Gotu Kola: This Ancient Healer Can Help Turn Your Skin Around
Call it gotu kola, centella asiatica, Indian pennywort, brahmi, or spade leaf. It is an ancient healing plant, and it’s making a comeback in the modern science of preventing skin aging.
Gotu Kola aka Centella asiatica (often just called centella) is rich in amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids, and numerous potent phytochemicals. Extracts have been found to calm inflammation, speed wound healing, stimulate new cell growth, build collagen, and improve circulation.
Lately, thanks to a new round of research into gotu kola's wound-healing and skin rejuvenation properties, this herb has been turning up in a skin treatments (like our toner and setting spray).
Here's what history and science tells us about why you might want to read ingredient lists to find anti-aging skin serums and creams containing gotu kola. (And here are 3 more anti-aging skin treatments to try.)
A Long History of Skin Healing
A member of the Parsley family, Gotu Kola is used in cooking and as a medicine in India and China. In South India, the elephant’s long memory is attributed to Gotu Kola, a favorite pachyderm food. One of the first mentions of Gotu Kola can be found in the Chinese “Shennong Herbal ” dating to 200 to 100 BC. There it is noted as the “Fountain of Life.”
In Ayurveda, Gotu Kola is referred to as “a pharmacy in one herb,” and is cherished for brain, nervous system, and memory support.
Few medicinal plants have as long a history as centella asiatica; there's evidence it was used even by prehistoric man. Known in Chinese medicine as gotu kola, it's listed among the "miracle elixirs of life" and mentioned in legends as the herb that helped a famous sage live past 200.
In India, centella has a host of names including mandukparni, jalbrahmi, and just plain brahmi (not to be confused with bacopa monnieri, another ayurvedic plant also called brahmi). A centerpiece of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, it's used to treat infected wounds, syphilis, eczema, psoriasis, lupus, and female disorders.
In England, where it's known by the lowly name pennywort for it's coin-shaped leaves, it was one of the earliest treatments for leprosy. In France, centella was first identified and accepted as a pharmaceutical agent in the 1800s for its use treating diarrhea, dysintery, and female issues including infertility.
Taken internally, usually as a tea or other beverage, it's considered an effective treatment for fever, dysentery, hepatitis, and recent research shows it boosts memory and relieves depression and anxiety. In Thailand, centella is drunk as a cold beverage and considered a turn-back-the-clock health tonic.
What the Science Shows
An overview in the Indian Journal of Medicine calls gotu kola a "potential herbal cure-all" while a research summary published in Phytomedicine, says: "Centella asiatica has been subjected to quite extensive experimental and clinical investigations."
Recently, researchers delving into how gotu kola heals wounds have identified specific plant chemicals called triterpenoid saponins (more specifically asiaticoside, brahmoside, brahminoside, madecassoside and madecassic or madasiatic acid) that have been shown to help heal wounds by boosting antioxidants, increasing the blood supply to the area and strengthening the skin.
There's also good evidence that gotu kola helps repair veins. Recent research shows that centella, unlike some herbal extracts, is able to penetrate the skin well enough to be utilized effectively.
Scientists are experimenting with applying gotu kola to treat burns, prevent scars, treat psoriasis, and decrease stretch marks.
In fact, centella's circulation-boosting abilities are so powerful that it's been used as an effective treatment for varicose veins and broken capillaries and to break down cellulite by shrinking the connective tissues that bind fat cells under the skin.
9 Benefits of Gotu Kola for Skin
Wound Healing. For centuries, Gotu Kola has been used to heal wounds and keep them clean. This is especially handy for those who like to periodically use a chemical peel or microneedle treatment. A recent study has shown that just 1% of gotu kola in a product can decrease the severity of a topical infection considerably.
Eczema & Psoriasis Healing. Gotu kola’s calming effects combined with it’s anti inflammatory benefits, makes it a superb fit for treating eczema or psoriasis flare ups.
Scar Reduction. Gotu kola’s multitude of benefits can help reduce the appearance of scarring and acne scars. With the regular use of a product that contains gotu kola, collagen production is increase, discoloration is reduced, and irritation is mitigated.
Collagen Production. Stimulating collagen synthesis is important for anti aging. A recent study describes that use of gotu kola consistently helped the stimulation of collagen synthesis for tissue regeneration and additional antioxidant benefits.
Firming and Toning. Because gotu kola helps promote fibroblast proliferation and increases the synthesis of collagen, it then can help improve the tensile strength of newly formed skin. This all results in renewed, firmer more toned skin.
Elasticity Improvement. Gotu kola is very rich in chlorophyll, with additional nutrients like zinc, selenium, copper, amino acids, and beta-carotene. It provides a soothing effect to the skin and can also help promote skin cell growth, making your skin look strong and more fit.
Acne & Sebum Reduction. Since gotu kola has the unique ability to calm and repair skin, one of the benefits of this process is less acne and a more balanced sebum production. This can help put an end to the volatile acne you might be experiencing or excessively oily skin that can be associated with hormones or seasonal changes.
UVB Protection. A 2012 Korean study showed that gotu kola helped protect the skin from the damaging effects of too much UVB exposure. Gotu kola has a unique way of strengthening the skin and then therefore protecting the skin, like an invisible barrier.
Antioxidant Protection. Gotu kola is such a strong antioxidant, it’s been known to prevent E.coli in medical studies. It is considered just about equally effective as vitamin c or grape seed extract when it comes to antioxidant properties.
Reduced Inflammation. Gotu kola is such a strong ingredient for reducing inflammation, it has been used for centuries by scientists to treat ulcers, eczema, skin tuberculosis, wounds, stomach aches, arthritis, varicose veins and high blood pressure. You can be sure that including it in your topical products will help calm a long list of skin ailments and help heal skin faster after evasive treatments.
Our organic firming and hydrating toner contains gotu kola and it's just the thing for setting cosmetics or a quick pick me up during the day.
Including the ingredients gotu kola in your skin care products is an excellent way to keep your skin healthy, younger looking, and calmer.
Questions? Please contact me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanette | Formulator & Herbalist at Claribelskincare.com