“Centella: Ancient Remedy for the Modern World” Cheryll Williams
In this follow up blog to ‘Three ancient herbs about to revolutionise nootropics in Australia’ , we discuss in more detail the potential for Gotu Kola to help improve cognitive ability and stem the effects of ageing. Gotu Kola has been used in traditional medicine for at least 2000 years. The long lives and memory of elephants are attributed to their diet of Gotu Kola.
Native to Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Africa and the Southern Pacific Islands, Gotu Kola is a small creeping plant that prefers damp swamp sites.
Gotu Kola is little known in Australia and is more often identified as a weed. Although considered a tropical plant, Gotu Kola is found in South Australia and up through the Eastern seaboard to north Queensland.
I very successfully grow Gotu Kola in Sydney and find it an incredibly easy plant to maintain. I grow Gotu Kola in a pond, and simply top up the water when it’s low and pick the leaves to add to salads or simply eat from the stem.
Gotu Kola as a neuroprotective agent:
Gotu Kola may provide an extensive range of health benefits, from wound healing to anti-inflammatory properties.
Excitingly, Gotu Kola shows enormous potential in cognitive enhancement (nootropics) and healthy ageing, e.g. as a neuroprotective agent.
Increasing numbers of Australians are experiencing deterioration of brain function. This may manifest in loss of memory, poor sleep quality, increased confusion and difficulty learning new tasks.
The effects are insidious.
Growing old, or aging “is a major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative diseases, including mild cognitive impairment, dementias including Alzheimer's disease, cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.”
As we age, our general knowledge remains stable, however our ability to think quickly and solve new problems - deteriorates.
Recent studies suggest that Gotu Kola may be a neuroprotective agent. A neuroprotective agent is a “means of improving brain function following an injury, but they may also be utilized to delay onset of a neurodegenerative disorder.”
A neurodegenerative disorder may stem from aged related diseases such as schizophrenia, and dementia as well as strokes, Parkinsons disease, brain injury from trauma or drug abuse.
In response, neuroprotective agents may offer a treatment or potential to stop or reduce neurodegeneration and preserve long-term mental health.
Neuro-protective agent benefits include:
- Improvement to injured areas of the brain
- Improve cognition and mental performance in preexisting cases of neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. memory loss corrections
- Improve mitochondrial function. Mitochondria help improve signaling between neurons and may help prevent neurodegeneration.
- Improve efficiency and functioning of brain neurotransmitters. Healthy
- Neurotoxicity reducer. Reducing neurotoxins limits neurodegeneration.
In addition, Gotu Kola may act to reduce anxiety. With almost epidemic levels of stress being felt by Australians, Gotu Kola may provide welcome relief to this insidious plague.
Part of Gotu Kola’s healing potential may be attributed to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight chemicals known as free radicals. Free radicals are attributed to damaging cells.
Gotu Kola may neutralise free radicals, thereby reducing cell damage.
Gotu Kola in summary
Whilst virtually unknown In Australia, despite it being a native plant to much of the Eastern seaboard, Gotu Kola has a long history of use in traditional medicine from Africa to India, including China.
The potential of Gotu Kola to offer brain health and protection from degenerative diseases has attracted the interest of the science community around the world.
Conventional medicine offers little solution to cognitive decline. Suggestions offered to limit cognitive decline are usually limited to lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet and mental engagement.
Fortunately, Gotu Kola may provide insurance to delay or mitigate the effects of neurodegenerative decline. Combined with its potential to support cognitive enhancement, Gotu Kola may become a house-hold name in Australia.