Gotu kola is from the perennial creeping plant, Centella asiatica (formerly known as Hydrocotyle asiatica), which is a member of the parsley family. It is native to India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Africa, Australia, China, and Indonesia.
Gotu kola has a long history of use, dating back to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Gotu kola is mentioned in the Shennong Herbal, compiled in China roughly 2,000 years ago, and has been widely used medicinally since 1700 AD. It has been used to treat leprosy in Mauritius since 1852; to treat wounds and gonorrhea in the Philippines; and to treat fever and respiratory infections in China.
The most popular use of gotu kola in the United States is the treatment for varicose veins or cellulitis. Preliminary evidence suggests short-term efficacy (6-12 months) of the total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica (TTFCA) in the treatment of "chronic venous insufficiency" (a syndrome characterized by lower extremity swelling, varicosities, pain, itching, atrophic skin changes, and ulcerations, possibly due to venous valvular incompetence or a post-thrombotic syndrome).
While quality human evidence on the efficacy of gotu kola is still lacking, gotu kola can now be found worldwide as a component of skin creams, lotions, hair conditioners, shampoos, tablets, drops, ointments, powders, and injections. Gotu kola is not related to the kola nut (Cola nitida, Cola acuminata). Gotu kola is not a stimulant and does not contain caffeine.
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