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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Go tu Kola. Say What?

How's that again?

Yes, you heard it right, gotu kola (centella asiatica) has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years in India, China, and Indonesia. It was used to heal wounds, improve mental clarity, and treat skin conditions such as leprosy and psoriasis. Some people use it to treat respiratory infections such as colds, and it has a history of use for that purpose in China. It has been called "the fountain of life" because legend has it that an ancient Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years as a result of using the herb.

Travelling back into history we find that gotu kola has also been used to treat syphilis, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, mental fatigue, epilepsy, diarrhea, fever, and asthma. Today, American and European herbalists use gotu kola for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling, such as scleroderma, psoriatic arthritis (arthritis occurring in conjunction with psoriasis), anklylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine), and rheumatoid arthritis. Recent studies confirm some of the traditional uses and also suggest possible new applications for gotu kola, such as lowering high blood pressure, treating venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the veins, usually in the legs, boosting memory and intelligence, easing anxiety, and speeding wound healing.

Gotu kola contains a compound known as 'triterpenoids', compounds which have been observed to aid in the healing of wounds. Research has indicated that triterpenoids strengthen the skin, increase the concentration of antioxidants in wounds, and restore inflamed tissues by increasing blood supply. Because of these properties, gotu kola has been used externally for burns, psoriasis, prevention of scar formation following surgery, recovery from an episiotomy following vaginal delivery of a newborn, and treatment of external fistulas (a tear at or near the anus).

In the case that you are lucky enough to come across this miracle product this would be the recoommended dosage for an adult:

The adult dosage of gotu kola may vary depending on the condition being treated. An appropriately trained and certified herbalist, such as a naturopath, can provide the necessary guidance.
The standard dose of gotu kola varies depending on the form:

Dried herb—to make tea, add ¼ to ½ tsp dried herb to a cup of boiling waterfor 10 minutes, 3 times a day

Powdered herb (available in capsules)—1,000 to 4,000 mg, 3 times a day
Tincture (1:2, 30% alcohol)—30 to 60 drops - Interestingly, I have yet to find tinctures in American pharmacies. That's not to say that are not any.

Standardized extract—60 to 120 mg per day; standardized extracts should contain 40% asiaticoside, 29% to 30% asiatic acid, 29% to 30% madecassic acid, and 1% to 2% madecassoside; Doses used in studies mentioned in the treatment section range from 20 mg (for scleroderma) up to 180 mg (in one study for venous insufficiency; although, most of the studies for this latter condition were conducted using 90 mg to 120 mg per day).

The recommended dosage for people with insomnia is ½ tsp of dried herb in a cup of water taken for no more than 4 to 6 weeks.

This product is relatively common in India. However, it is available in speciality herbal shops in the US as well as online.

Thanks for reading,


  1. I love that stuff! I use tinctures of that and kava kava! Thanks for the great research, keep up the great work!

  2. Wow this sounds like some good stuff. I'll have to get some of it soon. It looks like a cure all.

  3. Sounds good. Thanks for the tip.


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