In recent animal studies, oral gotu kola has been shown to have anticonvulsant, pain-relieving, and sedative effects. All of these central nervous system effects are thought to be related to increased levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) that are associated with taking gotu kola. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that carries messages from nerve cells to other cells) that helps to regulate the speed of nerve cell firing. GABA is also known to help prevent seizures and promote relaxation. Very early results from an animal study show that gotu kola may also help prevent brain cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease. The exact ways that gotu kola may affect the central nervous system are not completely known and more research is needed to confirm or disprove these effects.
Due mostly to the actions of chemicals known as asiaticoside and madecassoside that it contains, gotu kola may prevent, delay, and treat a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged and blood collects in the veins of the legs. This collection of blood can lead to varicose veins, spider veins, or sores on the legs. More serious results can include blood clots in the legs. Asiaticoside and madecassoside may help keep veins and other blood vessels from leaking. Because it strengthens the walls of blood vessels, gotu kola may also be effective for slowing retinopathy, the gradual break down of the retina in the eyes. It may also help to relieve hemorrhoids. These same effects are thought to strengthen
When they are used topically, asiaticoside, madecassoside, and other chemicals in gotu kola have been proved to promote the healing of skin injuries and conditions such as psoriasis. These chemicals appear to increase collagen formation and also to have anti-inflammatory effects. Collagen is the fibrous protein that is mainly responsible for the strength and flexibility of the skin. When gotu kola is applied, it is absorbed into both skin and muscle tissue and it may pass into the blood.
Gotu kola has long been used in topical, oral, and injected forms to treat leprosy. In addition to its ability to heal the sores associated with leprosy, gotu kola may also have anti-bacterial properties. Evidence from studies shows that asiaticoside may damage the cell walls of the bacteria that cause leprosy. The weakened bacteria are easier for the body's immune system to eliminate.
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