SUPERFOODS Series: Gotu Kola

GotuKolaGotu kola is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most important medicinal plant species to be conserved and cultivated. The scientific name of gotu kola is Centella asiatica (L.) Urban/ Hydrocotyle asiatica Linn. The Chinese called it luei gong gen. it has various common names among them Asiatic, Indian or swamp Pennywort. Locally we call it pegaga.

I used to grow gotu kola in a pot. However the plant has spread and colonized the ground beside the fish pond, crowding out the lawn grass. There are a few sub-species of gotu kola that grow in a wide range of conditions. Some prefer light shade, while others do well in open sunny areas. Some even grow under more harsh conditions such as on stone walls. In the wild, their natural habitat is usually wet or moist surroundings such as swamps, along the margins of lakes and ponds.

Gotu kola’s most notable function is its involvement in various stages of connective tissue development. This herb is also used for bedridden and post-operative patients to aid wound healing, prevent bedsores, epithelial ulcers, as well as helping prevent muscular atrophy.

Commercial uses of gotu kola are as diet supplement and for topical application.

DIET SUPPLEMENTATION:

Strengthen the vascular and circulatory system.

Improve both brain and central nervous system function.

It had been used for centuries as a liver and kidney tonic.

Oral slimming formulas.

TOPICAL APPLICATION:

Heal burns and wounds, reduce scarring and stretch mark.

Treat boils, infectious skin diseases, varicose ulcers, eczema, lupus, psoriasis etc.

Skin care products to Strengthen and improve skin tone, especially for aging skin.

Hair conditioners and shampoos, usually combined with other natural ingredients.

A diluted solution used as eyewash for conjunctivitis.

COMPOUNDS IN GOTU KOLA

Researchers have found groups of chemical compounds [glycoside] in gotu kola that accelerates wound healing and fights inflammation. The constituents of gotu kola have significant results in healing of skin, other connective tissues, lymph tissue, blood vessels and mucous membranes.

The major compounds and actions are:

Asiaticoside

This compound is classified as an antibiotic. it is a triterpene glycoside (triterpenoid). Its function is to stimulate the formation of lipids and proteins to produce collagen.

As an antibiotic, it is used in the treatment of infections.

Modern medicine uses it to speed up healing of burns, ulcers and wounds. This compound also supports the repair of cartilage.

the most successful use of asiaticoside was for treatment of chronic skin lesions such as ulcers and leprosy wounds. the asiaticoside content dissolves the waxy coating of the leprosy bacteria, thus allowing the immune system to destroy the bacteria.


total triterpene fraction of Centella asiatica (TFCA)

TFCA significantly improve the microcirculation and blood vessel leakage as well as protected against microcirculation deterioration of people with venous insufficiency. it strengthens and maintains elasticity of the walls of your blood vessels.


brahmoside and brahminoside, a pair of saponin glycosides

These are diuretic in nature and have a slightly sedative action in large doses.


Madecassoside

It is a glycoside with strong anti-inflammatory properties. It works with asiaticoside to help promote skin healing, reduce the formation of scar tissue and relieve infection.

THERAPEUTIC USES

BENEFITS SKIN

Numerous studies confirmed gotu kola to effectively reduce inflammation and aid in skin wounds healing. A major action of gotu kola is stimulation of the body to produce the type I collagen for maturation of scar. Extracts of gotu kola was successful in treating burns, surgical wounds, skin grafts, gangrene and traumatic injuries.

Other reasons why gotu kola is effective for your skin is due to a number of constituents in the herb that strengthen skin, boost antioxidants and reduce inflammation in wounds besides increasing blood supply to these areas.

BENEFITS CIRCULATORY SYSTEM

Gotu kola helps in strengthening the blood vessels and in so doing assists with better blood circulation. It improves diverse problems such as varicose veins, gastric ulcers, phlebitis, hemorrhoids, etc.

BENEFITS BRAIN AND CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS)

The leaves of gotu kola have high concentration of neurotransmitter precursors (free tyrosine and phenylalanine). The herb increases GABA, an amino acid in the brain that naturally relaxes the muscles in the body and calms emotions. Low levels of GABA can result in feelings of anxiety leading to stress or depression. The herb is a CNS depressant possessing mild tranquilizing, anti-stress and anti-anxiety ability. The high concentration of vitamin B1, B2 and B6 help to convert carbohydrates into glucose as well as normal nervous system functioning.

As a result of these properties, it is used to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, enhance memory, increase attention span and concentration. The herb is also used experimentally for other neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

BENEFITS LIVER, KIDNEYS AND BLADDER

Traditionally people take the herb alone or in combination with other herbs to nourish, support and rejuvenate both the liver and the kidneys and promote their healthy function. It is also used to treat diseases of the two organs.

However there is some concern that when taken in excess, the herb can overwhelm and harm the two organs.

A study on patients with superficial bladder ulcers or lesions due to bilharzial infections showed the extract of gotu kola speeds up healing in about 75% of patients with little scar formation.

TREATMENT FOR FEMALE PROBLEMS

Malay mothers used the herb to prevent and to reduce stretch marks caused by pregnancy.

The herb also alleviates female conditions such as amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) and diseases of the genital and urinary systems.

OTHER TRADITIONAL USES

TCM classifies gotu kola as a cooling herb and used it to treat fever and as an antidote for heatstroke. In Malaysia, the Malays pound leaves into a paste to apply it to the body for fever.

Herbalists use the herb to treat infectious diseases: shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.

It is also used as a remedy for edema, tonsillitis, arthritis, rheumatism and gum disease.

 

RESEARCH

THE HERB ON WOUND HEALING

A French study done in 1966 found healing was more rapid than with standard treatment after an episiotomy – a surgical cut of the vulva to prevent tearing during childbirth.

THE HERB ON BLOOD VESSELS AND CIRCULATION

  • Various studies comparing placebos with gotu kola as well as various preparations of its prime constituent showed gotu kola is effective in reducing fluid retention and swelling of the lower limbs through improved circulation.
  • A study showed gotu kola effective in improving the vascular tone of varicose vein sufferers. There was less leakage from their blood vessels and improvement in microcirculation.

THE HERB ON THE BRAIN, LEARNING AND MEMORY

  • In an experiment, thirty developmentally disabled children were given gotu kola leaf preparations. After six months the researchers reported, “The children exhibited better overall adjustment, were more attentive, and better able to concentrate on assigned tasks. “
  • In another study the performance of mice given gotu kola was compared with another control group given saline solution. The medicated group showed Retention of learned behavior that was three to 60 times greater than in the controls. The conclusion was that gotu kola enhances Learning and memory.
  • Rats given gotu kola showed significantly better anti-stress activity compared to controls given another drug, diazepam. The researchers observed, “Antidepressant activity was also indicated, and an analgesic effect demonstrated along with a reduction in the adrenocortical response. “

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George M
Fitness Instructor
Certified Personal Trainer by I.S.S.A., CPR

Source: Freewebs

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Categories: Nutrition

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3 replies

  1. it will be useful and tell us more about skin protection and healing and i will suggest my friends to see

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