Friday, November 19, 2010

Gotu Kola for Sleep

Gotu Kola is known as one of the most vital rejuvenating herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurvedic medicine, in the United States, is an "alternative" medical practice that claims it is based on the traditional medicine of India. Practiced for over 5000 years, these herbal and dietary practices are thought to be necessary for good health because they are believed to have the power to restore harmony and balance in mind, body, and spirit. Gotu Kola is considered a rejuvenative nervine recommended for nervous disorders, epilepsy, senility and premature aging. Gotu Kola allows you to sleep easy by combating stress and depression along with congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections and high blood pressure which can be caused by chronic sleep deprivation.

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Gotu Kola also has a positive effect on the circulatory system by improving the flow of blood and strengthening the veins and capillaries, which has been successful in treating leg cramps and abnormal tingling in the extremities. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a common condition caused by inadequate blood flow through the veins, usually in the lower limbs. It can result in considerable discomfort with symptoms such as pain, itchiness and tiredness in the legs. Studies have indicated that there appears to be a connection between restless leg syndrome (RLS) and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Gotu Kola can partially restore the vein wall and lining and reduce leg aching and heaviness. Along with proper diet and exercise, Gotu Kola could be a natural remedy for RLS.

How much Gotu Kola is recommended? Depending on the condition being treated your physician can determine the right dose for you. Gotu Kola doses vary depending on the preparation as it comes in a dried herb, powdered herb, tincture and extract for internal use.

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As a dried herb you can make a tea by steeping one teaspoon of the dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and sweeten with honey, if desired. Having a cup of Gotu Kola tea before bedtime will help induce sleep. It also is useful in relieving headaches and indigestion. Standard dose as a dried herb is a cup of tea three times a day.

1,000 – 4,000 mg of powdered herb which is available in capsules can be taken three times a day. 30 – 60 drops of tincture or 50 – 250 mg of extract can be taken two to three times daily depending on the condition. Gotu Kola is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18, those with liver disease, pregnant or nursing and anyone with skin cancers or melanoma. Side effects include skin allergies and burning sensations if used externally (Gotu Kola comes in a cream and has been used to prevent or reduce stretch marks when pregnant), headache, stomach ache, nausea, dizziness and extreme drowsiness. These side effects are rare and generally occur with higher then prescribed doses.

Gotu Kola may interact with other medications. In animal studies Gotu Kola has been shown to increase cholesterol levels, although no studies on humans have been done. Therefore, it is not recommended to take Gotu Kola if you are taking a cholesterol-lowering drug including any statins. Gotu Kola may increase blood sugar levels therefore if you have diabetes talk to your doctor before taking this herbal supplement. Gotu Kola has a diuretic effect on the body by eliminated excess fluid. If you are taking a diuretic medication you could lose too much fluid and upset the balance of your electrolytes. Since Gotu Kola has a sedative effect it may increase the effect of other medications taken for insomnia. It may also increase drowsiness if taken with other sleep aides such as valerian. Because of the possibility of photosensitivity, fair-skinned people and those who have reacted badly to sunlight while taking other medications should avoid sunshine, tanning lamps, and other sources of ultraviolet light while taking Gotu Kola.

According to a Sinhalese proverb: “Two leaves a day will keep old age away.” As Gotu Kola is reputed to bring long life to the user. In Sri Lanka their elephants are known for their longevity and believe it is due to eating the leaves of the Gotu Kola plant. Some people in Sri Lanka eat Gotu Kola leaves in their salads and in Vietnam they consider it to be an edible weed as it has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for a long time.

The content provided in Gotu Kola for Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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