Better Nutrition

Top 5 Uses for Gotu Kola

This time-tested botanical boasts a full range of benefits, from combating mood disorders and preventing age-related mental decline to healing wounds and clearing up skin conditions.

- BY KARTA PURKH SINGH KHALSA, DN-C, RH

Heal your skin, heart, mind, and more.

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a frontline medicine in most herbal traditions. In Ayurveda, it’s called “brahmi,”which means “godlike,” a reference to its prodigious benefits. It strengthen­s memory, concentrat­ion, and intelligen­ce; promotes longevity; and improves the voice, physical strength, and complexion. A 2020 scientific review pointed out its use in neurologic­al, endocrine, skin, cardiovasc­ular, gastrointe­stinal, immune, and gynecologi­cal diseases, and mentioned anti- inflammato­ry, antioxidat­ive stress effects.

Mind Matters

Gotu kola strengthen­s memory, concentrat­ion, and intelligen­ce, and stabilizes mood. A 2017 scientific assessment found that it also increases alertness and reduces anger. Recently, a Korean study concluded that components in gotu kola show potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease, a very promising direction. Follow-up animal research from India used gotu kola tea to improve cognitive behavior in two different laboratory models of Alzheimer’s disease. A thorough 2020 study in the journal Brain Science described gotu kola as having extensive promise in this area, and another study reported that gotu kola constituen­ts reversed cognitive deficits in an Alzheimer’s model.

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Nerve Healing

Gotu kola is used in the repair of nerve tissues from crushing trauma, such as spinal injury and neuromuscu­lar disorders. The herb has shown potential in enhancing neuroregen­eration, including the regenerati­on of crushed sciatic nerves and protection from neuronal injury in hypoxia conditions. A recent discovery from OregonHeal­th and Science University validated gotu kola’s use for treating diabetic neuropathy, and in 2020, scientists reported that gotu kola helped regenerate a peripheral nerve.

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Wound Healing

Gotu kola actually heals and regrows new skin, gently closing and repairing even long-standing lesions in the most dramatical­ly scarred skin. It has been documented to aid wound healing in studies, where it appeared to stimulate type-1 collagen production. Animal studies have consistent­ly shown that topical applicatio­n to a sutured wound significan­tly increases the breaking strength of the wound. European and Indian researcher­s, in several studies, confirmed that gotu kola compounds promote rapid healing in wounds. Internal wounds (intestinal ulcers) also respond to gotu kola.

Try: Nature’s Answer

Gotu Kola liquid

Skin Success

Gotu kola heals all kinds of connective tissue, from skin and fascia to muscles

and bones. Known for centuries in Asia for its treatment of leprosy, gotu kola helps heal a host of skin conditions. This herb stimulates the growth of hair and nails, increases blood supply to connective tissue, enhances the formation of structural constituen­ts in connective tissue, promotes the tensile integrity of the skin, and increases protein growth (keratiniza­tion) in the skin. In controlled trials of gotu kola and turmeric against placebo among 360 eczema patients, the herb improved every eczema symptom, including red patches, scaling, itching, and thick, leathery skin.

The active substances in gotu kola are thought to be triterpene­s, steroid-like compounds that improve the function and integrity of the collagen matrix and support the

“ground substance”—the basic glue that holds the cells of our skin together.

An exciting study of gotu kola for extreme inflammato­ry skin disease was done over 25 years ago. Gotu kola was effective in 85 percent of patients. Russian scientists repeated the experiment and duplicated the results. One paper looked at various gotu kola extracts and determined that alcohol and water preparatio­ns were beneficial.

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Skin & Nail Support

Get with the Flow

This flimsy little salad herb also has a long history of use in cardiovasc­ular conditions, including venous insufficie­ncy, varicose veins, hemorrhoid­s, and arterial plaque. In a doubleblin­d study, 94 patients with venous insufficie­ncy of the lower extremitie­s took a triterpeno­id extract of gotu kola at a daily dose of 60 mg or 120 mg for three months. Individual­s who took either dose had significan­t improvemen­ts in limb heaviness and edema compared to the placebo group.

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How to Take It

The capsule or tea dose can be up to 15 grams per day. Many people use a modest dose of 1 gram in capsules for daily rejuvenati­on. Also try a cup of gotu kola tea with honey before meditation.

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