Centella Asiatica, also known as “Gotu Kola,” is a medicinal herb that has been used for millennia by the Traditional
Chinese Medicine as well as African Traditional Medicine
and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. It is known
for its varied therapeutic effects and is
also consumed as food because of its high
nutritive value. Just like many other herbal remedies, Centella has recently become famous for its numerous therapeutic actions
as well as for its safety and lack of toxicity1.
Herbal Therapy benefits
has a wide range of therapeutic
applications, both for topical use and as an ingested remedy. One of the most
interesting is its activity in strengthening connective tissue, making it
useful for healing of external wounds and injuries as well as many other
conditions such as scleroderma, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and other venous
insufficiencies. Other effects include a potential action as antidepressant and
antiepileptic. It is also eaten to improve cognitive function and treat
gastritis. It is also quite known for its superior antioxidant properties2.
Centella Asiatica Science
The substances responsible for the pharmacological action of the Centella Asiatica could be the triterpenoids (including asiaticosides). These saponins may improve wound healing and vascular microcirculation by reducing the formation of collagen and stabilizing connective tissues while strengthening weakened tissues at the same time. Other central effects such as those on the nervous system instead could be caused by brahminoside and brahmoside instead3.
1. Dahanukar SA, Kulkarni RA. “Pharmacology of medicinal plants and natural products.” Indian J Pharmacol 2000;32:S81-S118
2. Gohil KJ, Patel JA, Gajjar AK. “Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica: A potential herbal cure-all.” Indian J Pharm Sci 2010;72:546-56
3. Brinkhaus B, Linder M, Schuppan D, Hahn EG. “Chemical, pharmacological and clinical profile of the East Asian medical plant Centella asiatica.” Phytomed. 2000;7(5):427-448.
Claudio Butticè, PharmD.
Centella Asiatica Benefits
Centella Asiatica or Gotu kola is a perennial plant native to China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the South Pacific. It is a parsley family member and has no taste or odor. It thrives in and around water. It’s little fan-shaped green leaves with white or light purple-to-pink flowers and small oval fruit. The leaves and stalks of this Gotu kola plant are used as medication.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Varicose veins: When blood vessels lose their elasticity, the blood pools in the legs, and fluid flows from the blood vessels. This action causes the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). Several smaller studies suggest Gotu kola can help reduce swelling and enhance blood circulation. In a study of 94 individuals with venous insufficiency, people who took Gotu kola saw an improvement of symptoms vs. those who had a placebo. One study found that people who were given Gotu kola before flying had less knee swelling than those who didn’t take it.
Anxiety: These very same substances, triterpenoids, seem to decrease stress and improve mental function in mice. One human study found that people who took Gotu kola were less likely to be startled by a new sound than those who took a placebo. Considering that the”startle noise” response can be a way to tell if a person is anxious, researchers feel that Gotu kola might help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Wound healing: Gotu kola has compounds called triterpenoids. In animal and laboratory studies, these compounds appear to help heal wounds. For instance, some studies indicate that triterpenoids increase blood supply to the area, boost antioxidants in wounds, and fortify the skin. Gotu kola has been used for psoriasis, minor burns, preventing scars after surgery, and preventing or reducing stretch marks. You may find Gotu kola in several creams for wound healing. Ask your healthcare provider if one is ideal for you.
Insomnia: Gotu kola acts as a sedative in animal tests. Because of that, it’s sometimes suggested to help people with insomnia. But no human studies are done to see if it works or whether it’s safe.
Joint Pain: A study of 13 women with scleroderma discovered that Gotu kola decreased joint pain and skin hardening and enhanced finger motion.
Administration: Gotu kola is available in teas as dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, pills, and ointments. Products should be used before the expiry date on the label and kept in a cool and dry place.
Adult: The conventional dose of Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica) differs depending on what type you use and what you use it for. Your healthcare provider can help you pick the ideal dose for you. Most studies have used standardized extracts:
Precautions: Gotu kola can be harmful to the liver. It’s wise not to use Gotu kola for over six weeks without talking to your physician. You might have to have a 2-week break before taking the herb. Asiaticoside, a major portion of Gotu kola, has also been linked with tumor development in mice.