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gutu kolaA low-lying plant, the leaves and stalk of which contain asiaticosides, triterpene acid, glycoside, tannin and volatile oil.
Gutu kola is used in India to treat gastrointestinal complaints, psoriasis, leprosy, tuberculosis and STIs.
A Chinese herb said to promote longevity and alleged to be responsible for Lee Ching-yuen’s (a Chinese herbalist) 256-year lifespan. In Chinese medicine, gutu kola is antipyretic, diuretic and tonic for the immune and nervous systems; it is used for convulsions, hair loss, recuperation from trauma, premature ageing, memory loss, learning impairment, mental disorders, STIs and seizures.
In Western herbal medicine, gutu kola is used internally for oedema and poor circulation in legs, and topically for burns, cuts, eczema and psoriasis.
Gutu kola is poisonous; its use is restricted, as large doses may cause vertigo and coma, and it should not be used in pregnancy, when breast-feeding or in young children.