Gotu kola, or Asian pennywort is a plant whose properties and healing effects have been appreciated in Indian natural medicine for years – Ayurveda. Gotu kola (Asian pennywort) has been used as a means for better memory and concentration. Proper dosage of this plant also helps reduce anxiety in stressful situations. What other properties does the Gotu kola have? What are its healing properties?

Gotu kola – otherwise Asian pennywort or Asian Asiaticus, or from Latin Centella asiatica L. – is a plant whose properties and healing effects have long been appreciated all over the world. In Indian natural medicine – Ayurveda – has found a wide application. It’s believed to have rejuvenating properties and has a positive effect on the functioning of the brain.

The customary name of the Asian pennywort is Gotu kola. In the Sinhala language, the word “kola” means a leaf, and “Gotu” a chalice shape.

Regular use of the Asian pennywort has to improve memory, prevent depression, and reduce anxiety. According to the principles of Ayurveda, the Asian Bitumen is used to treat skin lesions caused by leprosy, vitiligo, psoriasis, and eczema, inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract, syphilis, asthma, anaemia, cholera and hypertension. It’s recommended to enrich the diet with the Asian Bitumen in the case of diabetes. In India, in folk medicine, the plant was administered in the diseases of the digestive tract: dysentery, diarrhea, abdominal pain and indigestion. In Chinese medicine, the Asian Bituminum is used to treat depression, anxiety and as a means of removing physical and mental exhaustion.

Gotu kola (Asian pennywort) for memory and concentration

Gotu kola gained the most popularity as a dietary supplement for memory and concentration, which has scientific justification.

As scientists have shown, Gotu kola activates the release of neurotrophic factor of brain (BDNF) – a protein that stimulates the formation of new brain cells.

In addition, Gotu kola contributes to the development of dendrite (this is the element of the neuron, the structure transmitting signals received from other neurons by the synapses to the body of which it’s part), thereby increasing brain plasticity and communication between brain cells.

Gotu kola also contributes to the stimulation of nerve growth factor (NGF) and protects the brain against the harmful effects of free radicals and neurotoxins

Gotu kola (Asiatic pennywort) for calming and depression

Extracts from the Asian pennywort affect the central nervous system – they have a calming, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and analgesic effect.

Indian researchers from the Institute of History of Medicine and Medical Research in New Delhi have shown that water extract from the Gotu kola reduces spontaneous activity in mice and prolongs sleep time. All thanks to two glycosides called the Bramosid and Braharnozide. The calming effect of these substances corresponds to the action of a mild sedative from the pharmacy shelf. Studies comparing the action on mice with an aqueous extract of dipper and diazepam (a psychotropic drug from the benzodiazepine group) have shown that aqueous extract reduces spontaneous activity to the same extent as diazepam. The extract also reduced convulsions caused in mice. In addition, the anxiolytic effect in mice was milder than after benzodiazepine.

Gotu kola (Asian pennywort) for stomach ulcers

Chinese scientists from The University of Hong Kong showed that the water extract from the Asian pennywort, as well as its main ingredient, Asiaticoside, accelerated the healing of stomach ulcers. Administration of the extract to rats resulted in a reduction in the size of the ulcer within 3 to 7 days, depending on the dose administered. In other studies, stomach ulcers were induced in mice. It was observed that subcutaneous administration of Asiaticoside for 3 hours before induction of ulcers significantly reduced their formation.

Gotu kola – dosage

At the dose of 2 g in the morning and at noon (as a powdered herb), 5-10 ml of the tincture 1: 5 in the morning and at noon is recommended. Infusions of 2-3% drink from morning to afternoon. Sometimes, infusions are recommended from half a teaspoon per cup of boiling water, whether the doses of 100 mg per day are not effective and can be treated as a placebo.

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