In Asia, gotu kola has long been considered to be a longevity tonic. Gotu kola is known to strengthen the body’s membranes, help restore strength to the venous walls and connective tissue, calm the mind, improve neural transport, and help the body detoxify.
Both when taken internally and when applied topically in the form of an oil or salve, gotu kola can help stimulate collagen production, improve cutaneous microcirculation, and stimulate cellular mitosis. It can prevent scar formation and enhance wound healing time and is used in the treatment of burns, eczema, gangrene, hemorrhoids, leprosy, lupus, and psoriasis. It also can encourage the healing of skin grafts.
Indian Pennywort, Sheep rot, marsh penny, water pennywort, hydrocotyle, Brahmi
This herb was first used in India, where it is part of Ayurveda, the traditional herbal medicine. It was also mentioned in the Shennong Herbal compiled in China about two thousand years ago. The native Sinhalese of Sri Lanka had a proverb about gotu kola….”Two leaves a day to keep old age away.” It was based on their observation that elephants loved the plant.
After World War II it was included in a herb tea blend called Fo-Ti- Tieng, which claimed to boost longevity because an ancient Chinese herbalist, Li Ching Yun, had used it regularly and lived 256 years. The East Indians call this herb Brahmi, after the god Brahma, in honour of its qualities that which aids knowledge of Supreme Reality. In India, it is regarded as perhaps the most spiritual of all herbs. Growing in some areas of the Himalayas, gotu kola is used by yogis to improve meditation. It is said to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf is said to resemble.
Native to India and the southern U.S. It also grows in tropical and subtropical parts of Australia, southern Africa, and South America. It prefers marshy areas and riverbanks. Although usually gathered wild, gotu kola can be cultivated from seed in spring. The aerial parts are harvested throughout the year. It has a bittersweet, acrid taste, and in India, it is sometimes used in salads and as a vegetable.
Vulnerary. Anti-Inflammatory, depurative. Adaptogenic. nervine tonic
Gotu kola may help with general mental ability. It is likely that the herb protects the blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain, which normalises the brain’s use of oxygen. Gotu kola also has a reputation for improving memory and concentration. A study conducted in 1992 recorded that memory retention in rats treated with gotu kola was three to sixty times better than that in control animals. Preliminary results in one clinical trial with developmentally disabled children showed that treatment with gotu kola increased scores on tests of intellectual achievement. In one study, children with educable mental retardation showed improvement after six months in several tests of intelligence
Swollen ankles and varicose veins
Asiaticoside, a component of gotu kola, stabilises the connective tissue that surrounds the veins of the legs. One study showed that people who just had a vein irritation (post-phlebitis) and were taking gotu kola had improved blood flow and reduced their chance of developing severe vascular disease. While gotu kola significantly improved symptoms of varicose veins, particularly the discomfort, tiredness, and swelling, it did not reduce the unsightliness of veins that were already severely damaged.
Wounds, scarring, and periodontal disease
Many herbal practitioners and physicians report that gotu kola stimulates the regeneration of skin cells and underlying connective tissue. Asiaticoside, in gotu kola, has a beneficial effect on collagen and inhibits its excessive production in scar formation. Studies have reported that gotu kola accelerates the healing of burns and skin grafts and minimises scarring. Gotu kola cream helps relieve the painful, scaly red welts of psoriasis. In one study, when gotu kola was combined with Punica granatum (pomegranate), participants’ periodontal disease was significantly improved—less bleeding and less gingival disease—after three months.
Gotu kola dried herb (0.5 g/day for three months) increased the intelligence quotient, general mental ability, and behaviour in mentally disabled children in a randomised, placebo-controlled, clinical trial in India.
In an uncontrolled trial, gotu kola relieved the symptoms of patients with anxiety and improved mental functioning.
Swollen ankles and varicose veins
Oral administration of GKE for 60 days demonstrated efficacy in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with venous hypertensive microangiopathy. In a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial, GKE improved symptoms, microcirculation, and capillary permeability in patients with venous hypertension. In another trial, symptoms and ankle oedema were improved in patients with venous hypertension after TFGK treatment, with no significant change observed in the placebo group. TFGK treatment (120 mg/day) for six months was beneficial for diabetic microangiopathy by improving microcirculation and decreasing capillary permeability. This trial was of prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled design.
In another trial, symptoms and ankle oedema were improved in patients with venous hypertension after GKE treatment, with no significant change observed in the placebo group.
GKE treatment (120 mg/day) for six months was beneficial for diabetic microangiopathy by improving microcirculation and decreasing capillary permeability. This trial was of prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled design.
GKE treatment produced significant improvement in symptoms of heaviness in the lower limbs and oedema in a randomised, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial involving patients with venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Two oral doses were trialled (60 mg/day or 120 mg/day) for eight weeks. A benefit was also demonstrated for GKE treatment of patients with chronic venous insufficiency in an open study.
Dosage (Divided Daily)
• Dried Leaf: 2,500 – 7,000mg (as a tea)
• Dried Powder: 2,000 – 5,000mg
• Tincture: 3 – 6 mL (1:2)
Some people may be contact allergic to the plant
Interactions with other drugs
- Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.
- Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
- Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
- Herbalpedia (2013)
- Khare, C. P. (2004). Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usages, botany. Berlin; New York: Springer.
- Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
- World Health Organization., & Ebrary. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants (pp. electronic text.). Retrieved from https://virtual.anu.edu.au/login/?url=http://site.ebrary.com/lib/anuau/Top?id=10040306
All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.