A new study investigated and found positive results regarding the memory-enhancing effects of gotu kola (Centella asiatica).
The most popular use of gotu kola in the United States is for the treatment of vascular disorders and infections, such as varicose veins and cellulitis. Although the evidence is sufficient to suggest efficacy, further research is necessary before a strong recommendation can be made.
Gotu kola has a long history of use dating back to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It is mentioned in the Shennong Herbal, compiled in China roughly 2,000 years ago, and has been widely used medicinally since 1700 AD. It has been used to treat leprosy in Mauritius since 1852, to treat wounds and gonorrhea in the Philippines and to treat fever and respiratory infections in China.
While quality human evidence on the efficacy of gotu kola is still lacking, it can now be found worldwide as a component of skin creams, lotions, hair conditioners, shampoos, tablets, drops, ointments, powders and injections.
Gotu kola is not related to the kola nut (Cola nitida, Cola acuminata). It is not a stimulant and does not contain caffeine.
Researchers from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD, explained that an extract from the leaves of gotu kola has been used as an alternative medicine for memory improvement in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine.
The study found a possible molecular mechanism for the memory-enhancing property of gotu kola extract.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive disorder in which brain cells deteriorate resulting in the loss of cognitive (thought) functions, primarily memory, judgment, reasoning, movement coordination and pattern recognition. In advanced stages of the disease, all memory and mental functioning may be lost.
It is estimated that about five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and about 360,000 people are newly diagnosed every year. Alzheimer's affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and up, and the number doubles roughly every 10 years after age 65. Half of the population ages 85 and up may have Alzheimer's. There are an estimated 24 million people with general dementia worldwide.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, although researchers have made progress on determining the causes of Alzheimer's.