is routinely used to treat chronic venous deficiency which is an affliction that causes blood pooling in a person’s thighs and legs. It has also been used in ointments to help heal minor wounds and to treat psoriasis. Some practitioners have used it to treat epilepsy, mental illness, insomnia and rheumatism. In addition, it is said to treat mental as well as physical exhaustion, stimulate urination, and treat eye diseases, high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, liver disease and even eczema. The Gotu Kola supplement manufacturers have also claimed that it can be used to treat some forms of common cancers.
Recent scientific studies indicate that Gotu Kola additionally has a beneficial impact on blood circulation. It seems to improve the flow of blood throughout the entire body by fortifying capillaries and veins. It’s also been confirmed to be especially helpful for individuals who are sedentary or limited to bed as a result of an illness.
Available Forms of Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is available in forms such as dried herbs, teas, tinctures, eye drops, ointments, tablets and capsules. It is also found as an ingredient in many herbal remedies as well. Regardless of what form you purchase Gotu Kola in, it will need to be kept in a cool, dry location as well as made use of prior to the expiration date that should be present on the manufacturers label.
Even though Gotu Kola has been utilized for centuries and is said to be somewhat of a miracle cure from some afflictions, in some individuals it may affect the liver. Gotu Kola should not be used for more than 6 weeks at a time without first consulting herbalist or naturopathic physician. Consult your physician before using if you are currently taking any cholesterol lowering drugs, Diabetes medications, sedatives or diuretics.
Side effects are rare but may include burning sensations (with external use), skin allergic reactions, headaches, upset stomachs, nausea, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. Normally these side effects only occur when used in high doses.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan