This Skin Tonic Does So Much More Than Stop Wrinkles

Dr. Janet Zand
August 4, 2018


This superstar plant really can do it all, offering healing and relief to your mind, your feet, and all the skin in between.

This herb, called gotu kola, also goes by centella asiatica, Indian pennywort, or tiger grass. Like many of my favorite plants, Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine have been using it for centuries. It’s exciting to see that its incredible properties are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. This little plant really can do so much!

Before we discuss how gotu kola can help your skin look great, let’s look at how it can help you feel great. Anxiety and worry can keep you from restorative sleep and make maintaining other healthy habits feel impossible. Eating poorly, skipping exercise, and skipping washing your face or applying sunscreen can all take a toll on your skin.

The good news is that taking gotu kola orally can do a lot for your mental state. Because it promotes blood flow to your brain, it can improve your focus, concentration, and memory. It also reduces anxiety and promotes a feeling of calm. And if you’re prone to frowning or furrowing your brow when you feel stressed or have trouble remembering something, it could even help you avoid wrinkles!

Reducing hair loss and promoting firm, flexible skin

While we’re talking about the head, taking gotu kola orally can help externally too. Because it promotes blood flow, it also allows more nutrients and oxygen to get to the scalp. This can help reduce hair loss.

For the face, I’m always looking for ways to protect and promote collagen. This is one of the best ways to maintain skin firmness and elasticity. Many collagen-supporting products come from animals. Gotu kola is one of only a few plants that can both protect your existing collagen and support new collagen formation. This makes it a great choice for vegans – or anyone else who wants tighter, firmer, more youthful skin.

Increased blood flow to the skin is great news for the rest of the body too. Better circulation helps the skin heal more quickly, so you’ll enjoy a more rapid reduction in blemishes, scars, and even broken capillaries. And because it’s antimicrobial, applying it topically can help keep new breakouts from forming. Its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can provide quick relief if you accidentally end up with a sunburn – and help reduce and repair the damage afterward.

Fighting stretch marks and healing cracked heels

Moving down the body, because of these healing properties, gotu kola can help quite a bit with stretch marks, as well as the varicose veins that can plague our legs as we age. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should talk to your doctor before you take or apply this herb. But some essential oil blends include it and can help decrease stretch marks over time.

Because gotu kola reduces inflammation, it can help your veins function better overall. Less inflammation also means varicose veins will be less noticeable. Even if you don’t have varicose veins, gotu kola can help provide relief if your legs feel swollen. And by supporting collagen formation, it helps the joints rebuild needed cushioning. It’s great for collagen whether you apply it topically or take it internally.

Finally, if we move down to the feet, gotu kola can help there too. Many people give their faces plenty of attention and protection, but don’t realize their cracked, dry heels are detracting from their appearance. Cracks in the heels are unsightly and even painful. But worse than that, they can leave you vulnerable to infection. Many people suffer from cracked heels, including people who stand for long periods of time, those who favor open-heeled shoes, and diabetics. In fact, approximately 20% of adults in the U.S. may have cracked heels. Prolonged exposure to water can cause cracking as well. Women are more than 50% more likely than men to suffer from cracked heels.

One study of a foot cream made with gotu kola found that the product could offer significant relief. Over the course of 28 days, 22 participants ranging in age from 25 to 40 with cracks on both heels applied the cream to one foot. By the end of the study, the participants noted a significant difference between the treated and the untreated feet. The number of cracks decreased, reducing pain and improving appearance. And the cream left the feet better moisturized too.

Where to find gotu kola

A wide variety of topical products include gotu kola. Some of these are more targeted, like the foot cream mentioned above. Many eye serums and masks contain the herb too. To enjoy more full-body effects, you can look for body lotions or oils and relaxing bath soaks that include gotu kola – or take it internally. It’s available in the form of supplements and even in teas. Because gotu kola is such an effective skin nutrient, we put it in many of the Système 41 products.

When you look for plants to support your beauty routine, look for those that fight inflammation. Also look for anti-microbial properties. And look for ones that help your body build collagen. Of course, fighting wrinkles is great too. With gotu kola, we get all of this and more. It really can help you look and feel better from head to toe.

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