Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola)

Before the advent of science-based pharmacy and pharmacology, long-term effective healing and cures in ancient societies were made possible through the use of natural products like Centella Asiatica. Asian societies, for instance, document the use of herbal medicine and countless species of plants in curing diseases and afflictions. This is an important aspect of holistic healing that is rooted in the concept of harmony with natural forces.

Indeed the use of ancient technologies like acupressure, acupuncture, the alignment of the chakras, etc. complement the ingestion or application of natural products in the form of powder, tea, dried leaves, or in their natural form as fruits, leaves, barks, roots, and branches.

Public records and reports from the societies of Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines show the extensive use of these natural products like Gotu Kola as medicines, supplements, and ingredients for food and drink [1] . This regional familiarity with and reliance on natural products for healthy living and well-being is characteristic of cultures which believe in a philosophy focused on the harmony between man and nature.

Gotu KolaCentella asiatica (or gotu kola) is a small herbal annual plant which grows and flourishes in wet areas including swampy areas and along the path of sewage flows making it vulnerable to bacteria [1].

Despite this, centella asiatica is an extremely popular ingredient in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. The leaves of this herb is eaten raw or mixed with other ingredients into vegetable salads and fresh vegetable rolls, used extensively as a refreshing cool drink, is mixed with other herbs to enhance the taste of dishes, and is mixed with the local staple, like rice and coconut [1].

Uses of Centella Asiatica

Most importantly, centella asiatica is well-known in three regions (East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) as a herbal supplement that has therapeutic properties, improves mental ability and memory and enhances longevity ([2]; [3]).

This herb is used to strengthen the nervous system, and adrenal glands. Epilepsy, senility and premature aging are prevented through the use of this herb ([2]; [4] ).

This herb is used to enhance meditation and foster rejuvenation and a good restful sleep. Its uses are documented in the ancient Vedas of India because of its associations with the spiritual.

This cure-all herb improves blood circulation, cleans the circulatory system of toxins, and gives relief to high-blood pressure [2].

It hastens the healing of wounds, is used to heal leprosy, and is used to prevent infection and strengthen immunity ([2] ; [4] ).

Herbal enthusiasts testify to the efficacy and effectiveness of centella asiatica as a having enhanced personal appearance and youthfulness, slowed down aging, improved vision, eliminated too visible veins, managed blood pressure, increase energy levels among others ([2]; [4] ).

Current Studies on Cantella asiatica

Pharmacological studies and current scientific researches on Cantella asiatica affirm the role of this herb in healing and rejuvenating practices for thousands of years in Asia [3].

The entire plant of 20 species and varieties grown in the region is totally utilized for medicinal purposes: the fan-like leaves, the pink and white flowers, and the oval fruit [3].

In addition to all other properties attributed to the cantella asiatica, pre-clinical pharmacological studies are focusing on the analysis of this cure-all herb to support claims of healing of wounds, venous insufficiency, sedative and anxiolytic properties, anti-depressant properties, anti-epileptic properties, cognitive and antioxidant properties, relief from gastric ulcer, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties, radio-protection and other uses [3] .

Concerns of medical practitioners regarding Cantella asiatica is the discovery of possible side effects of this herb, the result of the interaction between the use of other drugs and Cantella asiatica, and the safest possible dosage given the fact that in many instances, it is consumed raw and in varying quantities.

[1] Cantella asiatica (n.d.) Available from: http://www.wikipedia.org (Accessed on August 16, 2014)
[2]Cantella asiatica (n.d.) Available from: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-gotu-kola.html) (Accessed on August 16, 2014)
[3]Gohil, Kashmira J., Patel, Jagruti E., and Gajjar, Anuradha K. (2010). Pharmacological Review on Cantella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PM3116297. (Accessed on August 16,2014)
[4]Gotu Kola (n.d.) Available from: http://webmed.com (Accessed on August 16, 2014)

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