What is Gotu Kola: Used for Skin Tightening and Its Side Effect.
Is it a catchy title? Well this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Gotu Kola’s (almost) amazing health benefits! It also happens to provide a wealth of benefits to the skin.
Gotu kola is a staple in traditional Indonesian, Chinese, and Ayurvedic medicine. Its most important benefits have been boosting brain power and healing various brain ailments.
But with modern science making giant leaps through established research, we have more to know about gotu kola – the ancient herb that can heal you in magical ways.
What is Gotu Kola?
Also known as Indian pennywort, gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a low-growing green leafy herb that can be found natively throughout wetlands in Southeast Asia, India, and down south in the United States. It is used for both traditional herbal medicinal remedies as well as culinary purposes.
As a food, it is particularly popular in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is finely chopped and sprinkled on top of rice and curries. One salad recipe uses it in lieu of lettuce.
In Thailand, the ground powder is used to make a cold herbal tea called nam bai bua bok. It is widely used throughout India in various dishes.
It should not be confused with the kola nut, which is a caffeine-containing fruit that cola was originally made from. Even though it is sometimes touted as a brain stimulant, it’s not a good coffee alternative. The gotu kola caffeine content is actually zero!
As a purported herbal remedy, it is true that gotu kola has been used for skincare including leprosy, psoriasis, eczema, varicose veins, and lupus. Additionally, some in these cultures believe it can boost memory, improve cognition, and help with anxiety.
What about Skin Tightening?
Most signs of aging skin can be traced to two things: the breakdown of the skin’s natural moisture barrier and simply growing older. Because it can tighten and firm your look, it’s amazing ingredient for preserving and restoring a youthful look to the skin—not to mention its effect on the hair and nails.
Studies show that gotu kola can be effective in treating postoperative scars. Saponins, specific compounds in the herb, can be held responsible for this activity.
Its preparations were found to decrease stretch marks women usually develop post-pregnancy. In a placebo-controlled study involving 100 women, application of a cream with gotu kola as the main ingredient led to fewer women developing stretch marks.
Other Benefits of Gotu Kola
May Treat Anxiety And Depression
When 33 individuals diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder were withheld from antidepressant medication and given gotu kola tablets instead, they showed improvement. Scores for stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of attention had dramatically decreased after 60 days of treatment.
The herb was also found to have effects similar to commercial antidepressants like imipramine and diazepam, though at a lower level.
Preliminary findings also suggest that gotu kola may have anxiolytic effects in humans.
They can also increase the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters (like serotonin), potentially boosting feelings of happiness. This can help combat depression.
Can Accelerate Wound Healing
Extracts of gotu kola can facilitate wound healing in both incision and burn wounds. A 1% gotu extract cream was found to improve wound healing of chronic ulcers, in terms of their width, depth, and length.
These wound-healing properties of the herb can be attributed to the phyto-constituents it contains. While the herb increased the wound breaking strength in an incision wound model, asiaticoside isolated from the herb had increased collagen content in a punch wound model.
Wound dressings containing gotu were found to have healing effects on multiple types of wounds
May Regulate Blood Pressure
Studies show that gotu kola can be effective in treating venous hypertension (high pressure in the veins of the legs). The herb was found to improve microcirculation and leg volume in patients.
There isn’t much information about how this may contribute to general hypertension. Consult your doctor before using gotu kola for this purpose.
May Help Treat Alzheimer’s
Gotu kola is identified as one of the few medicines in Ayurveda that rejuvenates the nerves and brain cells. It is believed to increase intelligence, memory, and longevity. Its derivatives decreased the concentrations of free radicals and the associated cell death.
Gotu extracts can also improve behavioral deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These extracts may also restore neural cells as the studies indicate.
The herb achieves this by correcting mitochondrial dysfunction, which contributes to neurodegeneration and other related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
They also help reduce amyloid beta levels in the blood. These are compounds crucially involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
Treats Stomach Ulcers
Gotu kola can strengthen the gastric mucosal barrier and reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. This can help treat stomach ulcers. The antiulcer effects of the herb were found to be comparable with prescription drugs like famotidine and sodium valproate.
In another study, its extract displayed gastroprotective effects against gastric mucosal injury. This shows the ability of the herb to protect the gastric barrier, which again supports using Gotu kola for treating stomach ulcers.
Might Promote Weight Loss
There is very little information on this. But there is one study that shows that a topical lotion (with gotu kola as one of the ingredients) helped reduce thigh circumference and thigh fat mass in sedentary women when combined with a walking program and a restricted caloric intake.
Other than the above report, there is insufficient information. Hence, we suggest talking to your doctor before using the herb for this purpose.
Might Support Liver Health
Gotu kola might be useful in preventing liver damage. It achieves this by increasing the concentrations of antioxidant enzymes and reducing the levels of inflammatory mediators.
We suggest exercising caution as another report states that gotu kola may have liver-damaging effects.
Those are all for internal uses such as supplements, teas, and foods. It was noted that these reactions tended to occur with high doses, but they do not specify how much that is.
Possible drug interactions include statins (cholesterol-lowering medications), diabetes medications, sedatives (since it can have a sedating side effect on its own in some people), diuretics, and drugs that affect the liver.
With external use such as skincare, a sensation of burning or other skin allergy symptoms can occur. Even though it is an herbal supplement you can buy without a prescription, you should still consult your doctor before using it.
Is gotu kola a stimulant?
No, it is not. It is often confused with kola nut, the fruit of the kola tree (native to tropical rain forests of Africa) that contains caffeine and works as a stimulant.
Although gotu kola is generally considered safe to use, you should still check in with your doctor before use. This herbal remedy isn’t meant to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan, and, in some cases, it may lead to adverse side effects.
With your doctor’s approval, work an oral or topical dose into your daily routine. You may be able to avoid mild side effects by starting with a small amount and gradually increasing the dosage over time.
If you begin experiencing any unusual or prolonged side effects, discontinue use and see your doctor.
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