In 1979 Richard Lucus wrote a book that claimed a subspecies of Gotu Kola, called “Hydrocotyle asiatica minor”, had a longevity factor called ‘youth Vitamin X’. This youth Vitamin X was said to be a tonic for the endocrine glands and brain. He also said that extracts from this subspecies were beneficial to help circulation and skin problems. Since then, Michael Moore, has debunked this as myth. He claims that there is no such subspecies of Gotu Kola in existence. Nonetheless, some of the circulatory and dermatological effects have a solid basis in Centella asiatica.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is a small annual plant that is native to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, northern Australia, Iran, Melanesia, New Guinea and Malaysia. It has slender interconnecting stems, creeping stolons, that are red to greenish in color. The leaves are green, long-stalked, reniform leaves that have a smooth texture with rounded apices. The root consists of rhizomes, which grow down vertically. It is cream colored and covered in root hairs. When Gotu Kola flowers the buds are a pinkish to red color. They are situated in small bunches close to the soil surface.
Gotu Kola thrives along low wet areas and along ditchlines. It is not uncommon for Gotu Kola to suffer bacterial contamination. This is likely due to being harvested from sewage ditches. Because of the fact that it is aquatic it is extra sensitive to water pollutants. It matures in three months and is harvested by hand, roots and all.
Gotu Kola is antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anti-ulcerogenic, a cerebral tonic, a mild adaptogen, nervine, vulnerary, a diuretic and a circulatory stimulant.
When eaten in raw form, like in a salad, Gotu Kola is thought to help maintain youthfulness. It can also brewed as a tea for an afternoon energy boost. The juice from the leaves is a good remedy to relieve hypertension, treat open sores and makes a great general tonic for good health.
Traditionally, Gotu Kola was used to help medicate leprosy. Several reports have come out from the scientific community, since then, that have shown Gotu Kola has wound healing properties. It helps scars to mature by the production of type 1 collagen.
Centella Asiatica is also used to revitalize the nervous system and brain; as well as help to increase concentration and memory span. It’s age combatting and antioxidant properties are a big reason people use Gotu Kola, today. In Thailand it is used to help people who are detoxifying from an opium addiction.
Gotu Kola is a widely used herb with many uses. It is often mixed with other herbs in a complete homeopathic health regimine. It can be helpful with anything from improving the memory to helping open wounds on the skin heal.
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