For thousands of years Gotu Kola has been used as a rejuvenating herb. It is a staple in Ayruvedic medicine mostly used in China and India where it is called “the fountain of life”. This comes from a legendary Chinese herbalist who is said to have live for 200 years due to his lifelong use of Gotu Kola.
In Sri Lanka the residents noticed that elephants chewed on the leaves of the plant and it seemed to promote their longevity.
Its historical uses have been to treat infections, hepatitis, syphilis, mental fatigue, asthma, stomach ulcers and epilepsy. Gotu Kola has long been used to treat leprosy as its antibacterial effect has been found to weaken bacteria so that the body can wage a more effective fight to eliminate it.
Modern medicine has found Gotu Kola effective in treating venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the legs) and varicose veins. One study found that it did reduce swelling and vein pooling in those on long airline flights. Gotu Kola has been used as a “brain tonic” for nervous disorders such as senility, premature aging, general memory loss, and even to enhance intelligence.
Because Gotu Kola contains a substance called triterpenoids, it has been found to help heal skin lesions by strengthening the skin and increasing blood supply to the affected area. There are applications for Gotu Kola applied topically to treat burns, psoriasis, reduce scaring and even reduction in stretch marks.
As with effects on the skin, triterpenoids appear to reduce anxiety and increase mental functions in mice. Human studies have shown similar results but more research is needed to determine the best dosage for treatment.
Gotu Kola should not be used by those under 18 years of age or while pregnant or nursing. As always consult your health care provider regarding dosages and interactions with medications you may be taking.