Centella asiatica

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Commonly known as Indian pennywort, or gotu kola, Centella asiatica is an herb used in many traditional medicines. This small, leafy green plant grows in large quantities together as similar to common clovers. The part of the plant that grows above the ground can be harvested and used for its potential medicinal properties. Nicknamed the “herb of longevity,” gotu kola is believed to promote many aspects of health across the body, and ancient legends hold that the oldest man in the world lived as long as he did due, in part, to consuming gotu kola. More specifically, gotu kola is thought to achieve higher cognitive function, and could possibly be correlated with a reduction of symptoms in those who have Alzheimer’s disease. The impact that this herb has on brain function is also thought to have certain positive impacts on behavioral depression. While it is not a cure, gotu kola may possibly reduce anxiety and help alleviate stress, and therefore may act as an herbal remedy for depression. In addition, because of its suspected ability to reduce stress and anxiety, gotu kola might actually help improve the symptoms of those who have insomnia. Due to less stress on the body, users of gotu kola might show improved abilities to sleep. 

One common use of gotu kola is to promote circulation of fluids throughout the body and to reduce swelling in common areas such as the ankles. Do you ever get off a flight and feel like your shoes are fitting too tight or the ring on your finger is just a little too small? Well I absolutely do! During this time of crisis, my school asked all of its students, if possible, to pack up their dorms and move home within a span of just a few days. With all this extreme stress and anxiety that built up throughout the weekend, combined with the 7 hour flight I took home, I got off the plane feeling very under the weather. Not to get too personal, but my ankles felt incredibly swollen, and the boots I was wearing were squeezing just a little too tight – I am sure we have all been there! Some studies show that taking gotu kola pills two days before, the day of, and one day after a flight can significantly reduce swelling in the ankles and other parts of the body.

On a similar note, gotu kola is known in traditional medicinal practices to have an anti-inflammatory effect. For this reason, gotu kola might help relieve joint pain, and may improve symptoms in those who have arthritis. 

Another common use for gotu kola is using the herb in a topical cream to improve the look of skin blemishes. For example, applying a topical cream of gotu kola may help improve the appearance of stretch marks and also the appearance of scars when used consistently a couple times a day. 
There are many different ways to capture the medicinal properties of the herb Centella asiatica including in an herbal tea, a powder, a supplement pill, or in topical creams and beauty products. Depending on what you are looking to gain from using the gotu kola herb, each type of product may serve a specific purpose. 

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