A study conducted by Dr Sameera Samarakoon of the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo, with renowned Food Scientist Dr. D. B. T. Wijeratne, has found that consuming green tea with gotu kola (Centella asiatica) as a mix could produce many health benefits. Gotu kola enhances the antioxidant, antiviral and immune-boosting properties of green tea.
Pegged as the herb of longevity, gotu kola is a staple in traditional Asian medicinal practices and green tea is one of the most popular health beverages around the world. Health benefits of green tea are well known and it is commonly consumed by many people owing to its antioxidant properties, reduction of obesity, prevention of cancer, reduction of blood pressure, etc. Similarly, in ancient medicinal practices in India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific, the health benefits of gotu kola is well known. Modern laboratory tests have confirmed that the gotu kola has antioxidant properties, beneficial effects to the liver, skin protection and improving cognitive function and memory power. All health benefits of both could be obtained when consuming a mixture of green tea and gotu kola, Dr Samarakoon said.
He said that gotu kola should not exceed more than 20 percent of the mixture due to reduction in acceptability as a beverage.
He said that green tea and gotu kola could be recommended as herbal beverages.
Dr Wjieratne said that previous studies had confirmed that consumption of gotu kola had a positive effect on improving liver health especially with regard to the most common type of primary liver cancer, Hepatocellular carcinoma, fatty liver and liver cirrhosis. Recent research has also pointed out that gotu kola could help reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases including stroke, myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease. Pharmacological studies have reported that the gotu kola extract can regulate the central nervous system activity and enhance cognitive function in the brain.
Dr Wijeratne pointed out that the health benefits of green tea have been well known around the world. Compared to gotu kola there was more scientific research with regard to green tea’s health benefits. Green tea is rich in catechin, polyphenols, particularly Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The EGCG is a powerful antioxidant which kills cancer cells without harming the normal cells. This compound is also effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots and reduction of platelet aggregation. In addition, it has been found that green tea extract is a promising source of natural antioxidants that has been effectively utilized to enhance the antioxidant properties, Dr Wijeratne said.
He said that obesity had been identified as the major cause of a number of diseases, including coronary heart diseases, hypertension, non-insulin dependent diabetes, pulmonary dysfunction, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. Tea catechin, especially EGCG, appears to have an anti-obesity and diabetes effect. Green tea was also seen as a natural herb that can enhance energy expenditure and fat oxidation and thereby induce weight loss, Dr Wijeratne said, adding that consumption of a combination of two herbals could provide plentiful health benefits.