If you’re a fan of South East Asian cuisine, you’ve probably already crossed paths with a plant admired by Confucious and yogis alike: Centella asiatica, a leafy little herb commonly known as Gotu Kola.
Found in our skin-supporting Renew Mab Tabs, brain boosting Focus Mab Tabs and often a star ingredient in our Custom Mab Tabs, this herb is a perennial plant, member of the parsley family and thrives in and around water. It’s native to countries like India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific, but we’ve chosen to source ours from India, working with suppliers that follow a Sustainable Supply Chain Mode. It’s there, in the provinces of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, that planting is done between the months of February and March; by June, the leaves are at full growth and harvested through hand-cutting. After solar-drying, samples are sent to be tested for all the things we look to steer clear from – micrologic contaminants, heavy metals and pesticides. And while it’s the stems and fan shaped leaves you’ll find in those tasty chutneys and salads, it’s found its way onto our hot list of herbs because its use has historically gone beyond that of a good meal.
Taken along with the roots, Gotu Kola has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese, Indonesian and Ayurvedic medicine. Practitioners used it to heal wounds, boost mental clarity and alleviate skin conditions like leprosy and psoriasis. Modern-day studies seem to agree – the herb has been described as having anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antitumoral agents, as well as acting as an immunomodulatory compound.* Pretty powerful stuff for a leaf that averages just 2 centimeters in length.
Now, while we’d tell you to get to a doctor ASAP for any of the conditions above, dropping a Renew, Focus or Custom Mab Tab into your favorite drink is a super easy way to help boost your brain and skin’s optimal state of clarity. (Our founder Christina swears it’s helped her skin go from rashy and grumpy to clear and happy.) Even better – you won’t have to track down a specialty grocer and eat heaps of it to get the benefits of this plant. Each tiny, Mab Tab gives you a full recommended serving at 18x times the concentration of one serving of dried Gotu Kola.
Our chief science advisor Kevin Spelman, Ph.D gives us a peek into the function* – and lore – of this small but mighty plant.
The actives in Gotu Kola are organic compounds called triterpenes. For the mind, they’re known for a calming and relaxing ability – so much so yogis used to use it to enhance their meditation. As for skin, the same compounds were traditionally used for non-healing wounds.
It’s a neuroprotective herb. Studies have shown there’s been positive activity in in vivo models on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, learning and memory enhancement and protection against neurotoxicity.*
It’s been used for feelings of anxiety and depression. One of the ways it’s been used for mood regulation is through the stimulation of cholinergic activity in the hippocampus, key for many functions including memory. It’s also known to help reduce stress hormones called corticoid, which can help relay to the brain everything is peaceful.*
It’s also been used for antioxidant and collagen stimulating effects. In regards to skin, it’s been used to support the accumulation of the extracellular matrix, antioxidant activity, and stimulation of collagen synthesis and angiogenesis, leading to a higher rate of epithelization and keratinization.*
Kevin Spelman, PhD, MCPP, is an internationally recognized expert on the molecular biology and clinical therapeutics of botanical medicines. A past National Institutes of Health postdoctoral Fellow and Marie Curie research Fellow in the European Union, Dr. Spelman has published 27 scientific papers and six chapters and been involved in clinical work for two decades. Dr. Spelman has been an academic pioneer in professional and competent clinical herbal medicine, co-founding the first master of science degree in clinical phytotherapy and a founding faculty member of the first bachelor degree in herbal medicine. Dr. Spelman is a past advisor to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.