Gotu Cola is native to the warmer regions of both
hemispheres. This slender, creeping herb is especially abundant in the swampy
areas of India and Sri Lanka, in South Africa, and in the tropical regions of
the new world.
Other common names:
Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Thickleaved
| Fatty Acids
|| Fixed Oils
|| Tannic Acid
|| Volatile Oils
* For definition of some of the above terms
see the dictionary section of this book.
|| Pangamic Acid
|| Vitamin B Complex
| Vitamin C
PROPERTIES AND USES
Diuretic - Diuretics form a class of drugs which
increase the volume of urine produced by the kidneys. It can be used
effectively to treat mild cases of edema when kidney function is good and when
the underlying abnormality of cardiac function, capillary pressure, or salt
retention is being corrected simultaneously. Diuretics are not an appropriate
treatment for edema caused by inflammation of the kidneys, and are useless in
cardiac edema associated with advanced kidney insufficiency.
Narcotic - an agent which depresses the function of
the central nervous system, inducing sleep and lessening pain. By definition,
narcotics can be toxic in excess.
Sedative - Sedatives are a class of drugs which
function to quite nervous excitement and reduce motor activity without inducing
sleep. They are used in the management of neuroses and in the treatment of
anxiety and apprehension accompanying various disease states such as
hypertension. Sedatives commonly function to induce reversible depression of
the central nervous system. Examples of this class are phenobarbital,
secobarbital sodium, and pentobarbital.
Tonic - an agent which strengthens or tones.
Gotu Cola is able to rebuild energy reserves. It increases
mental and physical power, combats stress and improves reflexes, has an
energizing effect on brain cells, and may help prevent nervous breakdown. For
this reason, it is called "food for the brain." It relieves high blood
pressure, mental fatigue, senility, and helps the body defend itself against
various toxins. It is very rich in the B Complex vitamins, lowers blood
pressure, and is an effective diuretic.
Gotu cola is often confused with foti-teng - which is
actually an Oriental blend of three different herbs. The Gotu Cola herb is a
single plant and has been used successfully to treat leprosy throughout
southeast Asia. It has been used in hospitals and clinics in Calcutta for the
treatment of syphilitic diseases, both internally and externally.
Gotu Cola contains an oily substance, a resin, an organic
acid, tannin, and traces of an alkaloid. Another analysis reveals a substance
called vallerine (0.8 - 1%), resin, fat (8.9%), tannin and carbohydrates
(24.5%), gum and salts (11.5%), albumoid matter (12.5%), and ash (2.4%).
Vallerine is a pale yellowish color with a bitter, pungent, persistent taste
and odor. It has been reported to be effective in treating eye lesions and
cataracts. Many people in India have ascribed mind and memory improving
qualities to this herb.
Gotu Cola has often been mistaken for another herb (Cola
Nitida or Cola Acuminata) which is erroneously called Gotu Cola by those who
have not done their home work. The second herb more properly should be called
Kola Nut. It has caffeine (up to 3.5%), whereas true Gotu Cola has none. Where
Gotu Cola is reported to have caused nervousness, insomnia, and minor
trembling, or to have psychoactive substances such as caffeine, theobromine, or
kolanin, these reports are actually referring to Kola Nut (Cola species) and
may be considered misinformation by poorly informed persons usually speaking
from prejudice and not scientific analysis.
Those with hypotension and low potassium levels may want
to restrict their use of Gotu Cola.
DRUG PRECAUTIONS AND
Adrenocortical responsiveness to Gotu Cola may be impaired
by the use of amphotericin.
The tannin in Gotu Cola may potentiate the antibiotic
activity of echinacea. The tannin in tea made from the herb may be inactivated
by the addition of milk or cream.
In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed
that observable interaction may occur between the many central nervous system
drugs and the psychoactive principles in Gotu Cola.
There is evidence which show that combining bactericidal
and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the bacteriostatic
agent. How this finding applies to herbal anti-infectives is still unknown.