Gotu kola is used to improve cognition, reduce fatigue, improve concentration, decrease anxiety and treat varicose veins, explains WebMD. It might prevent scarring; help with wound healing and psoriasis; and reduce stretch marks during pregnancy. Gotu kola is a possible treatment for liver disease, bladder disease and hardening of the arteries, but more research is needed.
Gotu kola contains a chemical called triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica, explains Healthline. TTFCA stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, connective tissues needed to strengthen the internal lining and walls of veins. This results in fewer varicose veins. Gotu kola might also help with venous insufficiency by reducing swelling and improving blood flow. Taking gotu kola for four to eight weeks seems to improve swelling in the legs and feet, pain and itching from varicose veins, according to WebMD.
Gotu kola might lower the risk of blood clots after plane flights, notes WebMD. Studies have found it might improve strength, mood and cognitive function in the elderly. There are no sources of gotu kola other than the plant itself, and optimal doses have not been established. Oral gotu kola seems to have few side effects but allergies can occur. Some individuals develop nausea and headache. In high doses, gotu kola can cause sleepiness.
Gotu kola grows in South Africa, Indonesia and the South Pacific, among other places. It has long been a part of the traditional medicinal practices of both China and India.
Gotu kola is a semi-aquatic plant and is related to parsley, though it has neither taste nor smell. Its fan-shaped leaves resemble the leaves of the ginkgo tree. The leaves and stems of gotu kola are the parts that have medicinal properties. People can use the plant as a tea, in capsules and in tinctures. A tincture is an alcohol solution in which the leaves of stems of a plant have been steeped.