In Malaysia, Gotu Kola or centella asiatica is eaten as a salad. For generations, mothers have been telling their daughters that drinking the pegaga juice will make them look youthful. Pegaga is the Malay name for this herb.
Centella asiatica extract contains active natural compounds that have many medicinal and healing effects. Some of them are asiaticoside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid. The herb has antioxidant effect.
This herb has been used as a traditional medicine by the Chinese and Indonesian and in ayurvedic medicine. It was used to treat leprosy. The asiaticoside is effective in killing the bacteria called mycobacterium leprae.
Gotu kola extract from the leaves and shoots were also used to treat wounds, ulcerations, burns and skin disorders. The herb is a remedy for conditions and diseases such as lupus, psoriasis and tuberculosis of the skin. It has shown to reduce infections, speed up healing process and reduce scar formation.
Centella asiatica extract was also the traditional medicine in the treatment of thick yellowish vaginal discharge and syphilis. Other uses of the herb was in treating asthma, cold, diarrhea, epilepsy, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, scleroderma and fever.
Gotu kola is also known as a brain tonic. Studies showed that the chemical compound in this herb help in ensuring smooth blood flow to the brain and help in improving brain and mental function. The tonic is a remedy to improve attention span and memory.
Another benefit of centella asiatica is it seems to help overcome anxiety and stress. It has the ability to relax the body and mind and balance the mood. Because of its sedative effect, it is also used as one of the remedies in overcoming insomnia.
The natural chemicals present in this herb also assist in the release of nitric oxide. One of the benefits of this chemical which is also known as nitrogen monoxide is to allow blood to flow smoothly throughout the body. It helps relax the aorta and veins.
Because of its positive effect on the veins, the extract is used in treating varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency which is a condition whereby the veins cannot pump sufficient oxygen to the heart. It is also beneficial to prevent hemorrhoid or piles which is caused by the inflammation of the veins.
Centella asiatica extract are sold as dried herbs tea, capsules, tinctures, powder and ointments. Gotu kola side effects are mild if taken in high dosage. Among the complaints reported are feeling dizzy, drowsy and nauseous and having stomach upset. People who are taking medications for lowering cholesterol and diabetes are advised not to include this supplement as it interacts with the medications.