As a perennial plant of the parsley family, gotu kola grows in many parts of the world, although it is native to southern Asia. Gotu kola, also known as Centella asiatica, is a small herbaceous plant that has been incorporated in various alternative medicinal practices for centuries. Native to several Asian countries, gotu kola is widely recognized for its potential health benefits, especially for its ability to positively impact cognitive function and overall health.
Gotu kola’s active constituents, namely the saponins and triterpenoids, are of great interest to researchers. Some of these compounds include madecassoside, madasiatic acid, and asiaticoside, all of which are responsible for the health properties. Numerous studies have explored the effects of gotu kola on various aspects of human health, and we highlight those findings in the following five points.
According to several studies, gotu kola may offer neuroprotective properties, promoting cognitive function and improving memory and learning abilities. In a small clinical study consisting of older adults with an average age of 65, gotu kola supplementation helped improve mood and overall cognitive function. In a systematic review, however, gotu kola did not seem to improve cognitive function. It did improve mood by improving alertness and relieving anger. Additional Research suggests that gotu kola may enhance nerve growth factor levels in the brain, which may help protect against cognitive decline.
May Reduce Anxiety And Stress
In an animal study from 2016, researchers noted that gotu kola exhibited an anti-anxiety effect on sleep-deprived male mice. Sleep deprivation is a common source of anxiety, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress. Other studies found that gotu kola may have an anxiolytic effect, meaning it can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. Researchers believe that it can modulate the release of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which help regulate mood.
Topical application of gotu kola extracts may promote wound healing because it works to stimulate collagen synthesis. Additionally, gotu kola may enhance the production of connective tissue components. A small clinical trial compared gotu kola to liver sulfadiazine in a study with participants with burn wounds. In the study, gotu kola was in an ointment dosage called Centiderm. The results indicated that the participants benefited from the Centiderm application. In the study, however, burn wounds had to be less than 10% of the total body surface area. More research is necessary to determine gotu kola’s efficacy on wound healing.
As you may know, antioxidants work to protect cells from oxidative stress and damaging free radicals. Because gotu kola exhibits impressive antioxidant activity, it may work to reduce joint inflammation, cartilage erosion, and bone erosion. Gotu kola’s antioxidant effects also positively impact immune function, which may help protect against chronic diseases.
May Improve Circulation
Historical accounts found that gotu kola extracts have been used as traditional remedies for venous insufficiency, which is characterized by poor blood circulation in the legs. Older research found that gotu kola may be useful in the treatment of varicose veins. Gotu kola exhibits a positive metabolic effect on the connective tissues in vascular walls. Additional research suggests that gotu kola may help relieve leg heaviness and swelling by strengthening blood vessels and improving blood flow.
In closing, it should be noted that while these studies provide promising information and results, more research is still necessary to determine the health benefits. Should you want to experiment with gotu kola supplementation, consider discussing it with your healthcare professional to determine if it is safe for you. You don’t want it to negatively interact with other medications or conditions that you have.