Gotu Kola

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Gotu kola is a staple herb in traditional Chinese, Indonesian and Ayurvedic medicine. This medicinal herb is said to boost brain power, treat some skin problems, and boost liver and kidney health.

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has been used since ancient times to improve mental clarity and to treat skin conditions such as leprosy and psoriasis. Some people used it to treat respiratory infections such as colds. It was called the "fountain of life" because legend has it that an Ancient Chinese man lived more than 200 years as a result of administering gotu kola remedies. But what does the current scientific evidence say?

Gotu Kola can help boost cognitive function
A small study¹ from 2016 compared the effects of gotu kola extract and folic acid in boosting cognitive function after stroke. Specifically, the impact on three groups of participants was evaluated: one group took 1,000 mg of gotu kola per day, one 750 mg of gotu kola, and one 3 mg of folic acid. Although gotu kola and folic acid were equally beneficial for improving overall cognitive function, gotu kola was more effective in improving memory.

The plant could also help treat Alzheimer's disease
Gotu kola has the ability to enhance memory and nerve function, which gives it some potential in treating Alzheimer's disease. A 2012 study² ÔÇőÔÇőin mice found that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in mice with Alzheimer's disease. The extract has also been shown in laboratory and animal studies to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This could protect cells from plaque formation associated with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers say further research is needed to determine exactly how gotu kola might be used to treat this condition.

Gotu kola may reduce anxiety and stress
A 2016 animal study found that gotu kola had an anti-anxiety effect on male mice that had not slept for 72 hours. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, oxidative damage and neuroinflammation. Mice given gotu kola for five consecutive days before being sleep deprived experienced improved locomotor activity and less oxidative damage. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

It can act as an antidepressant
The plant's positive effect on brain function can also make it an effective antidepressant. A small study of 33 people with generalized anxiety disorder who took gotu kola instead of antidepressant medication for 60 days found that their stress decreased and their symptoms of anxiety and depression lessened.

Gotu kola can help calm insomnia
Given its potential ability to treat anxiety, stress, and depression, gotu kola supplements can also be used to treat the insomnia that sometimes accompanies these conditions. Some consider this herbal remedy to be a safe alternative to prescription drugs used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

The remedy could reduce the appearance of stretch marks and help treat wounds
The terpenoids in gotu kola are thought to increase collagen production in the body, which could help prevent new stretch marks from forming as well as heal existing ones. Gotu kola can also promote wound healing and reduce scarring. A study³ in rats found that a dressing containing gotu kola had healing effects on several types of wounds. Although the results are promising, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Gotu kola may ease joint pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb can be helpful in treating arthritis. A study in rats with arthritis found that oral administration of gotu kola reduced joint inflammation, cartilage erosion, and bone erosion. Its antioxidant effect also had a positive effect on the immune system.

The plant can have a detoxifying effect
Newer research looks at gotu kola's effect on liver and kidney toxicity. According to an animal study, gotu kola can be used to suppress the toxic side effects of the antibiotic isoniazid, used to treat and prevent tuberculosis. Rats given 100 mg of gotu kola for 30 days before being given the antibiotic experienced less toxicity. The rats that have experienced liver and kidney toxicity returned to near-normal levels after being given gotu kola.



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