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Gotu Kola - an ancient herb that has benefits for pets too

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is an ancient herb of many wonders. Perhaps it's something that could support your animal's health and wellbeing? Read on to find out.



Gotu Kola has a rich history, with use going back to prehistoric times in India, Indonesia and China. A beautiful story out of Sri Lanka provides us with a wonderful demonstration of the ancient plant wisdom of animals. It is believed that local people came to eat Gotu Kola from watching elephants eat the leaves of the plant. Elephants are known for their long memories and so the people thought that if they ate Gotu Kola, it would enhance their wisdom, great memory and longevity.



There's an old saying that eating one leaf a day will gift you 25 years, two leaves a day will gift you 50 years and three leaves a day will make you ageless (Gotu Kola tea anyone?).


Known as "Brahmi" in Ayurvedic medicine, the herb is considered one of the most spiritual plants. In China, the herb is known as one of the "miracle elixirs of life".


Benefits of Gotu Kola


Gotu Kola has many benefits associated with it, including:

  • anti-ageing - it's one of the top ten anti-ageing herbs in Ayurvedic medicine

  • improves mental clarity and performance

  • wound healing and skin regeneration - it stimulates collagen synthesis, epidermis and blood flow/vessel repair, and promotes keratinisation, it has been traditionally and widely used for skin issues like psoriasis, eczema and general dry skin conditions

  • increases circulation to the periphery of the body and brain, helping to promote concentration, memory and focus

  • the ability to tighten and cool the gastric mucosa, and increase gastric mucosal secretions, helping with issues like leaky gut, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, etc

  • rejuvenates, replenishes and nourishes the nervous system - it's especially beautiful for strengthening, tonifying and restoring a nervous system that is depleted from long term stress

  • relaxes the central nervous system

  • calms inflammatory conditions that may have been aggravated by tension and nervous stress

  • mild sedative

  • supports connective tissues and nerves, helping with issues like arthritis and ligament/tendon damage

  • reducing inflammation to the bladder mucosa, which can occur with UTIs (urinary tract infections)

  • it can tighten the bladder wall, helping with incontinence

  • rejuvenates the adrenal glands

  • stimulates the thyroid


Primary actions


The primary actions of the herb are alterative, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, connective tissue tonic/astringent, nervine tonic and trophorestorative, nootropic/cognitive stimulant.


System/organ affinities


It has affinities with primary organs and systems, including the circulatory system, digestive system, skin, nervous system, muscular and skeletal system, kidneys and bladder and the endrocine system.


Energetics


From an energetic perspective, Gotu Kola is a cooling herb. It has the ability to move heat up and out of the body and so it can be a beneficial herb to consider for animals who have excess heat. It will help to clear heat, drain damp, cool and invigorate the blood, and clear heat and toxins. It has a neutral to lightly drying effect on bodily tissues. Gotu Kola has a pungent, bitter, almost sweet taste.


Cautions and Contraindications


There are some cautions and contraindications to be aware of:

  • It should be avoided if your animal is pregnant or lactating.

  • It may interact with sedative, hypnotic, anticoagulant and antihypertensive herbs or drugs.

  • It may interact with NSAIDS, aminobutyric acid and ulcerogenic drugs.

  • It may inhibit liver enzymes responsible for the metabolism of barbiturates and shouldn’t be used with benzodiazepines or barbiturates.

  • It may lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.


Is Gotu Kola something your animal could benefit from?


Gotu Kola might be a worthwhile tool in your pet parent armoury if your animal has cognitive, digestive, musculoskeletal issues, skin issues, anxiety, recurrent UTIs, incontinence or if they are easily distracted. As with all herbs, check with your animal's herbalist / naturopath or holistic vet first to see if Gotu Kola is suitable for your animal.



Would you like to learn more about how herbs can support your animal? Check out The Herbal Sessions. An online group coaching program for nature-loving animal lovers. Learn more and enrol here. After personalised support to help your animal? Let's chat!



References:
I wouldn't have been able to write this article without reference to the following texts:

Sajah Popham, Materia Medica Monthly Volume 36: Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Wynn SG, Fougère BJ. 'Veterinary Herbal Medicine'. Mosby Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 2007.

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About Ruth

Ruth Hatten is a Holistic Animal Care Mentor with qualifications in animal naturopathy, pet nutrition and energy healing. She helps animals using holistic principles and natural remedies, including naturopathy, nutrition, plant medicine, energy and spirituality. Ruth believes that animals can thrive when they are supported in this way.​

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