Catchy title hey? But seriously… that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the (almost) unbelievable health benefits of Gotu Kola!
I first came across the incredible powers of this little herb whilst listening to a podcast with Charles Poliquin…
Charles Poliquin is one of the World’s best strength coaches & suffice to say… people have lost a lot of weight around their belly region whilst working with him… which can of course lead to stretch marks & saggy skin.
The herb Gotu Kola made it to the top of his list to improve & even remove stretch marks whilst also tightening up loose skin.
That’s when I started doing research of my own… & from then on Gotu Kola became a regular in the ol Healthy Patches!
Gotu Kola is a perennial herb (meaning it has a lifecycle of more than 2 years) native to Asia that has been an essential part of Ayurvedic & Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.
But just because it’s native to Asia, don’t think it isn’t super easy to grow (or to get your hands on!) down here in Australia – because it is!
It’s known by many as ‘The Elixir of Life’ & once you’ve seen what this awesome little herb can do, you’ll understand why!
Alright, so here goes….
I’ll start with my favourite….
1. It helps with cellulite & stretch marks.
Cellulite is caused by a build up of fat cells in an area of the body that have actually pushed through the collagen fibres & out towards the surface of the skin. Stretch marks occur when the skin is – yep – stretched, most commonly as a result of pregnancy but it’s also caused by significant weight gain or weight loss as well as puberty.
In a study where 20 people were given 60mg of dried Gotu Kola extract once a day for 90 days – they experienced a decrease in the size of their fat cells (meaning their cellulite!) – especially around their gluteofemoral area – that’s your bum & thighs!
Another study involving 100 pregnant women for 30 months from the 3rd month of pregnancy – showed that Gotu Kola was able to significantly reduce the occurrence & severity of stretch marks as well as provide protection to the women involved in the study who had already experienced stretch marks during puberty.
Gotu Kola also contains powerful compounds called triterpenes that influence the production of lysine & proline – two amino acids that our body needs to make collagen, a crucial part of healthy skin, muscle & connective tissue that can help with both cellulite & stretch marks.
2. It’ll sharpen your noodle!
Gotu Kola has been shown to improve memory, attention span as well as overall brain & nervous system function. It may even be a candidate as a treatment to Alzheimer’s Disease.
3. It can increase longevity & fight ageing
Professor Li Chung Yun, a Chinese herbalist who – according to official Chinese records – lived to the ripe old age of 256!
Among other things, he attributed his longevity to taking a cocktail of herbs that included Gotu Kola everyday!
Gotu Kola also has some incredible antioxidant properties & a more recent study actually showed it was able to improve the strength & vigour of the elderly people who took part in the study. And who doesn’t want to be strong & full of vigour after they hit 65?
4. Wound healing & protection from inflammation
The increase in antioxidants caused by Gotu Kola has also been shown to greatly reduce recovery time from wounds as well as being able to fight inflammation & provide protection from oxidative stress.
5. It relieves arthritic pain
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by chronic inflammation in the joints – as Gotu Kola has some pretty powerful anti inflammatory properties, it’s able to provide relief from this crippling disease.
6. It helps with depression, reduces anxiety & improves your mood
Multiple studies have shown that Gotu Kola can be effectively used against mood disorders. One study showed it was able to reduce anxiety – another showed it significantly reduced depression & this same study also observed an improvement in insomnia, nerve inflammation & even loss of appetite!
7. It strengthens your gut
Gotu Kola has been shown to keep the gastric mucosal barrier strong (the section of your stomach that houses gastric acid – which you need for digestion & to absorb the nutrients from your food!)
It’s also been shown to stop the growth of stomach ulcers – which are seriously painful sores that can develop on the lining of your gut.
How to grow your own?
Gotu Kola is a member of the Apiaceae family & is actually related to celery & parsley!
As I mentioned before – It’s a perennial herb & it’s suuuuuper easy to grow your own.
Grow it in full sun or with a bit of shade but keep it away from any frost as it will likely die back. (Remember – it’s native to Asia!)
Keep it well watered, especially during those really hot days.
After 8 weeks (from seedling size) you can start harvesting & remember, the more you harvest the more growth you’ll get!
How to use Gotu Kola
You can use Gotu Kola as you would most other herbs.
We juice it with a bunch of other greens, add it to salads, add it to smoothies or if it’s a cold rainy day – add it to our teas.
I’ve also been known to eat it raw straight out of the garden 😉
So what are you waiting for!!! Get out there & plant some Gotu Kola already – I promise you WON’T regret it!
Happy herbing & speak soon!