Gotu kola is an herb that is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine. Gotu kola is used to treat bacterial, viral, or parastitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, H1N1 (swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.
Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs. Some people use gotu kola for sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis), jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, asthma, “tired blood” (anemia), diabetes, and for helping them live longer. Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire. Gotu kola is sometimes applied to the skin for wound healing and reducing scars, including stretch marks caused by pregnancy.
How does it work?
Gotu kola contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and also decrease blood pressure in veins. Gotu kola also seems to increase collagen production, which is important for wound healing. It is possibly effective for decreased return of blood from the feet and legs back to the heart (venous insufficiency). Taking gotu kola or a specific extract of gotu kola (Centellase) by mouth for 4-8 weeks seems to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in people with poor blood circulation in the legs.