What are the health benefits of gotu kola?

Gotu Cola is a perennial Asian-born plant. People have spent several years using gotu kola in traditional medicine, due to its potential health properties.

Some people think that gettingu kola can help heal wounds, boost memory, and reduce blood pressure.

Despite the long history of use of the herb, very few clinical studies have found that there are health benefits to having kola supplements. Individuals that take such supplements probably rely on anecdotal evidence.

In this article, we discuss whether the benefits of gotu kola, supported by research, as well as possible adverse effects do exist.

What is it?

Gotu kola
Gotu kola may help treat varicose veins.

Scientific name for Gotu kola is Centella asiatica. The plant is native to parts of tropical and subtropical Asia.

The gotu kola contains compounds such as triterpenoid saponins, according to an older study of studies. Researchers believe these could be largely responsible for the supposed health benefits of the plant.

Some conventional go getu kola uses include:

  • healing wounds
  • relieving diarrhea
  • boosting energy levels
  • reducing anxiety
  • enhancing sexual potency
  • treating venereal diseases
  • treating skin diseases
  • treating menstrual disorders
  • slowing leprosy progression
  • prolonging life

However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support many of those applications.

In fact, the authors of a 2018 study review suggested that more research is needed before a widespread use of gotu kola can be accepted by the medical Community. Their guidelines covered:

  • fully understanding the active ingredients
  • fully understanding how gotu kola may affect medications
  • determining how to best extract and stabilize the active compounds
  • determining how likely the compounds are to reach the right areas of the body

Researchers have investigated the following uses of gotu kola:

Treating varicose veins

Several studies suggest that gettingu kola will help treat varicose veins and venous insufficiency, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.

Many of these studies, however, date back to the early 2000s or earlier— further updated work is needed.

For example, an older study, from 2001, found that participants receiving 60 milligrams of triterpenic fraction of gotu kola twice daily for 8 weeks observed improvements in their vein health.

The participants all had issues with large vein involvement, including severe venous hypertension and swelling of the ankles.

Similar results were given by another study from the same year, and by some same researchers.

The second study found that extracts from gotu kola helped with diabetic microangiopathy by enhancing vein function. This health problem affects people with diabetes and involves having unusually small blood vessels in various areas of the body.

Wound and burn healing

Some research supports the use of gotu kola to help wounds and burns heal according to a 2010 study analysis.

The authors stated that many studies have found that gettingu kola has improved wound healing.

Most of those studies, however, involved animals or artificial wounds produced in laboratories. That means the herb may not have the same effects in people.

The authors also noted that a lack of medical supervision and information about how gotu kola could respond with medicines has made the herb potentially dangerous to use.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center also highlight the lack of trials in humans and call for further testing before the effectiveness of gotu kola as a wound treatment can be confirmed.

Improving cognitive function

According to one research analysis, gotu kola could help support brain and nervous system functioning, enhance memory and protect against aging.

Nevertheless, some of those arguments are not backed by more recent studies. A study carried out in 2017 found that gotu kola may improve alertness and decrease anger but did not substantiate the other findings.

Additionally, researchers have looked at people who had showed cognitive impairment after a stroke in a 2016 study.

They found that the use of gotu kola was associated with few, if any, shifts, compared to folic acid. However, the authors noticed that after taking the herbal extract, some of the participants experienced some improvement in long-term memory.

Relieving anxiety

A very limited amount of scientific evidence suggests that having kola will help reduce anxiety.

An older study of 40 participants found that gettingu kola helped improve the startle response, according to Winchester Hospital. This is true because, as explained by the hospital, anxiety is correlated with an simple startling.

Confirming whether the herb can relieve anxiety would require larger, better design studies.

Side effects

Some reported side effects of gotu kola include:

  • drowsiness
  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • skin problems
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headaches

Although the relevant data are small, it is possible that gotu kola will interfere with prescription or over- the-counter medicines.

Consulting a doctor is necessary before using gotu kola. Make sure the doctor knows all of the medications and treatments that are going on.

Summary

Gotu kola can provide some health benefits, and can promote vein working in particular.

Behind most arguments that manufacturers make about gotu kola, there is very little scientific evidence however.

Always be careful when starting a new drug, and consult a doctor about possible interactions with the drugs.

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