Why we grow and love the herb Gotu Kola at Pippettes Farm:
Gotu Kola, (Centella asiatica CA) is a small, perennial creeper. A delicate plant with bright green rounded/kidney shaped leaves and tendrils.
It grows in a similar way to a strawberry plant. It throws a small white (pinkish) flower, followed by a small oval fruit, from its node during the summer (if conditions are ideal).
Native to the wetlands of Asia, it’s one of the few non-native herbs we grow at Pippettes Farm.
We struggle to get the growing environment right; it needs a rich soil, warmth, not too much sun, no draughts and lot of water. We grow it in various locations all over the farm offering different conditions – trying not to miss a trick.
It’s definitely worth all the trouble as I use this wonderful herb plentifully, both internally and topically, for patients and shop customers. Recognised as a slow, gentle adaptogen, with an excellent safety record, it helps the body to shift effortlessly into a healthier functional space. It’s a true “ all rounder” herb.
Our Gotu Kola oil, is grown organically and biodynamically (Demeter), harvested, stressed (to increase secondary beneficial metabolites) dried and then infused in organic sunflower or coconut oil over 2 moon cycles. It is then filtered or dried and prepared as an alcoholic extract, that is added to our balms and prescribed internally.
The oil has a deep green hue and can be fragranced with essential oils of Frankincense and Lavender to assist skin healing and reduce inflammation (especially Lavender in the first stage and Frankincense there-after) and with Holy Basil to assist memory and reduce anxiety
Character: Bitter-sweet, astringent, drying.
The main active constituent are saponins ( also called triterpenoids) and sapinogens and these are believed to be the primary chemicals to work on strengthening, modifying and regrowing collagen to assist skin and tissue repair, wound and ulcer healing and offering anxiolytic (anti anxiety) benefits.
The main four saponins that have been studied for their skincare repair benefits are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside.
In addition, the total extract contains plant sterols, flavonoids, abundant tannins (20-25%), phytosterols (campesterol, sitosterol, stigmasterol), mucilages, resins, free aminoacids (alanine, serine, aminobutyrate, aspartate, glutamate, lysine and treonine), flavonoids (derivates of chercetin and kempferol), an alkaloid (hydrochotine), a bitter component (vallerine), fatty acids (linoleic acids, linolnelic, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids). It’d this incredible varierty of potencies that makes it such an all round healing herb.
Potential uses and benefits of Gotu Kola:
- Skin and Connective tissue:
We use Gotu Kola as our first choice in healing and reducing scars, stretch marks, acne, excema , psoriasis, small ulcerations and strengthening and toning aged skin. Why? because not only do we see the results but there’s current research available to testify for its efficacy as well as hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence.
- Joints and injuries:
Gotu Kola has been found to helping to gently reduce inflammation and joint pain in sports injuries, joint strains and arthritic conditions such as osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Circulation boosting, ulcer healing and anti inflammatory actions:
Internally it works on the connective tissues too, strengthening blood vessels, toning and reducing insufficiency in varicosed or compromised veins and strengthening connective tissue. In Ayurvedic medicine CA is a known herb for reducing ankle swelling and mild varicose veins.
- Memory ands cognitive function:
Recent trials (2015, Farhana et al) have shown it to improve cognitive function in post stroke patients with subsequent cognitive impairment. Improvement in memory is noted more in the elderly. CA is found to to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration levels and helping to combat brain aging.
- Stress adaptation:
It can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Brahmoside and brahminoside (triterpene saponin) constituents are believed to play a potential role in the modulation of anxiety, nociception, memory and hunger in both animals and humans, turning off the ‘emotional eating’ switch.
We recommend you consult your health practitioner on dosage if taking internally and check for interractions if you are on other drugs.
Always patch test the oil. Oils that are this effective can cause irritations to some skin. Personally, I have not seen any topical reactions to the herb but advise everyone to patch test and seek professional advice before taking any herb as they can have side effects and interact.
This infornation is educational and is not intended to diagnose or recommend treatment. Always consult a health practitioner before taking any herbal remedy or medicine.
Gohill et al., (2010). Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian journal of pharmacology. Sep-Oct; 72(5): 546–556. Doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.78519
Plengmuanhke W.et al,(2015). Low temperature and water dehydration increase the levels of asiaticoside and madecassoside in Centella asiatica (L.) SAJB,97 196-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2015.01.013
Somboonwong et al., (2012) Healing activities of different extracts of Centella asiaticain incision and burn wound models: an experimental animal study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12 (2012), p. 103
Wue F. et al., (2012).Identification of major active ingredients responsible for burn wound healing of Centella asiatica herbs. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012 (2012), p. 848093