Gotu Cola — Centella asiatica

centella gota KolaFamily: Apiaceae

Part used: Leaves.

Indications: Gastric ulceration and inflammation, dysentery, jaundice, hepatitis, fever, bronchitis, alopecia, eczema, psoriasis, leprous ulcers, venereal diseases, burns, anxiety, poor memory, ADD/ADHD, senility, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, chronic fatigue, premature aging, hypertension, anemia, diabetes, edema, varicosities, phlebitis, venous insufficiency, immunodeficiency, autoimmune disorders, cancer.

Contraindications:A water-soluble fraction of Centella asiatica was reported to inhibit hepatic enzymes responsible for barbiturate metabolism, and has been found to have a GABAnergic activity.  Gotu Colais thus contraindicated with the concurrent use of drugs such as benzodiazepines, barbituates or antiepileptics.  Contact dermatitis has been reported in some clients using preparations of fresh or dried parts of the plant.  Although the triterpene constituents have shown to lack any kind or during pregnancy, relaxation of the rat uterus has been documented for brahmoside and brahminoside, and therefore Gotu Cola is thus avoided in pregnancy.

Medicinal uses: Gotu Cola is a common green vegetable throughout Southeast Asia, from India to the Phillipines, sometimes eaten raw as a side dish, or prepared as a juice.  It is said to be a favourite food of elephants in Sri Lanka. For internal administration the fresh plant is considered best, either as a juice, or more recently, as a fresh plant tincture.  Dried plant preparations however are used in Ayurveda and should not be considered as useless.

Gotu Cola is a useful treatment in a range of mental and cerebrovascular conditions including epilepsy, stroke, dementia, memory loss, poor concentration, and attention deficit disorder.

In skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema benefit can be obtained by using Gotu Cola with hepatics such as Bhringaraja, Manjishta, Daruharidra (Berberis aristata) and Yellowdock (Rumex crispus)Gotu Cola may also be used topically in salves and balms to treat chapped lips, herpetic lesions, leprosy, scrofula, seborrheic dermatitis, ‘dish pan’ hands, eczema, psoriasis and insect bites and stings.