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     FOREVER GOTU KOLA

Centella asiatica

Gotu kola plant

 

Sanskrit

:

Mandukaparni, Brahmi

English

:

Indian Pennywort, Water pennywort, Gotu Kola,  Marsh Penny, White Rot

Botanical Name

:

Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica  

Family

:

Apiaceae,

Hindi  name

:

Jal Brahmi, Brahmamanduki,

 

Gotukola or Brahmi or Centella asiatica is a nervine tonic used  as  a rejuvenative for nerve cells and brain . It helps in  improving memory and Clarity of thinking .It has a very high level of vitamin B complex , vitamin A, B, E, K and Magnesium.

 

Morphology:

It is a creeping marsh plant that contains no cola or caffeine as the name would suggest. It grows along the ditches and low wet areas.

The stems are slender,  reddish green in color, interconnecting one plant to  another. It has long-stalked, green, fan  shaped leaves  with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 20 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.

The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruits are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit.

The crop matures in three months and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.

Rasapanchaka (Ayurvedic Pharmacodynamics)

Rasa

:

Madhur (Sweet), Tikta(Bitter),Kashaya(Astringent)           

Guna

:

Dry (Light), Tikshna (Sharp), Sar (Liquid )
Veerya :  Sheet (Cooling)
Vipaka : Madhur (Sweet)
Doshakarma :

Pacifies all Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Prabhava : Medhya (Memory Booster)

                  

Useful Parts Whole plant especially leaves and stem.

Chemical composition / key active constituents

Gotu kola showed the presence of the following glycosides: indocentelloside, brahmoside, brahminoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside and isothankuniside. The corresponding triterpene acids obtained on hydrolysis of the glycosides are indocentoic, brahmic, asiatic, thankunic and isothankunic. These acids, except the last two, are also present in free form in the plant apart from isobrahmic and betulic acids. The presence of mesoinositol, a new oligosaccharide, ‘centellose’, kaempferol, quercetin and stigmasterol, have also been reported.

Pharmacological activities:  

The main active ingredients in Brahmi are Bacoside A and B. Bacoside A assists in release of nitric oxide that allows the relaxation of the aorta and veins, to allow the blood to flow more freely through the body. Therefore Brahmi is revered for strenghtening the immune system, improving vitality and performance and promoting longevity.

Bacoside B is a protein valued for nourishing the brain cells, as a result Brahmi improves mental clarity, confidence, intelligence and memory recall. It has been widely used by students and older people alike.

Asiaticosides stimulate the reticuloendothelial system where new blood cells are formed and old ones destroyed, fatty materials are stored, iron is metabolized, and immune responses and inflammation occur or begin. The primary mode of action of Centella appears to be on the various phases of connective tissue development, which are part of the healing process. Centella also increases keratinization, the process of building more skin in areas of infection such as sores and ulcers. Asiaticosides also stimulate the synthesis of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin. Finally centella strengthens veins by repairing the connective tissues surrounding veins and decreasing capillary fragility.

 

Dose  Churna 3- 4 gm

Important Formulations : Gotu kola is available in teas and as dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, tablets

 

Medicinal Uses : 

 Gotu kola is a wonderful herb with incredible healing powers and is a rich source of vitamin K.

  • Wound Healing and Skin Lesions : Gotu kola contains triterpenoids which strengthen the skin, increase the concentration of antioxidants in wounds, and restore inflamed tissues by increasing blood supply. Hence, Gotu kola has been used externally for Burns, Psoriasis, Eczema, Keloids , CellulitePrevention of scar formation following surgery, recovery from an Episiotomy following Vaginal delivery of a newborn, and treatment of external Fistulas.
  • Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins : When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out of the blood vessels, causing the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). Gotukola is found to relieve the condition of such persons.
  • High Blood Pressure : In a study of people with heart disease and High Blood Pressure, those who took gotu kola experienced a significant reduction in Diastolic Blood Pressure compared to those who took placebo.
  • Gotu Kola is also used in treatment of Diarrhoea and Gynecological applications such as menstrual disorders and vaginal discharge.
  • Anxiety : Triterpenoids have been shown to soothe Anxiety and boost mental function
  • Scleroderma : One study involving 13 females with scleroderma found that gotu kola decreased Joint pain, Skin hardening, and improved finger movement.
  • Insomnia : Gotu kola has been used to help people with insomnia because of its sedative effects
  • As an Immunity Booster : It helps in relieving people from stress, Fatigue and provides them Longevity.
  • Gastric Ulcers
  • AIDS
  • Muscular Atrophy
  • Increases Haemoglobin and Lowers Urea and Uric acid , Phosphate level in the blood.
  • Elephantiasis

 

Side effects:

Side effects are rare but may include skin allergy and burning sensations (with external use), headache, stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and extreme drowsiness. These side effects tend to occur with high doses of gotu kola.

 

Contraindication:

  •  Gotu kola is not recommended under 18 years old.

  •  Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not use gotu kola , nursing mothers should also avoid it.

  • People older than 65 should take gotu kola at a lower than standard dose.

Precautions:

Gotu kola has been used in some studies that lasted up to one year. However, in some people gotu kola may affect the liver. It's best not to use gotu kola for more than 6 weeks without talking to your doctor. You may need to take a 2-week break before taking the herb again.

Asiaticoside, a major component of gotu kola, has also been associated with tumor growth in mice. Anyone with a history of precancerous or cancerous skin lesions -- such as squamous cell, basal cell skin cancer, or melanoma -- should not use gotu kola.

People with liver disease, or who take medications that affect the liver, should not take gotu kola.

Interactions and Depletions:

Gotu kola may interact with the following medications:

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs  --  Gotu kola  has been reported to increase cholesterol levels. People with High cholesterol level should avoid Gotu kola.

  • Diabetes medications -- Gotu kola  increases  blood sugar levels, hence people with diabetes should not take gotu kola without first talking to their doctor.

  • Diuretics (water pills) -- Gotu kola is found to have diuretic effects, meaning it helps rid the body of excess fluid. Taking diuretic medications and gotu kola could cause your body to lose too much fluid, upsetting the balance of electrolytes you need. The same is true of taking gotu kola with herbs that have diuretic effects, such as green tea, astragalus, or gingko.

  • Sedatives -- Due to  gotu kola's sedative effects, it  increases the effect of other medications taken to relieve anxiety or insomnia.

Summary:

 Centella asiatica; a widely available Indian herb has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Centella asiatica also has a historical reputation for boosting mental activity and for helping a variety of systemic illnesses, such as High blood pressure, Rheumatism, Fever, and Nervous disorders. In traditional African system of medicine it has been used for the treatment of leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, syphilis and wound healing. In India for the last 3,000 years of Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for the purposes like boosting memory, wound healing, a mild diuretic, increasing concentration, alertness, as well as anti-anxiety and anti-stress. It has also been used for centuries in the treatment of liver and kidney problems. Today, American and European herbalists use Gotu kola for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling, such as Scleroderma, Psoriatic Arthritis, Anklylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Gotu Kola was first accepted as a drug in France in the 1880's.


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Disclaimer: The information presented at this page is not intended to replace the services of a health practitioner licensed in the diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease. Any application of the material in this text is at the reader's discretion and sole responsibility. If you have a persistent medical condition or your symptoms are severe please consult a physician. Statements on this web site about health conditions and remedies have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and neither is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder in any way or form.

 

 

 

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