Chinese medicine’s most treasured herbal plant

This week we are looking at one of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine’s most treasured herbal medicines, it has been revered for thousands of years for its ability to enhance cognitive function. It has over 60 common names these include:

  • Pennywort
  • Indian pennywort
  • Water pennywort
  • Marsh penny
  • Ji xue cao
  • Talepetrako

Gotu kola, in the Sri Lankan Singhalese language, means cup-shaped leaf. Sri Lankans, noting that elephants, renowned for their longevity, eat the plant, began eating a few leaves a day in hopes of increasing their lifespan. Gotu kola’s historical use is mentioned in the Chinese Shennong Herbal (circa 1st-2nd century CE). It has been called one of the “miracle elixirs of life” because a Chinese herbalist named Li Ching-Yun, who some believe lived to the age of 197, reportedly used Gotu kola regularly.

This plant is indigenous to Africa, Oceanic countries, and Southeast Asian countries including the Indian subcontinent. It is widely consumed in diets as salads, vegetables, and drinks as nutraceutical preparations. For 3000 years, this plant has been acclaimed for its medicinal properties in Chinese traditional and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to promote general health. Traditionally, it is indicated for use in wound healing in the pharmacopeia of numerous countries including India, China, Germany, and European countries. 

It was incorporated into the Indian Pharmacopoeia in the 19th century and accepted by the French as a drug in the 1880s. Noted with the ability to reduce anxiety and is a natural anti-depressant by increasing serotonin and dopamine. Gotu Kola has a very mild to slightly bitter taste. Traditionally mixed with ghee in Ayurvedic medicine. Legend has it that people observed elephants eating wild-growing Gotu Kola and, knowing their memory, decided to try it themselves. Nicknamed the “Herb of Enlightenment” by monks, yogis, sages, and Daoists.

What are the skincare benefits Of Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola has also been studied in combination with other herbs and conventional medications used both internally and topically for effectiveness in treating:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency.
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Photo-aged skin.
  • Improving the appearance of striae rubra (red stretch marks).
  • Increasing blood vessel and collagen growth.

Triterpenoid compounds 

The main skin beneficial compounds found in Gotu Kola are the Triterpenoid saponins - Asiaticoside and Madecassoside. In vivo (laboratory) studies have shown the efficacy of Asiaticoside and Madecassoside in the treatment of wounds including infected wounds, sunburns, surgical scars, psoriasis, and scleroderma. These two compounds accelerate the process of skin regeneration along with reducing inflammation while aiding in the prevention of the signs of photoaging. Studies on cell cultures showed that the growth and proliferation of fibroblasts and the regeneration of the extracellular matrix accelerate in the presence of asiaticoside and increasing the level of antioxidants in the newly formed tissue in the early days of wound healing.

Phenolic compounds

Gotu kola is rich in Phenolic compounds (flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids) - well-known for its skin regenerating action. Flavonoids also reduce inflammation in blood microvessels, which they strengthen while improving microcirculation.

Botanical Name: Centella asiatica
Organic Status: Certified Organic
Plant Part: Leaves
Actions: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, adaptogen.
Common uses include: Improve healing, treatment of psoriasis, to increase skin strength and collagen production.

I have incorporated a lipophilic extract of certified organic Gotu Kola leaf into Cell Affinity Coactive Serum via our propriety herbal infusion, to capture the skin regeneration, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, promoting exceptional skin health care. 

Until next time.

be human, be kind, be you.




love letter


Centella Asiatica in cosmetology

Klövekorn W, Tepe A, Danesch U. A randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, half-side comparison with a herbal ointment containing Mahonia aquifolium, Viola tricolor and Centella asiatica for the treatment of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. November 2007;45(11):583-591.

Haftek M, Mac-Mary S, Le Bitoux MA, et al. Clinical, biometric and structural evaluation of the long-term effects of a topical treatment with ascorbic acid and madecassoiside in photoaged human skin. Exp Dermatol. November 2008;17(11):946-952.

BOOK / Modern Cosmetics - Ingredients of Natural Origin - A Scientific Review Vol.1 2018.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published