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Gotu Kola

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Also: Hydrocotyle asiatica
Family: Umbelliferae (Apiaceae).

COMMON NAME(S): Gotu kola, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort, talepetrako

Gotu kola is a slender, creeping plant that grows commonly in swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa and the tropics. Its fan shaped leaves are about the size of an old British penny - hence its common names Indian pennywort, marsh penny and water pennywort.

History

Gotu kola has been widely used to treat a variety of illnesses, particularly in traditional Eastern medicine. Sri Lankans noticed that elephants, renowned for their longevity, munched on the leaves of the plant. Thus the leaves became known as a promoter of long life, with a suggested "dosage" of a few leaves each day. Among the ailments purported to be cured or controlled by gotu kola are mental problems, high blood pressure, abscesses, rheumatism, fever, ulcers, leprosy, skin eruptions, nervous disorders, and jaundice. Gotu kola has been touted as an aphrodisiac. Gotu kola should not be confused with the dried seed of Cola nitida (Vent.), the plant used in cola beverages. Cola nitida contains caffeine and is a stimulant, while gotu kola has no caffeine and has sedative properties

Botany :- Centella asiatica is a slender, creeping plant that grows in swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa, and the tropics.

Uses of Gotu Kola

Traditionally used as treatment for a variety of ills and as an aphrodisiac, gotu kola has demonstrated some efficacy in treating wounds and varicose veins. Evidence suggests it has antifertility, hypotensive, and sedative effects. Gotu kola has been used to promote calmness, clarity and to aid in resolving depression. It is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, antispasmodic, peripheral vasodilator, nervine and relaxant.

Side Effects of Gotu Kola

Gotu kola causes contact dermatitis in some individuals. In large amounts or with long-term use, gotu kola can cause headaches, vertigo and photosensitivity. Topical application may cause rash or photosensitization. Do not use if you are pregnant, nursing, using tranquilizers or sedatives, it may have a narcotic effect.

Dosage

A typical dosage of commercially prepared gotu kola for varicose veins is 60 milligrams daily, and for poor circulation in the legs, approximately 30 to 60 milligrams 3 times daily. However, potency may vary, so we highly recommend following the manufacturer's recommendations.

Toxicology
Preparations of gotu kola have a reputation for having a relative lack of toxicity. However, contact dermatitis has been reported in some patients using preparations of fresh or dried parts of the plant.This is not surprising in light of the topical irritant qualities of certain components of the plant. In the cited study of bilharzial patients, some who received subcutaneous injections rather than intramuscular injections experienced pain at the injection site with blackish discoloration of the subcutaneous tissues. These side effects may have been diminished with intramuscular injections.

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