Botanical Name(s): Centella Asiatica
Genus: Centella L.
Species: Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.
Popular Name(s): Indian Pennywort, Artayniya-e Hindi, Jal Brahmi, Brahmi, Brahma-manduki
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Habitat: Grown in waterlogged places throughout India
Gotu kola is a perennial plant native to India and other tropical countries. Its appearance changes, depending on growing conditions. In shallow water, the plant puts forth floating roots and the leaves rest on top of the water. In dry locations, it puts out numerous small roots and the leaves are small and thin. The stems of the plant are slender, with creeping stolons, interconnecting one plant to the other. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, which grow vertically downwards. The rhizomes have a cream color and are covered with root hair. The flowers of the plant range from pinkish to red in color.
Indocentelloside, brahmoside, brahminoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside and isothankuniside are the glycosides found in the plant. The corresponding triterpene acids obtained on hydrolysis of these glycosides are indocentoic, brahmic, asiatic, thankunic and isothankunic. These acids, except the thankunic and isothankunic, are also present in free form in the plant, apart from isobrahmic and betulic acids. The presence of mesoinositol, ‘centellose’ (a new oligosaccharide), kaempferol, quercetin and stigmasterol, have also been reported. The main active ingredients found are Bacoside A and B.
Uses & Benefits of Gotu Kola
- Gotu kola is used in treatment of leprosy and known to ameliorate the symptoms of the disease and improve general health of the patient. There are several studies that have established the healing properties of the herb, explaining its traditional use in treating leprosy.
- This herb is a mild adaptogen. It is also mildly anti-bacterial, anit-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a stimulant that helps in circulation, a diuretic, nervine and Vulnerary.
- When eaten in raw form, as a salad leaf, it helps maintain youthfulness. A decoction of juice from the leaves is believed to relive hypertension.
- Open sores can be effectively treated by a poultice of the leaves of Gotu kola.
- The herb works as a brain tonic and stimulates hair growth. It also revitalizes the brain and the nervous system, besides increasing attention span and concentration.
- It possesses anti-oxidant properties, works for venous insufficiency and is also used in Thailand for detoxifying opium.
- When the root of the herb is ingested with milk and liquorices, it is very effective in arresting dysentery.
- The leaves of gotu kola can be used to treat all types of fevers. Pepper, ocimum sanctum and the leaves of the plant are to be grinded and consumed twice a day, for the purpose.
- In India, the herb is extensively used for its therapeutic properties for improving memory.
- Excess doses of gotu kola might cause headaches and transient unconsciousness. So, it is advisable not to drive or operate machinery, after consuming it.
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