Gotu kola may not be all that well known to westerners, but it enjoys legendary status in Asia, where it’s sometimes referred to as the “fountain of life,” thanks to the story of an herbalist who was said to have extended his life by more than 200 years by taking it daily.
This plant contains a high concentration of unique triterpenoid compounds, also referred to as saponins, that are responsible for its many healing powers. The stems and leaves can be used on their own, or it can be taken as an extract. Gotu kola extract is an ingredient found in many different ointments, gels, creams and capsules to treat a variety of ailments.
While we’re not claiming that it will help you live hundreds of years, there is little doubt that it offers multiple health benefits, including these.
1. Speed Wound Healing
Gotu kola has long been used across Asia for treating wounds, thanks to its triterpenoids and other compounds. Scientific research has found that it’s these compounds that help to strengthen antioxidant levels in the body and improve blood circulation to affected areas for faster healing.
2. Eliminating Stretch Marks & Cellulite While Supporting Younger, Healthier Skin
As gotu kola also helps to strengthen skin, it’s been used for reducing stretch marks and the appearance of cellulite.
Studies have confirmed that creams that contain the plant, or an extract of the plant, may be able to lessen the appearance of stretch marks, which are typically caused by pregnancy or weight gain due to the stretching of the skin. Research has also shown that it may reduce cellulite, which occurs when fat cells push through collagen layers.
3. Reducing Stress & Anxiety
Gotu kola is classified as a rasayana, or rejuvenate, in Ayurvedic medicine because of its ability to restore balance and better functioning to many parts of the mind and body.
It’s ideal for strengthening the nervous system and has even been shown to help repair axons that are used to transmit nerve impulses throughout the body. This makes it excellent as a natural anti-stress and anti-anxiety cure.
4. Boosting Mental Functioning
Consuming gotu kola consumption to strengthening cognitive abilities.
Due to its positive effect on the circulatory system, combined with its antioxidant properties, as the plant helps to stimulate neural pathways by eliminating plaque and free radicals in the brain.
Studies have also discovered that gotu kola may have the potential to treat degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The experts believe that the plant contains certain acids that help protect against neural damage caused by free radicals, which could make it a potential Alzheimer’s treatment, though they say more research is needed to be certain.
It can help trigger the release of excess toxins from the body through urination. That helps lessen the burden on a number of organs, including the kidneys and the liver.
When the liver is forced to work harder than it should by becoming overly toxic, the entire mind and body suffer. It can result in weight gain, diminished sex drive, poor mood, fatigue, skin issues, brain fog, digestive problems and more.
By taking gotu kola, it helps to rid the body of toxins to support better overall body functioning, including greater energy, a positive mood, better mental clarity, increased libido and improved well-being.
6. Increased Longevity
As mentioned at the start, gotu kola has long been considered a longevity herb. Daoist master and herbalist Li Ching-Yuen, a famous proponent and user of the plant during his time was even reported in ancient Chinese medical texts to have passed away at the age of 256, and his longevity was largely attributed to his daily gotu kola habit.
Scientific research has shown that it contains potent therapeutic properties that include the ability to prolong life as it affects the mind, body and spirit. The health benefits of the plant are very wide ranging, from the brain and blood to digestion and everything in between.
7. Managing Diabetes Symptoms
One of the many complications of diabetes includes deterioration of the capillaries resulting in a slow down of the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, which can lead to serious problems like damage to the nerves, kidneys, and eyes, something commonly experienced by diabetes sufferers.
Volunteers who took gotu kola had reduced swelling in the ankles and much-improved blood flow, which led the experts to conclude the plant may help delay or even prevent these serious complications.
8. Relief From Joint Pain
As gotu kola is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can also help provide relief for those suffering from joint pain related to problems like arthritis. It’s believed to improve joint function and alleviate common arthritis symptoms, according to research published in the June 2009 issue of the journal Phytomedicine.
9. Supporting Heart Health
Gotu kola was shown to inhibit the oxidation of lipids, prevent depletion of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, and prevent early death of heart cells. The experts say the plant may even help prevent stroke by preventing blood clot formation as well. It’s also known to aid in improving and preventing varicose veins and associated foot and ankle swelling by inhibiting fluid leakage from veins.
Further supporting heart health, gotu kola has also been shown to significantly reduce levels of “bad,” LDL cholesterol, while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
10. Protecting The Veins & Vessels
Thanks to the plant’s asiaticoside and madecassoside content, it may help to prevent, delay or treat a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged and blood collects in the veins of the legs. That collection of blood can lead to varicose veins or spider veins, or even more serious conditions like blood clots.