GOTU KOLA : Hydrocotyle Asiatica, Centella Asiatica, Vallarai, Mandukaparni - Umbelliferaceae
Part used : Entire herb
- Rasa (taste): Bitter, Astringent
- Virya (action): Cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet
- Guna (quality): Dry, Light
Doshas : VPK=, primarily KP-
Dhatus (tissues) : Plasma, Blood, Nerve
Srotas (systems) : Nervous, Circulatory, Digestive
Alterative, nervine, anti-pyretic, mind tonic, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, Alterative, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, blood purifier, diuretic, nervine, intellect promoting, prevents bleeding from high pitta, purifies the blood, preserves life.
In conditions of stress, insomnia, epilepsy, emotional turbulence. Beneficial with Pitta/Vata aggravation. Relaxes the CNS. Useful in behavioural and developmental imbalances, autism, Asperger's.
By reducing 'stress' it prolongs life.
Improves concentration, intelligence, memory and alertness (Bhavaprakasha). Used in alzheimers, senility, ageing.
Specific herb for inflammatory skin conditions- eczema, urticaria, acne, STDs. Useful in external applications for hair loss.
Gotu kola balances all three dosha and has wonderous effects on the skin.
The flavonoids act as circulatory stimulants that develops the blood vessels in the skin, it increases the rate of keratinisation of the skin which helps to strengthen the outer protective layer of the body. This points to use in skin inflammation and cellulitis.
The saponin content acts as a cleansing and softening agent, the oligosaccharides are moisturising and the phytosterols are protective.
Traditional use for arthritis, gout and joint inflammation. This reflects its ability to clear toxins and inflammation.
Mandukaparni refers to the idea that the leaf shape resembles the hand of a frog.
There is a fair amount of 'herbalist' debate as to whether Bacopa monnieri or Hydrocotyle asiatica is the real Brahmi.
According to 'The Ayurvedic Formulary of India' Bacopa is Brahmi and Hydrocotyle is Mandukparni. There seems to be some discrepancy in the texts but both Sushruta and Astangahridaya, as well as Bhavaprakasha, state that the two are different plants but have the same medhya or mind enhancing activity.
An excellent herb for rejuvenating and restoring cerebral function.
One of the great meditator herbs. High in sattva.
Its prabhava is to optimise brain function.
Large doses can be narcotic.
Caution in pregnancy.
1 - 10 g per day as infusion
It is best used as a cold infusion as heat can destroy its properties.
- Centella Asiatica
- Gum Arabic
Gotu kola has been used in India and the islands of the Indian Ocean for centuries as a tonic and medicinal remedy. It was believed to increase longevity and improve energy. Anciently, it was used to treat leprosy, calm the nerves, increase mental and physical power, to stimulate and rejuvenate the brain, to prevent nervous disorders, mental fatigue and senility.
Gotu kola is considered to be one of the best herbal tonics. A tonic is a substance that works to put the body into balance or normality. To be in balance means to work properly and to be in a healthy state.
An herbal tonic helps to promote an optimum state in the body systems. Gotu kola helps to gradually build the nervous system as a nervous system tonic. It has been used for many different ailments including nervous disorders, deficient mental function, memory problems, epilepsy and schizophrenia.
It works by cleansing and purifying the blood by neutralizing acids and helps the body defend itself against toxins.
Studies have shown that the ingredient, asiaticoside, speeds the healing of wounds. It is considered a blood cleanser and is also effective for diseases of the lungs as well as leprosy. 246 It stimulates the capillaries and helps to improve brain function, varicose veins, and hypertension.
Gotu kola is often used to increase mental function and performance.
Many studies have confirmed the usefulness of gotu kola in improving brain function. It is commonly prescribed in Europe and India to improve mental function. Research done in India found the water extract of fresh leaves to help improve memory and learning. It was also found to help improve and overcome the negative effects associated with stress and fatigue.
Other clinical trials in India have found that gotu kola can help increase the I.Q. and mental ability of mentally retarded children. The children involved in the study showed improved mental capacity as well as improved behavior.
It was given to the children in combination with capsicum and ginseng.
This improved behavior and mental capacity can help individuals with mental and learning disabilities to achieve a higher quality of life.
Another study found improvement in the memory of rats when given the gotu kola extract. The learned behavior retention improved dramatically in the rats.
The conclusion of the study was that gotu kola improves learning and memory.
Some natural health professionals recommend gotu kola for ADD.
Gotu kola is considered food for the brain and nervous system and can help improve brain function which is a condition common among children suffering from ADD. Many have reported great improvement from using gotu kola such as improved memory, mental alertness, and longer attention span.
Gotu kola was used anciently to heal wounds and soothe cases of leprosy.
Probably the first studies done using gotu kola were with cases of leprosy.
The asiaticoside content of gotu kola has been used for years in Europe and the Far East to cure leprosy and tuberculosis.
Studies done recently on gotu kola have centered around this healing ability. It seems to be able to accelerate the time to heal wounds and skin diseases.
Gotu kola has shown to be beneficial in helping to repair tissue after surgery and trauma. It has the ability of strengthening the veins and repairing connective tissue. It also nourishes the motor neurons.
Researchers in Madagascar began the modern studies on gotu kola in 1949.
An extract was injected into the leprosy patients directly on nodules and ulcerated areas. The extract was found to aid in dissolving the covering to promote eventual healing in the subjects. This opened the door to the use of gotu kola for healing skin ailments. 255 There have also been excellent results from studies done in treating burn patients with second and third degree burns due to boiling water, electrical rent, or gas explosions. The gotu kola extract helped limit the swelling and shrinking of skin which is a result of burning. It reduced infections and scarring and increased healing time.
Gotu kola contains two saponin glycosides known as brahmoside and brahminoside which are known to promote relaxation. A study done on animals showed large doses caused a sedative action.