Gotu Kola is very popular as an herbal treatment used in natural cures and home remedies. Commonly used to treat a variety of ailments, Gotu Kola has also been used to increase levels of collagen in the skin and for healing wounds. It is one of the most important and frequently used Ayurvedic herbs currently used. Currently, its leafy greens are utilized as an important food source in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand. Gotu Kula has been widely recognized worldwide as an effective herbal medicine as early as 1884.
Other commonly used names for Gotu Kola include:
- Marsh Penny
- Indian Pennywort
Gotu Kola grows like a weed in parts of Hawaii, China, Japan, South Africa, Indonesia and India, where it appears in unexpected places like gutters, drainage ditches and other unkempt areas. It is known to thrive especially well in or near water. At the same time, it is also used in organic farming and is among the largest crops currently being cultivated.
As a relative of the parsley plant, Gotu Kola is odorless and tasteless. The plant features green leaves that are fan-shaped and either white flowers or purplish-pink flowers. The Gotu Kola plant bears small, oval-shaped fruit.
It is the leaf of the Gotu Kola plant that is the most effective. Leaves are used fresh in salads in beverages or in medicinal extracts. They may also be dried to use as tea and liquid herbal extracts of Gotu Kola are commonly offered wherever herbs are sold.
Gotu Kola is commonly used to increase memory. It is also helpful with the following:
- Cognitive disabilities
- Wound healing
- Skin lesions
- Varicose veins
Side effects from using Gotu Kola or other herbs are rare, but they do occur with some people, particularly when high doses are taken. A few of the side effects associated with this particular herb include:
Research done in India suggests that Gotu Kola may act as a mild depressant and, therefore, it is recommended that people suffering from mild to moderate depression abstain from its use.
Gotu Kola is also not typically recommended for persons under 18 years old without being under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Pregnant women, women who are nursing or anyone currently under the care of a medical doctor is advised to discuss using Gotu Kola with their healthcare provider before taking.
Those with a history of precancerous skin lesions or cancers of the skin should not use Gotu Kola.
Also, some research indicates that Gotu Kola increases blood glucose levels. Until further research is available, it is advised that those with diabetes avoid taking Gotu Kola.
Although side effects are rarely associated with Gotu Kola or with the use of any herbal natural cures or home remedies, it should be noted that some prescription medications do not interact well with certain herbs. A few that do not interact well with Gotu Kola are as follows:
- Sedatives (it may also increase the potency of valerian root or other herbs taken to treat insomnia or anxiety)
- Diuretics (including astragalus herbs, green tea or gingko biloba)
- Certain diabetes medications
- Certain statins or other cholesterol reducing medications
- Certain medications used for treating liver disease