Gotu kola is the favorite food of elephants and, thinking about it, if gotu kola can help elephants be amongst the most long-lived animals on the planet then; as they are mammals like ourselves, it is little wonder that this Asian herb can be used to provide us with important health benefits and battle the effects of ageing in our bodies too.
What is gotu kola?
Gotu kola is a herb that is one known to be a component in the more ancient healing traditions of India. It is a red flowered plant growing from a creeping perennial that likes hot and swampy areas and so can be found growing naturally all over Asia, especially from India to China. It is also known to thrive in Africa and Australia and, although not an indigenous species, can be grown in southern American states. It is the leaves of the gotu kola that are used medicinally, which are broad and fan shaped when grown in the right conditions of dampness, or if grown in drier conditions they will be smaller and thinner.
Uses of gotu kola.
Gotu kola can be taken internally in a powder, tablet, tincture or tea form and it can also be applied externally as a compress. Its use as a compress makes it very useful in the treatment of many skin conditions. It is also able to help build connective tissue, to strengthen veins and to improve the memory. The active ingredients in gotu kola are the chemicals known as triterpenes, especially asiaticoside, that enhances the formation of collagen within the bones as well as cartilages and other connective tissues. It is also thought that gotu kola in promoting healthy blood vessels will also help the flow of messages in the brain by balancing the activity of the neurotransmitters. Gotu kola compresses are known to be very therapeutic for skin burns, scar tissue, skin ulcers and general wounds. There is also some evidence emerging that gotu kola can even help to alleviate psoriasis lesions. The ability of gotu kola to strengthen the cells in the walls of blood veins, thereby improving blood flow, is known to be helpful in the treatment of varicose veins. Up to 80% of varicose veins sufferers report improvements after a course of gotu kola. Current research supports the thousands of years old India tradition that gotu kola improves mental acuity – boosting the memory and learning capabilities. One study cites the example of 30 children with learning difficulties being given a twelve week gotu kola supplement, and their concentration and attention levels improving significantly. Needless to say this has lead to gotu kola being investigated as possibly being able to reverse the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Given all of that information you can see why gotu kola is referred to as an anti-ageing treatment.
Taking gotu kola.
Most commonly taken internally as a tablet or capsule you should take a 200mg extract three times a day for varicose veins. The same dosage is recommended to improve the memory or to try and slow down the process of memory loss. For burns and other skin conditions take 200mg twice a day. Gotu kola can be applied as an external compress as well as taking it orally or, in the case of only a skin condition needing to be treated, instead of the tablet or capsule. It is normally applied as a compress from the soaked in the tea or tincture of gotu kola, starting with a weak mixture and building up to a stronger one if required. For example, to cure burns, scars or wounds use two teaspoons of the powder in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes to brew a gotu kola tea, and then soak the compress in it. For psoriasis lesions it is recommended to mix a 200mg capsule with two teaspoons of the powder in a little water to make a paste, which is then bound over the affected area. When buying gotu kola look for a content of 10% of asiaticoside, the active ingredient. Gotu kola is also known as Centella Asiatica and is nothing whatsoever to do with the cola (kola) nut used in popular fizzy drinks. Indeed gotu kola is so void of any caffeine it is more likely to be associated with a very mild sedative. NB. Pregnant women should not use gotu kola.