Gotu kola is an herbal remedy derived from a swamp plant found growing in the swamps of India, Madagascar, and throughout South Africa. Ancient Chinese medicine employs the use of gotu kola to treat skin wounds. Residents of the countries where gotu kola is found have been using the herb for several centuries. The herb is still employed as a natural way to promote relaxation, aid in meditation, and improve a person’s memory. The Chinese have dubbed the herb the fountain of youth because it is believed to extend a person’s life. Herbalists will often recommend gotu kola to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Gotu kola is a popular remedy to treat fevers as well as congestion caused by respiratory infections. Some women use the herb as a birth control method. Leg swelling due to poor circulation is also often treated with gotu kola. In addition, the effects of arsenic and poisonous mushrooms are reversed with a gotu kola remedy. Skin wounds, including snake bites and herpes, can be treated with the remedy along with certain skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. Sprains, fractures, dysentery, high blood pressure, and asthma are believed to be remedied by gotu kola. Some believe certain types of cancers can also be prevented or cured with the herb.
Numerous studies have been conducted to test the validity of these claims. One particular study noted by the American Cancer Society revealed that the extract of the gotu kola plant slowed tumor growth in mice. Another study showed that the juice of the plant also helped slow the growth of tumors, although not as effectively as the extract. The extract has also been studied as a prevention method for Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, these studies have all used animal test subjects, making it unclear whether these results will carry over to human trials. More research remains necessary before gotu kola can be considered a complement to cancer treatments.
Gotu kola is generally considered safe, but there are no large-scale human clinical studies to prove that theory. Mild irritation may be noticed when the herbal remedy is applied to open wounds. Digestion of gotu kola may result in some minor stomach upset. This remedy may interfere with the absorption of pharmaceutical drugs and should be taken only after consulting a licensed physician or specialist. As an herbal remedy, gotu kola could eventually prove useful for patients diagnosed with cancers such as mesothelioma. Patients with healthy dietary habits are generally better equipped to fight disease, especially during treatment and healing. The ACS has defined a balanced diet as one that includes five or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables and that limits the intake of red meat and animal fat. Malnutrition has been linked to vulnerability to infection. By assisting in symptom relief, nutrition can benefit mesothelioma patient well-being.