Gotu Kola has been used as a medicine in the Ayurvedic tradition of India for thousands of years. It is regarded as one of the most spiritual and rejuvenating herbs in Ayurveda and is used to improve meditation. It is said to develop the crown chakra, the energy center at the top of the head, and to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf is said to resemble. Its fan shaped leaves are about the size of an old British penny - hence its common names Indian pennywort, marsh penny and water pennywort.Gotu Kola is also one of the largest cultivated crops and thrives under organic farming conditions. While popularly used as a food source in the form of leafy greens within Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka it also has been internationally recognized within many countries pharmacopoeias and has been a valid, recognized, botanical medicine since 1884.Gotu Kola is considered "food for the brain".
In the nineteenth century, Gotu Kola and its extracts were incorporated into the Indian pharmacopeia,wherein addition to being recommended for wound healing, it was recommended in the treatment of skin conditions such as leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, and psoriasis. It was also used to treat diarrhea, fever, amenorrhea, and diseases of the female genitourinary tract.Gotu Kola was first accepted as a drug in France in the 1880's.Gotu kola has been widely used for a number of conditions, particularly in traditional Eastern health care. In Ayurveda Gotu kola is one of the chief herbs for revitalizing the nerves and brain cells. It is said to fortify the immune system, both cleansing and feeding it, and to strengthen the adrenals.
Gotu Kola is a perennial plant native to India and other tropical countries. Its appearance changes, depending on growing conditions. 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. Typically, the constantly growing roots give rise to reddish stolons. The leaves can reach a width of 1 inch and a length of 6 inches. Usually 3 to 6 red flowers arise in a sessile manner or on very short pedicels in auxiliary umbels. The fruit, formed throughout the growing season, is approximately 2 inches long with 7 to 9 ribs and a curved, strongly thickened pericarp.
Gotu kola is a slender, creeping plant that grows commonly in swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa and the tropics. The gotu kola grows native in most of the tropics, though it is believed to be a native species of India; it also grows in the wild in the southern US states. At the same time, wild populations of the gotu kola herb are also seen growing in the tropical and subtropical parts of Australia, the Southern parts of Africa, as well as the South American tropics.
The gotu kola herb tends to prefer marshy areas and riverbanks in the tropics. While it is hard to grow, the gotu kola is cultivated from seeds during the spring season, while commercially it is usually gathered from the wild. Although usually gathered wild, gotu kola can be cultivated from seed in spring. Harvesting of the aerial parts of the herb is usually carried out throughout the year in many places.
In Indian and Southeast Asian centella, the plant frequently suffers from high levels of bacterial contamination, possibly from having been harvested from sewage ditches. Because the plant is aquatic, it is especially sensitive to pollutants in the water, which easily are incorporated into the plant.
Depression: Effect of total triterpenes from Centella asiatica on the depression behavior and concentration of amino acid in forced swimming mice Zhong Yao Cai. 2003. Mice were randomly divided into control group, model group and treatment group. The effect of total triterpenes from gotu kola on the immobility time in forced swimming mice and concentration of amino acid in mice brain tissue was observed. Imipramine and total triterpenes from gotu kola reduced the immobility time and ameliorated the imbalance of amino acid levels. The total triterpenes from gotu kola had antidepressant activity.
Periodontitis: Adjunctive periodontal treatment with Centella asiatica and Punica granatum extracts. A preliminary study. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2003. he purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the combined extracts from Gotu kola and P. granatum pericarp on periodontal healing following scaling and root planing in adult periodontitis patients. An innovative herbal medicament was formulated in the form of biodegradable chips for subgingival application. Twenty patients with initial pocket depth 5-8 mm were enrolled into the study. After baseline examination, scaling and root planing of non-target teeth, the target teeth received scaling and root planing followed by subgingival delivery of medicated chips in the test group and unmedicated chips in the placebo group. Probing pocket depth, attachment level, bleeding on probing, gingival index, and plaque index were recorded at baseline, 3 and 6 months. The results showed significant improvements of pocket depth and attachment level in the test sites when compared with the placebo sites at 3 months and with the placebo and control sites at 6 months. All treatment sites exhibited a similar trend of decreasing plaque score. However, the test sites seemed to show slightly better percentage of bleeding on probing. The results indicate that local delivery with Gotu kola and P. granatum extracts plus scaling and root planing significantly reduced the clinical signs of chronic periodontitis.
Ulcer: The healing effects of Centella extract and asiaticoside on acetic acid induced gastric ulcers in rats. Life Sci. 2004. In this study, the healing effects of gotu kola water extract and asiaticoside (AC), an active constituent, on acetic acid induced gastric ulcers (kissing ulcers) in rats were examined. Gotu kola was prepared from Centella asiatica dry plant and the concentration of AC was quantitatively determined with the use of high performance liquid chromatography analysis. Different concentrations of gotu kola and AC were orally administered to rats with kissing ulcers. They were found to reduce the size of the ulcers at day 3 and 7 in a dose-dependent manner, with a concomitant attenuation of myeloperoxidase activity at the ulcer tissues. Epithelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis were on the other hand promoted. The expression of basic fibroblast growth factor, an important angiogenic factor, was also upregulated in the ulcer tissues in rats treated with gotu kola or AC. These results further suggest the potential use of gotu kola and its active ingredient as anti-gastric ulcers drugs.
Venous hypertension: Treatment of edema and increased capillary filtration in venous hypertension with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica (gotu kola): a clinical, prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized, dose-ranging trial. St Mary's Hospital and Imperial College, London, UK. Angiology. 2001. The variation of capillary filtration rate (CFR), ankle circumference (AC), and ankle edema (AE) was evaluated in three groups of patients with venous hypertension and in a group of normal subjects before and after treatment for 4 weeks with total triterpenic fraction of gotu kola, a venoactive drug acting on the microcirculation and on capillary permeability. The improvement of signs and symptoms by gotu kola observed in patients with venous hypertension was well correlated with the improvement of CFR and ankle edema. Dose ranging showed that 180 mg/day total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica (gotu kola) is more effective in improving symptoms and CFR.
Wound healing: Gotu kola is used in the treatment of various skin diseases by Ayurvedic doctors.
Effect of Centella asiatica on normal and dexamethasone-suppressed wound healing in Wistar Albino rats. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2006. The objective of the study presented in this article was to evaluate the wound-healing potential of the ethanolic extract of gotu kola in both normal and dexamethasone-suppressed wound healing. The study was done on Wistar albino rats using incision, excision, and dead space wounds models. The extract of gotu kola significantly increased the wound breaking strength in incision wound model compared to controls. The extract-treated wounds were found to epithelize faster, and the rate of wound contraction was significantly increased as compared to control wounds. The extract of the leaves had the effect of attenuating the known effects of dexamethasone healing in all wound models. The results indicated that the leaf extract promotes wound healing significantly and is able to overcome the wound-healing suppressing action of dexamethasone in a rat model.
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Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)