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Gotu Kola - The Fountain Off Life Herb

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Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has been used to treat a number of conditions for thousands of years in India, China, and Indonesia. It was used to heal wounds, improve mental clarity, and treat skin conditions such as leprosy and psoriasis. Some people use it to treat respiratory infections such as colds, and it was used for that too in the past in China. It has been called "the fountain of life" because it is credited as a major part of Chinese herbologist Li Chung Yun's diet, which helped him live for more than 200 years.

Historically, gotu kola has also been used to treat syphilis, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, mental fatigue, epilepsy, diarrhea, fever, and asthma. Today, in the U.S. and Europe gotu kola is most often used to treat varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where blood pools in the legs. It's used in ointments to treat psoriasis and help heal minor wounds.

Gotu kola is not the same as kola nut (Cola nitida). Unlike kola nut, gotu kola has no caffeine, and is not a stimulant.

When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out of the blood vessels. That causes the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). Several small studies suggest gotu kola may help reduce swelling and improve circulation. In a study of 94 people with venous insufficiency, those who took gotu kola saw their symptoms improve compared to those who took placebo. In another study of people with varicose veins, ultrasound tests showed improvements in the vascular tone -- meaning there was less leakage -- of those who took gotu kola.

It contains phytonutrients known as triterpenoids. Triterpenoids promote collagen formation and have been shown to concentrate antioxidants into damaged tissue and increase the blood supply as well. In animal and lab studies, these compounds appear to help heal wounds. For example, some studies suggest that triterpenoids strengthen the skin, boost antioxidants in wounds, and increase blood supply to the area. Based on these findings, gotu kola has been applied to the skin, or topically, for minor burns, psoriasis, preventing scars after surgery, and preventing or reducing stretch marks.

You can find gotu kola in many topical preparations for wound healing or as a daily supplement. Side effects are rare and only occur with heavy use. (ref.)

Because of gotu kola's sedative effects, it might increase the effect of other medications taken to relieve anxiety or insomnia. It might also increase the effects of herbs taken for anxiety or insomnia, such as valerian.

The plant also contains calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, chromium, zinc, selenium, iodine, silicon, germanium and cobalt.

Germanium is essential for the regeneration of DNA and for maximising nutritional wellbeing in the body. It also activates oxygen within the body enabling more to be available to the tissues and helps to restore T-cell balance thus heightening immune system function.

Cobalt is the key mineral holding vitamin B12 together and you also get vitamin B12 in Gotu Kola.

The Chinese herbologist Professor Li Chung Yun outlived 23 wives and claimed one of his major nutritional staples was Gotu Kola. He was born in 1677 and died in 1933. He lived an amazing 256 years and it is well documented by the Chinese government who celebrated his 150th and 200th birthday with him.

He continued to give 3 hours lectures on longevity at the age of 200 for 28 weeks at a time. He was a strict vegetarian who ate herbs that grew above the ground only and fruit of high alkaline mineral content. The soils in which he cultivated his foods were rich in humus, minerals and microbial life.

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