Gotu kola/Vallarai Health Benefits
Centella asiatica or Gotu kola, as it is called in Srilanka, is a herb that has been used to treat a number of ailments in Indian and Chinese medicine. It has been used to treat conditions like syphilis, stomach ulcers, respiratory infections and many skin diseases. It is best known for its ability to improve memory. It is an aquatic plant, that thrives near water and has small fan shaped green leaves. The leaves and stem have medicinal properties. It is also used as a fodder crop, vegetable and salad herb. In Srilanka, it is eaten as a ‘kenda’ which is good for sinus, phlegm, arthritis and strengthens the immune system.
Botanical Name – Centella asiatica
Sanskrit – Mandukaparni
Sinhala – Gotu kola
Tamil – Vallarai
Common Name – Indian Pennywort
Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits of Gotu kola
Gotu kola health benefits for Skin Conditions
It has been used traditionally in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat skin problems like psoraisis and rashes. The main biological activity in gotu kola seems to come from terpenoids. One of its constituents, asiaticoside, stimulates skin repair and strengthens connective tissues. Gotu kola also seems to increase collagen production, which is important for wound healing. It has been suggested that the chemical triterpenoids in gotu kola, strengthens the skin, boosts anti-oxidants and increases blood supply to the area that is wounded. Hence gotu kola is applied topically for wounds, minor burns, and is also used for reducing stretch marks and after surgery scars.
Gotu Kola is a rejuvenative nervine recommended for nervous disorders, including epilepsy, senility, and premature aging. The chemical, triterpenoids, seems to decrease anxiety and increase mental function in mice. One human study found that people who took gotu kola were less likely to be startled by a new noise. Since the “startle noise” response can be a symptom of anxiety, researchers think that gotu kola might help reduce anxiety symptoms. Regular intake of the leaves in a limited quantity is said to strengthen the
Home remedy to aid Memory
Centella asiatica is used to revitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and cognitive function. The leaves improve memory and sharpen the brain and may even stall memory loss related to Alzheimer’s disease. Green leaves are eaten fresh in the morning on an empty stomach. Children are advised to consume one to two fresh leaves in the morning.
Health benefits for Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins
Studies show that Gotu kola may increase blood circulation and help fight varicose veins and venous insufficiency. When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and causes fluid to leak out. This causes the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). The studies suggest that gotu kola may help reduce swelling and improve circulation. Gotu kola contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and also decrease blood pressure in veins.
Other Health Benefits of Gotu kola
Clinical studies indicate gotu kola may be beneficial in treating scleroderma (an autoimmune disorder). Laboratory studies show that it may help in treating osteoarthritis due to gotu kola’s ability to reinforce the connective tissue structure. Gotu kola is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and may improve liver function in people with alcohol-induced cirrhosis. The Herb may also have anticancer properties. But clinical studies have not been done, to prove these uses.
How to make Gotu kola Tea
Place 12 leaves of fresh or dried gotu kola leaves in a teapot. Boil water and pour it over your gotu kola leaves. Allow the tea to steep for about ten minutes. Strain it have with honey or lime.
Gotu kola home remedies
- Steep one teaspoon of dried gotu kola leaves in a cup of boiling water and sweeten with honey as desired. Sipping a cup of gotu kola tea before bed, is an effective home remedy to induce a restful sleep.
- Combine one fourth cup of dried gotu kola leaves with one fourth cup of dried chamomile leaves and steep in half a cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Strain and blend the mixture with cornstarch to make a thick paste. Apply to skin and once it has dried, rinse with room-temperature water. This acts as a balm for irritated skin
- Boil 1/2 tsp of dried herb in a cup of boiling water and drink for skin problems and rheumatism.
- For sinusitis, boil the whole plant to make a decoction, add a little pepper powder and sugar, and have it for a few weeks.
- Gotu kola tea is a useful natural home remedy for relieving headaches and indigestion.
- For external ulcers, grind the plant to a paste and apply on wound.
- Eating gotu kola regularly, helps treat cough and asthma. Ingesting gotu kola and red onions helps gives relief from cough and cold.
- Gotu kola tea is a remedy for worms in children and also build up an apetite.
- Gotu kola juice helps those who have difficulty in passing urine. It is a diuretic.
- Gotu kola powder is mixed with milk and given to children to soothe mental disorders.
Caution: This plant should not be given to people suffering from epilepsy, particularly children. The plant should always be consumed in a limited quantity as excess intake may lead to problems such as headache and giddiness even in healthy adults.