Gotu Kola

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Gotu kola (also known by its scientific name Centella asiatica) is an herb in the parsley family used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (two forms of complementary and alternative medicine).[1][2][3][4]

Gotu kola is native to tropical and subtropical parts of Asia, and it should not be confused with kola nut, as it does not contain caffeine and has not been shown to have stimulant properties.[1][5] It is used to treat burns, poor circulation, schistosomiasis, atherosclerosis, and many other conditions.[2][5] Some also claim that gotu kola can benefit the brain and nervous system, increasing attention span and concentration, and improving memory.[1][5] However, scientists have not yet performed sufficient research to justify these uses of gotu kola, with the exceptions of second-degree burns, varicose veins, and venous insufficiency.

Gotu kola does appear to accelerate the healing process when applied to second-degree burns, and taking gotu kola (or Centellase, an extract of it) by mouth seems to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in people with poor blood circulation in the legs. Its effect on blood circulation and swelling lets it serve as a treatment for varicose veins (a vein condition causing itchy skin, swelling, and aching in the legs, which becomes more likely as patients age) and venous insufficiency (in which veins have problems moving blood from the legs to the heart).[2][6][7]

It should be noted that science has not found evidence against gotu kola's effectiveness against other conditions; it simply has not found evidence for gotu kola's effectiveness. An exception is radiation dermatitis (a type of skin damage), as some research has shown that a cream containing gotu kola extract does not reduce the severity of radiation dermatitis from breast cancer treatments.[2]

Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gohil, K., Patel, J., & Gajjar, A. (2010). Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica: A potential herbal cure-all. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 72(5), 546. https://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.78519
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gotu kola: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-753/gotu-kola
  3. What is Ayurveda? (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments
  4. What is traditional Chinese medicine? (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-traditional-chinese-medicine
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Gotu kola: Health benefits and side effects. (2020, March 10). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/gotu-kola-benefits
  6. The basics of varicose veins. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-varicose-veins-basics
  7. Venous insufficiency: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000203.htm