Gotu Kola is a small, annual herbaceous plant native to subtropical zones such as Sri Lanka, Australia, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Melanesia, New Guinea, India, China, Madagascar, and Africa. It grows along ditches and in low, wet areas.
Gotu Kola is considered one of the finest of all herb tonics and has been called ‘a pharmacy in one herb’. This is because of its wide variety of different uses. Gotu Kola has been referred to as the elixir of life. A Sri Lankan proverb says, “two leaves a day, keeps old age away.” This is because of the long life spans–about 75 years–of elephants observed that ate Gotu Kola. Also, a Chinese herbalist, Li Ching Yun, supposedly lived to be 256 years old due to his regular consumption of Gotu Kola.
How it Works
The herb is a mild adaptogen, which means it is proposed to increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue. These kinds of herbs are believed to have a normalizing effect on the body and help the body to maintain optimal homeostasis. It is also mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, a cerebral tonic, blood purifier, adrenal strengthener, a circulatory stimulant and a diuretic. Juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. Gotu Kola has the ability to aid in wound healing, as it stimulates maturation of the scar. Isolated steroids from the herb have been used to treat leprosy; it has also been used to treat tuberculosis and arthritis. The herb is thought to increase attention span and concentration, and combat aging. Gotu Kola is known for its capability to enhance mental ability. It improves memory, comprehension, recollection, and coordination. In Thailand, Gotu Kola is used as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Another remarkable effect of Gotu Kola is its ability to aid in hair growth. This is based on the herb’s believed power to improve circulation, and aid in skin irritations. In a rat study, Gotu Kola was shown to thicken the epidermis and restore thick hair growth at a speed faster than the normal growth rate. In another rat study, Gotu Kola was shown to significantly increase the rate of wound healing by speeding up the rate of collagen synthesis. This leads some to believe that it is capable of healing the inflammation around the hair follicle, which is commonly seen in male pattern baldness. However, there is no evidence to support that Gotu Kola has this same effect among humans, and several large pharmaceutical companies are conducting investigations.
How to Use it
The recommended dosage varies based on which form of the herb is taken. Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding, young children, and people with high cholesterol or diabetes should not take this herb without first consulting their doctor.
If you are experiencing hair loss, I would recommend trying Gotu Kola to see if any positive results are observed. Unless you fall in any of the categories above, it seems as if most people find the herb beneficial.