Lasers. Probiotics. Chemical Peels. A new skincare trend pops up practically every week, but instead of looking to the future, the secret to great skin might be in the past. We’re talking about ‘Gotu Kola’.
“It’s an ancient Ayurvedic herb known as ‘brahmi,’ said to aid knowledge of God and traditionally used before meditation,” explains Tipper Lewis, the expert naturopathic herbalist for Neal’s Yard. “In ancient Chinese Medicine it’s known as a herb of longevity, ‘the fountain of life.’ Legend says an ancient Chinese herbalist taking Gotu Kola lived for more than 200 years.”
So what exactly does it do for your skin? “Gotu Kola may be one of the most prominent Ayurvedic herbs for having undergone a great degree of scientific research for its healing properties,” says Shrankhla Holecek, founder of UMA Oils. “One of its most common skin-healing benefits for cuts, burns and rashes is likely due to its anti-bacterial action coupled with its ability to provide better circulation to the affected areas. These healing properties further extend themselves to anti-aging benefits for some of the very same reasons — it is believed that Gotu Kola can aid in the regeneration of skin cells.” Plus, the fact that it’s packed with antioxidants and absorbs easily into the skin adds to its anti-aging perks.
Gotu Kola’s supports the elimination of toxins via the liver and kidneys, which is invaluable for chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, according to Lewis. Plus, saponins in Gotu Kola beneficially affect collagen, inhibiting overproduction in hyperactive scar tissue, while asiaticoside, another constituent, helps stimulate skin repair and strengthen skin, hair and nails.
It turns out Gotu Kola is also great for your mind. The rejuvenating herb is traditionally used to help revitalise the nervous system and brain. It’s also said to increase intelligence, memory, energy, focus and concentration, as well as calm nerves and boost the circulatory system.
So how do you take this miracle herb? The best way to do so really depends on the goal. “For skincare, most formulations use it as a very fine powder or even oil,” Holecek says. “For brain function and better rest, it is often taken in the form of a tea.”