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Gotu Kola ...

Latin Name Centella asiatica

Family: Appiaceae

Common Names: Gotu kola, Indian Pennywort, Pennywort, Jal Brahmi

Sanskrit Name: Mandukaparni

Parts Used: Whole Plant

Introduction: Gotu kola has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years in India, China and Indonesia. Its ability to heal wounds, improve mental clarity, and treat skin conditions such as leprosy and psoriasis were important reasons for its extensive use in these countries.As per Ayurveda Gotu kola herb is one of the chief herbs for revitalizing the nerves and brain cells; hence primarily known as a brain food in India. It has also been called one of the "miracle elixirs of life" because legend has it that an ancient Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years as a result of using the herb.

Plant Description: Gotu kola herb is slender perennial creeper found throughout tropical regions of the world. In shallow water, the plant puts forth floating roots and the leaves rest on top of the water. In dry locations, it puts out numerous small roots and the leaves are small and thin. The leaves can reach a width of 1 inch and a length of 6 inches. Usually 3 to 6 reddish-purple flowers arise in a sessile manner. The fruit are borne throughout the growing season is approximately 2 inches long with 7 to 9 ribs and a curved, strongly thickened pericarp. Gotu kola leaves are smooth surface fan-shaped.

Habitat: Gotu kola grows extensively in tropical and subtropical parts of India, Australia, Southern Africa, and South America. Gotu kola herb prefers shady, marshy damp and wet places such as paddy fields, grass areas and riverbanks. Although usually collected from wild, gotu kola can be cultivated from seed in spring.

Gotu Kola

History: The east Indians called this herb Brahmi, after the God Brahma, in honour of his qualities. Traditionally, gotu kola is one of the great herbs of Ayurveda used in the treatment mindbody and insanity. Gotu kola is known as a longevity herb and is used widely in India as part of their traditional medicine ayurveda.

Distribution: Centella asiatica is found throughout tropical and subtropical regions of India up to an altitude of 600 m. The plant is reported to occur also at higher altitudes of 1550m in Sikkim and 1200 m in Mount Abu.It grows widly in regions of East India, China, Japan and Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa.


Centella Asiatica Benefits and Uses of Gotu Kola:
  • Wound Healing and Skin Lesions : Gotu kola contains triterpenoids which strengthen the skin, increase the concentration of antioxidants in wounds, and restore inflamed tissues by increasing blood supply. Hence, gotu kola has been used externally for burns, psoriasis, prevention of scar formation following surgery, recovery from an episiotomy following vaginal delivery of a newborn, and treatment of external fistulas.

  • Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins : When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out of the blood vessels, causing the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). In another study of people with varicose veins, ultrasound examination revealed improvements in the vascular tone of those who took gotu cola.

  • High Blood Pressure : In a study of people with heart disease and high blood pressure, those who took abana; an Ayurvedic herbal mixture containing gotu kola experienced a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure compared to those who took placebo.

  • Anxiety : Triterpenoids have been shown to soothe anxiety and boost mental function in mice.

  • Scleroderma : One study involving 13 females with scleroderma found that gotu kola decreased joint pain, skin hardening, and improved finger movement.

  • Insomnia : Gotu kola has been used to help people with insomnia because of its sedative effects.

History and Traditional Uses : Centella asiatica; a widely available Indian herb has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Centella asiatica also has a historical reputation for boosting mental activity and for helping a variety of systemic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, rheumatism, fever, and nervous disorders. In traditional African system of medicine it has been used for the treatment of leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, syphilis and wound healing. In India for the last 3,000 years of Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for the purposes like boosting memory, wound healing, a mild diuretic, increasing concentration, alertness, as well as anti-anxiety and anti-stress. It has also been used for centuries in the treatment of liver and kidney problems. Today, American and European herbalists use gotu kola for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling, such as scleroderma, psoriatic arthritis, anklylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Gotu Kola was first accepted as a drug in France in the 1880's.

Chemical Constituents : Indian Gotu kola herb contains the following glycosides: indocentelloside, brahmoside, brahminoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside and isothankuniside. The corresponding triterpene acids obtained on hydrolysis of the glycosides are indocentoic, brahmic, asiatic, thankunic and isothankunic. These acids, except the last two, are also present in free form in the plant apart from isobrahmic and betulic acids. The presence of mesoinositol, a new oligosaccharide, ‘centellose’, kaempferol, quercetin and stigmasterol, have also been reported. Also contains a green, strongly volatile oil composed of an unidentified terpene acetate, camphor, cineole, and other essential oils.

Pharmacology : Bacoside A assists in release of nitric oxide that allows the relaxation of the aorta and veins, to allow the blood to flow more freely through the body. Therefore Brahmi is revered for strenghtening the immune system, improving vitality and performance and promoting longevity.

Bacoside B is a protein valued for nourishing the brain cells, as a result Brahmi improves mental clarity, confidence, intelligence and memory recall.

Asiaticosides stimulate the reticuloendothelial system where new blood cells are formed and old ones destroyed, fatty materials are stored, iron is metabolized, and immune responses and inflammation begin. The primary mode of action of Centella appears to be on the various phases of connective tissue development, which are part of the healing process.

References:

  • Journal Indian Medicinal Association 1978 ; 70:P 177 -180.

  • Korean Journal Of Gastroenterology 1982; 14 (1) 49 - 56.

  • Fitoterapia 1991 62 (3) 253 - 57.

  • Indian Drugs 1986 P 92 -93.

    For USDA NOP and EU certified Organic Gotu kola contact us at buy@naturenatural.com

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