Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is a member of the parsley family. It’s found in Southeast Asia, where it’s often consumed as a tea or supplement, applied topically, and sometimes even eaten in salads. Whilst this perennial herbaceous plant is not currently widely known or used in the West, it has been used in traditional and Ayurvedic practices for hundreds of years. Amongst its other names, Gotu Kola is sometimes known as the “herb of longevity”, which sounds utterly fantastic, doesn’t it?
So fantastic, in fact, that Vivo Life uses it in THRIVE, our vegan Greens Powder and Multivitamin, for improved brain function, as well as its numerous other health benefits. This guide will take a closer look at the benefits and uses of Gotu Kola, along with any potential side effects.
So, what can it do for you?
- It can boost your brain: Primarily, Gotu Kola is believed to be beneficial for brain function. Research has also shown that it can enhance memory function and improve the workings of our nerves in the brain, which has a positive impact on Dementia patients and is even thought to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- It may also act as a mood booster: A Gotu Kola supplement might help to alleviate and balance the symptoms of anxiety, although more research is needed in this area. It also might help to reduce stress and the symptoms of chronic depression, including fluctuations in body weight and resting heart rate.
- It keeps your circulation effective, and your vascular system healthy: Studies have found that Gotu Kola can help to improve circulation, reduce water retention, and even help with the prevention and treatment of varicose veins. It appears that It can have a positive effect on the walls of our veins by increasing our metabolic rate in the connective tissue in that area. Other studies have also suggested that Gotu Kola can reduce the chances of developing blood clots after air travel.
- It can help you sleep: We all appreciate a good night’s sleep, especially after hectic days, but, for some of us, a good sleep doesn’t come easily. Insomnia can be hugely detrimental to those who suffer from it, especially when it occurs as a symptom of anxiety disorders. Given its mood boosting credentials, there is evidence to suggest that Gotu Kola could also aid in better sleep and relaxation.
- It’s good for your skin: Take stretch marks, for example. Whether they are the result of pregnancy, weight changes, or your skin making room for growing muscle, stretch marks can have a negative impact on our confidence and self-esteem. It’s believed that a substance in Gotu Kola called ‘terpenoids’ can help to increase the body’s ability to produce collagen, which is responsible for supporting our skin and connective tissue, improving its elasticity and firming it up. Not only can this help to reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks, it is thought that it might prevent new ones from forming. If applied topically, Gotu Kola has been seen to promote wound healing and reduce scarring, although further research is needed. It is always recommended to perform a small patch test before applying to the affected area. Gotu Kola also might help reduce the effects of psoriasis, a skin condition which causes itchy, flaking patches of skin.
- It might help our joints: Current research suggests that Gotu Kola might hold anti-inflammatory properties which could help to combat joint pain and arthritis. Studies have further suggested that it can help to prevent the wearing down of bones from this condition, although further research is ongoing.
- It might contain antioxidant properties which can increase the capacity of our immune system. There is ongoing research to suggest that Gotu Kola can also reduce the risks of bladder and liver disease, and prevent our arteries from hardening.
Are there any side effects?
Generally speaking, Gotu Kola appears to be well tolerated by the majority of people, although it might cause stomach upsets, dizziness, fatigue and headaches for some. It is recommended that it should be introduced slowly into your system, in order to ensure that you are tolerating it well. As I mentioned earlier, it is advisable to patch test a small area in advance of topical application of Gotu Kola, in case of skin irritation.
If you are considering taking a supplement which contains Gotu Kola, make sure that you choose a product which has been tested for heavy metals. It is suggested that you do not take it as a supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and that you consult your doctor before taking Gotu Kola if you are on medication or have any pre-existing conditions.
If you are looking for a clean source of Gotu Kola which also has the benefits of a multinutrient and greens powder - then look no further than THRIVE. My favourite is the Blueberry and Lucuma flavour!