Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), also called Pennywort, is a tender green herb commonly eaten in its native lands of Southern India and Southeast Asia; the fresh juice of this succulent leaf is also frequently consumed. This plant has a long history of use within many healing cultures including Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and more recently, the West where it has been introduced into the wetlands of Florida and Oregon. This herb is often utilized as an alcoholic plant extract, but a tea can be made from the dried leaves.
Much of gotu kola’s clinical research focuses on wounds and its effect on the healing process, with antioxidant triterpene saponins (Asiaticosides) and their sapogenins believed to be the most active constituents. Gotu kola is also used as a supportive herb for venous insufficiency. These saponin compounds support healthy collagen and strengthen vein walls. These same constituents are also what makes gotu kola a premier plant in cosmetic care and anti-aging formulations.
Its reputation as supporting a healthy inflammation response contributes to its use in the treatment of various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and even leprosy. It nurtures healthy connective tissue growth and hyaluronidase and chondroitin sulfate formation, thus applying a balancing effect where needed.
Gotu kola is also utilized to support a healthy fever response and digestive and urinary tract function. It encourages optimum brain health, supporting healthy levels of GABA in the brain. This has also been found to promote emotional wellbeing. In India, it is used as a nourishing and restorative tonic for the nervous system.
Whether used topically or orally as a tea or tincture, gotu kola has long been revered as an important herb for supporting good health. This versatile and efficacious plant may have further therapeutic potential as ongoing clinical studies continue.
Writer Mindy Green is a founding and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild and an advisory board member to the American Botanical Council, publisher of Herbal Gram Magazine. Ms. Green served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies (1995-2003). The California School of Herbal Studies is among Mindy’s business ventures as co-owner and a faculty member (1985-1995). She is a nationally certified Registered Aromatherapist and has served on the education committees of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Aromatherapy Registration Council. She now runs her own consulting company, Green Scentsations, LLC.
A prolific writer and lecturer, Ms. Green has authored over 60 published articles on herbs, aromatherapy, skin care, holistic health and integrative care. She is co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art; author of Calendula and Natural Perfumes, and has contributed to numerous books on herbs and healing. As a botanical-therapies expert, she has been interviewed more than 400 times by leading magazines and newspapers.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.