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Gotu kola

What is gotu kola? What is it used for?

Gotu kola is a small, ground-hugging plant grown in India, Pakistan, Madagascar and South Africa. It is also found in Eastern Europe. In Sri Lanka, the plant's leaves are consumed by both humans and animals, especially elephants.

Gotu kola has historically been reported to enhance mental activity and help a variety of illnesses, including rheumatism, fevers and high blood pressure. It is a staple in ayurvedic medicine; some of its more common uses are for cardiovascular disease, water retention, bronchitis and coughs. Practitioners also make a poultice out of gotu kola, which is used to treat many skin conditions.

The primary active ingredients of gotu kola are asiaticoside, madecassoside and madasiatic acid. These compounds have been shown to inhibit the production of collagen, especially in conjunction with scar tissue. Other studies have shown that gotu kola can help treat burns and wounds, and that it may be helpful in preventing and treating keloid scars.

How much gotu kola should I take?

Most practitioners and herbalists recommend 60mg of a standardized gotu kola extract taken two to four times a day. Other providers have suggested 10-20ml of a gotu kola tincture daily.

What forms of gotu kola are available?

Dried gotu kola leaf can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. Some nutritional stores sell gotu kola supplements; others offer fluid extracts and tinctures.

What can happen if I take too much gotu kola? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

In rare instances, people who are allergic to gotu kola have reported an adverse reaction after taking the herb. However, no other significant side-effects have been reported, and there is currently no evidence of any harmful drug interactions with gotu kola.

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  • Kartnig T. Clinical applications of centella asiatica (L) urb. In: Craker LE, Simon JE (eds.) Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants: Recent Advances in Botany, Horticulture, and Pharmacology, vol. 3. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1986, 145—73.
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