An ancient Sinhalese proverb boasts, “Two leaves a day will keep old age away.” The natural healing effects of gotu kola has been revered by traditional Chinese, Indonesian and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Known as the herb of longevity, gotu kola is only now starting to slither into the Western vocabulary, long after centuries of dominance in Asian culture. With the power to calm nerves, sharpen focus, and heal the skin, gotu kola is the holy grail ingredient for holistic healing.
But those are only three of the many perks this fuzzy, bright green and brain-shaped plant offers. In fact, its benefits are both skin and soul-deep.
Gotu Kola, or the “Divine Plant”
Gotu kola, otherwise known as Centella asiatica, is part of the Apiaceae family, a cousin of parsley. It is a perennial plant indigenous to the tropical wetlands of South East Asia.
Gotu kola is a standout ingredient in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practices. In Sanskrit, it’s called “Brahmi”, which means “universal consciousness” or “godlike”. In Ayurveda, gotu kola is known as a rasayana herb known for its rejuvenating properties. It promotes mental health, longevity, and overall vitality to the body and mind.
As if those benefits weren’t impressive enough, the herb also heals skin issues, increases brain function, and supports longer living. A 2010 study on gotu kola branded it as a “potential herbal cure-all”, highlighting its wound healing benefits, and antidepressant, cognitive, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chinese herbalist and Daoist master Li Ching Yun supposedly lived 265 years (!) from drinking a daily herbal mixture infused with gotu kola. Plus, it’s alleged that the Sri Lankan population observed elephants eating the plant and linked it to the animals’ long lifespan.
What Makes Gotu Kola Such a Powerful Herb?
Gotu kola has long been used to treat mood disorders and enhance memory. Research has shown that gotu kola appears to reduce anxiety and plays a role in treating depression, insomnia and chronic fatigue.
The herb harmonizes the mind, body and spirit. This synergy is increasingly sought after for peace of mind and abundance of health. Gotu kola manages to tackle all of these areas, providing similar results pursued through mindfulness and meditation.
These are significant benefits on their own. But that’s not even half of what this health elixir promises.
Gotu Kola’s Benefits for the Skin
Asiaticoside, a triterpenoid compound found in gotu kola, is responsible for its powerful ability to promote wound healing and collagen production. Gotu kola is a true skin savior, thanks to the following reasons:
It Boasts Skin Firming Properties
Collagen is crucial to promoting skin structure and strength. Regular consumption of gotu kola has been found to result in sag-resistance, hydration and skin elasticity. Slow aging and less wrinkles? You’ve got it.
It Reduces the Appearance of Stretch Marks
Triterpenoids to the rescue once again. Increased collagen production helps prevent new stretch marks from forming and improves the appearance of existing ones.
It Prevents Keloids and Hypertrophic Scar Formation
In a 1979 study, 227 hypertrophic scar patients were divided in two groups, both of which received scar treatment with gotu kola. The first group was given gotu kola alone, while the second group received additional surgical revision. After 18 months, researchers found that the first group saw an 82% improvement in their scars, with a significant relief in symptoms and full disappearance in inflammation.
It Restores Skin Youthfulness
Gotu kola has the power to rejuvenate skin cells, thanks to a boost in blood circulation that powers oxygen and nutrient flow. It cleans the skin from the inside, flushing away toxins and free radicals.
Benefits of Gotu Kola for the Mind
You’ll notice that the gotu kola leaf is reminiscent of the shape of the human brain when looked at from the side. That’s more than convenient, as its advantages for the brain and nervous system are science-based.
The plant is considered a nervine, meaning it’s used for calming the nerves. But simultaneously...
It Boosts Brain Circulation and Cognitive Function
Gotu kola has been known to enhance memory, focus and the retention of learned behavior.
Contrary to well-known stimulants such as caffeine, consuming the plant won’t give you the jitters. It’s perfect for those looking for enhanced focus without the negative, anxiety-inducing side effects of certain drugs.
It Relaxes the Mind
A 2013 review of plant-based medicines highlighted gotu kola as a powerful herb with strong anti-anxiety properties.
“But if it helps us focus, how can it make us calmer at the same time?”
The answer is simple: gotu kola is an adaptogenic that has an effect on both the nervous system and the brain, providing this dual action that’s hard to find in traditional stimulants.
Gotu Kola Balances the Crown Chakra
Known as “Sahasrara” in Sanskrit, the crown chakra is responsible for a strong human connection with the divine. An open crown chakra allows physical and spiritual healing due to an unhindered energy flow.
The most common ways to open the Sahasrara include yoga, meditation, affirmations and plant-based eating. Since gotu kola aids in synchronizing a person’s mind, body and soul, it’s a powerful addition to meditation and yoga routines.
Ways to Consume and Apply Gotu Kola
Topically, the plant may be used as an ointment or mixed with creams and lotions. Orally, it can be eaten in salads or infused into teas and juices. The leaves are mainly used for these purposes, but its roots are also effective and just as medicinal.
At Munday, we love ingredients that bring holistic benefits to our skin care routine. Gotu kola encompasses so much of what our brand is about, including incorporating ingredients from self-care traditions and utilizing the powerful benefits of natural ingredients.
Learn more about the unique ingredients we use in our sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free products.
Gotu kola is the perfect ally for all your daily requirements. Start the day with sharp focus and feel rejuvenated in a relaxing at-home spa. Finally, a superstar herb that can do both.