Habitat & Cultivation : Gotu kola originates from India and the southern United States, and it thrives in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Australia, southern Africa, and South America. It shows a preference for marshy areas and riverbanks. While it is commonly found in the wild, there is also the option to cultivate gotu kola from seeds during the spring season. Harvesting of the aerial parts can be carried out throughout the year.
- Triterpenoid saponins (asiaticoside, brahmoside, thankuniside)
- Alkaloids (hydrocotyline)
- Bitter principles (vellarin)
- Wound healer
- Peripheral vasodilator
- Wound healing : Gotu kola possesses a well-established capability for enhancing wound healing and facilitating tissue repair, making it valuable for cosmetic applications, addressing skin disorders like psoriasis, and managing arthritis. Notably, Asiaticoside, a compound within gotu kola, has demonstrated the ability to accelerate collagen formation and the development of new blood vessels. This reparative influence extends to blood vessels, contributing to the assistance of venous repair, especially in cases of chronic venous insufficiency characterized by symptoms such as leg swelling and varicose veins. Recent research in the United States has explored the efficacy of potent extracts in alleviating diabetic neuropathy, a condition involving nerve pain due to inadequate circulation, with encouraging results.
- Brain function : Over the past decade, research has concentrated on exploring the potential of gotu kola in alleviating anxiety and promoting optimal brain function. In a 2008 clinical trial conducted in Thailand, gotu kola extract was observed to enhance attention, working memory, alertness, and mood among 28 healthy volunteers with an average age of 65. Additionally, a smaller study revealed that gotu kola demonstrated effectiveness in alleviating symptoms associated with anxiety.
Traditional & Current Uses
- Wound healing : The primary traditional application of gotu kola revolves around the treatment of wounds and skin issues. In Ayurveda, it is specifically employed to facilitate healing in skin ulcers and severe skin conditions while also acting as a preventive measure against scarring. The herb can be administered topically or ingested, showcasing its apparent capacity to stimulate tissue repair on a systemic level. Gotu kola further aids peripheral circulation and is consumed to fortify blood vessels, such as in the case of varicose veins. Many individuals attest to the herb’s effectiveness in preventing and alleviating arthritis and rheumatic issues.
- Tonic : In India and southern Asia, gotu kola has earned a venerable reputation as a “rejuvenator,” renowned for enhancing concentration and memory, particularly among the elderly. Within Western herbal medicine, it is classified as an adaptogen, suitable for long-term consumption to promote healthy brain function, decelerate the aging process, and alleviate anxiety. Additionally, gotu kola is believed to exert a tonic influence on digestion.