Gotu Kola

Pegged as the “herb of longevity,” gotu kola is a staple in traditional Chinese, Indonesian, and Ayurvedic medicine. Practitioners claim the medicinal plant has the power to boost brainpower, heal skin issues, and promote liver and kidney health — and some studies seem to agree.

Keep reading to learn how gotu kola may help improve your overall health and well-being.

1. It may help boost cognitive function

A small 2016 study compared the effects of gotu kola extract and folic acid in boosting cognitive function after a stroke. This small study assessed the impact on three groups of participants — one taking 1,000 milligrams (mg) of gotu kola per day, one taking 750 mg of gotu kola per day, and one taking 3 mg of folic acid per day.

Although gotu kola and folic acid were equally beneficial in improving overall cognition, gotu kola was more effective in improving memory domain.

A separate study looked at the cognitive enhancing effects of gotu kola water extract on mice. Although both young and old mice showed improvements in learning and memory using the Morris Water Maze, the effect was higher in the older mice.

How to use: Take 750 to 1,000 mg of gotu kola per day for up to 14 days at a time.

2. It may help treat Alzheimer’s disease

Gotu kola has the ability to enhance memory and nerve function, which gives it potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, one 2012 study on mice found that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

The extract was also shown, in lab and animal studies, to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This could also protect the cells from forming the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Still, further research is needed to determine exactly how gotu kola could be used to treat Alzheimer’s. If you’re interested in adding this to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor before use.

How to use: Take 30 to 60 drops of liquid gotu kola extract 3 times per day. Dosages may vary between manufacturers, so always carefully follow the directions on the bottle.

3. It may help reduce anxiety and stress

Researchers in an animal study from 2016 found that gotu kola had an anti-anxiety effect on male mice that were sleep deprived for 72 hours. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, oxidative damage, and neuroinflammation.

Mice that were given gotu kola for five consecutive days before undergoing sleep deprivation experienced significantly less anxiety-like behavior. They also experienced improved locomotor activity and less oxidative damage.

A 2013 review of anti-anxiety herbal medicines also concluded that gotu kola has an acute anti-anxiety effect. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to use: Take 500 mg of gotu kola extract twice a day for up to 14 days at a time. You can take up to 2,000 mg per day in cases of extreme anxiety.

4. It may act as an antidepressant

Gotu kola’s positive effect on brain function may also make it an effective antidepressant.

A review from 2016 supports these findings, in part due to a study on 33 people with generalized anxiety disorder. The participants were asked to take gotu kola in place of their antidepressant medication for 60 days. They self-reported decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.

Another study discussed in the review assessed the effect of gotu kola on rats induced with chronic depression. The herbal remedy had a positive effect on certain elements of behavioral depression, including body weight, body temperature, and heart rate.

How to use: Take 500 mg of gotu kola twice a day for up to 14 days at a time. You can take up to 2,000 mg per day during times of intensified depression.

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5. It may improve circulation and reduce swelling

Research from 2001 found that gotu kola can reduce problems with fluid retention, ankle swelling, and circulation tied to taking flights that last longer than three hours.

Participants who experienced mild-to-moderate superficial venous disease with varicose veins were asked to take gotu kola for two days before their flight, the day of their flight, and the day after their flight.

Researchers found that participants who took the supplement experienced significantly less fluid retention and ankle swelling than those who didn’t.

Older research has also shown that gotu kola can be useful in treating varicose veins. This may be because gotu kola has a positive metabolic effect on the connective tissue of the vascular wall.

How to use: Take 60 to 100 mg of gotu kola extract 3 times per day for a week, before and after any flights. You can also massage the affected area with a topical cream containing 1 percent gotu kola extract.

How to do a skin patch test: It’s important to do a patch test before using any topical medication. To do this, rub a dime-sized amount on to the inside of your forearm. If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, it should be safe to use elsewhere.

6. It may help ease insomnia

Given its perceived ability to treat anxiety, stress, and depression, gotu kola may also be used to treat the insomnia that sometimes accompanies these conditions. Some consider this herbal remedy to be a safe alternative to prescription medications used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Although older research does suggest that gotu kola can help treat sleep disorders, additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

How to use: Take 300 to 680 mg of gotu kola extract 3 times per day for up to 14 days at a time.

7. It may help reduce appearance of stretch marks

According to a 2013 review, gotu kola can reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It’s thought that the terpenoids found in gotu kola increase collagen production in the body. This may help prevent new stretch marks from forming, as well as help heal any existing marks.

How to use: Apply a topical cream containing 1 percent gotu kola extract to the affected area several times per day.

How to do a skin patch test: It’s important to do a patch test before using any topical medication. To do this, rub a dime-sized amount on to the inside of your forearm. If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, it should be safe to use elsewhere.

8. It may promote wound healing and minimize scarring

Researchers in a 2015 study on rats found that wound dressing containing gotu kola had healing effects on multiple types of wounds. This includes clean cuts by sharp objects, irregular tears caused by blunt-force trauma, and infected tissue.

Although promising, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to use: Apply an ointment containing 1 percent gotu kola extract to the affected area several times per day. If your wound is deep or otherwise severe, see your doctor before use.

How to do a skin patch test: It’s important to do a patch test before using any topical medication. To do this, rub a dime-sized amount on to the inside of your forearm. If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, it should be safe to use elsewhere.

9. It may help relieve joint pain

The anti-inflammatory properties of gotu kola may be useful in treating arthritis.

In fact, one 2014 study on collagen-induced arthritis in rats found that oral administration of gotu kola reduced joint inflammation, cartilage erosion, and bone erosion. Its antioxidant effect also had a positive effect on the immune system.

How to use: Take 300 to 680 mg of gotu kola extract 3 times per day for up to 14 days at a time.

10. It may have a detox effect

Newer research is taking a look at gotu kola’s effect on liver and kidney toxicity.

According to one 2017 animal study, gotu kola can be used to suppress the toxic side effects of the antibiotic isoniazid. Isoniazid is used to treat and prevent tuberculosis.

Rats were given 100 mg of gotu kola for 30 days before they were given the antibiotic. These rats experienced less toxicity overall. Rats that did experience toxicity in the liver and kidneys resumed to near-normal levels after being given gotu kola.

More research is needed to expand upon these findings.

How to use: Take 30 to 60 drops of liquid gotu kola extract 3 times per day for up to 14 days at a time. Dosages may vary between manufacturers, so always carefully follow the directions on the bottle.

Potential side effects and risks

Gotu kola is generally well tolerated. In some cases, it can cause headache, upset stomach, and dizziness. Starting with a low dose and gradually working up to a full dose can help reduce your risk of side effects.

You should only take gotu kola for two to six weeks at a time. Be sure to take a two week break before resuming use.

When applied topically, gotu kola has the potential to cause skin irritation. You should always do a patch test before moving forward with a full application. Herbs aren’t monitored by the FDA and gotu kola has been found to have dangerous levels of heavy metals due to being grown in contaminated soil. Choose to buy products from reliable sources.

Don’t use gotu kola if you:

•are pregnant

•are breastfeeding

•have hepatitis or other liver disease

•have a scheduled surgery within the next two weeks

•are under 18 years of age

•have a history of skin cancer

Talk to your doctor before use if you:

•have liver disease

•have diabetes

•have high cholesterol

•are taking medications such as sedatives for sleep or anxiety

•are taking diuretics

The bottom line

Although gotu kola is generally considered safe to use, you should still check in with your doctor before use. This herbal remedy isn’t meant to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan, and, in some cases, it may lead to adverse side effects.

With your doctor’s approval, work an oral or topical dose into your daily routine. You may be able to avoid mild side effects by starting with a small amount and gradually increasing the dosage over time.

If you begin experiencing any unusual or prolonged side effects, discontinue use and see your doctor.

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18 Interesting Gotu Kola Benefits

The most interesting health benefits of gotu kola include its ability to prevent hair loss, speed wound healing, aid in skin care, boost cognition, soothe nervous disorders, treat respiratory issues, reduce toxicity, protect the heart, enhance mood, and heal the circulatory system.

What is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola is a small perennial herbaceous plant from the wetlands of Asia that can have remarkable effects on the body when consumed. This herb is also known as Centella Asiatica, Centella, Brahmiand Asiatic pennywort. Centella Asiatica was used in ancient India, Africa, and China for its powerful medicinal properties. The plant grows in tropical, wet areas and bears a small white or pink flower from a leaf that looks like a fat half moon.

These strangely shaped leaves are the most valuable part of the plant and are most commonly used in herbal medicine. They can be made into gels, creams, capsule supplements, ointments, and other forms to treat everything from anxiety to cardiovascular conditions. The high concentration of unique triterpenoid compounds (also known as saponins) found in it is the reason behind this plant’s power.

Health Benefits of Gotu Kola

Let us look at some of the powerful health benefits of gotu kola in detail below:

Prevents Hair Loss

Gotu kola lowers stress and free radicals, which are known to cause hair loss. For healthier hair growth, apply a mixture of Centella Asiatica, aloe veraEclipta alba (false daisy), Ocimum sanctum (holy basil), and Emblica Officinalis (Amla).

Speeds Wound Healing

Saponins and other organic compounds found in gotu kola stimulate the healing process at the site of wounds. By stimulating blood flow to the cells and protecting against infections, it can rapidly speed the healing process.

Skin Care

Gotu kola is rich in antioxidants and contains saponins which improve the appearance of the skin. Many cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies are interested in it because of its ability to reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and other blemishes. In particular, it inhibits the accumulation of scar tissue, which helps keep your skin beautiful, even after an injury or a surgery. Thus, it reduces major signs of aging.

Boosts Circulation

Gotu kola actually plays two important roles in the circulatory system. Firstly, the plant extract can protect and strengthen the walls of blood vessels and capillaries, which prevents blood leakage and optimizes the circulatory system. Secondly, it stimulates the flow of blood, which increases oxygenation in different parts of the body and important organ systems. This also alleviates problems caused due to poor blood circulation such as swelling, leg heaviness, and pain.

Treats Psoriasis

Gotu kola can inhibit skin cell reproduction. Although not potent, it can be used to treat psoriasis, which is a hyperproliferative skin disorder.

Prevents Thrombosis

Gotu kola prevents blood clotting. Therefore it cures thrombosis, which is blood clotting in the blood vessels.

Anti-inflammatory

Gotu kola has anti-inflammatory properties which fight the bacterial infections. It also helps in reducing the swelling and pain caused by inflammation.

Cures Stomach Ulcers

Asiaticoside present in gotu kola acts as an anti-gastric ulcer drug. It increases cell healing and reduces the ulcers.

Treats Anxiety & Depression

Gotu kola can have a positive effect on anxiety issues as it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol, and increases serotonin and dopamine levels. It effectively decreases the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks and episodes in a group of subjects who suffered from some form of GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb can lower the signs of depression and despair. It is also known to enhance spirituality, thus, sometimes referred to as the ‘Herb of Enlightenment’.

Boosts Cognition

Gotu kola extract has a positive impact on the circulatory system, thereby oxygenating more of the brain and allowing cognition to improve. The antioxidant effects of this herb are also somewhat responsible, as they can stimulate neural pathways by eliminating plaque and free radicals from the brain.

Prevents Nervous Disorders

Gotu kola has an anxiolytic activity which helps relieve stress, enhance mood, and induce sleep, thereby calming the nervous system. For those who suffer from disorders like epilepsy, it can have a powerful effect on the quality of life and the severity of the conditions if taken regularly.

Improves Memory

The gotu kola extract has been traditionally used to improve memory in India as an Ayurvedic treatment. Studies done on lab rats confirm that it has a memory-enhancing property, and therefore it can slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and dementia.

Treats Cancer                              

The anti-proliferative nature of gotu kola is beneficial in curing various types of cancerincluding breast cancer.

Eradicates Herpes

Gotu kola, combined with mango, helps treat and eradicate the herpes virus.

Prevents Stomach Upset

Traditionally, Centella Asiatica leaves were used to treat severe pain in the stomach, which we now link to gastric ulcers. This treatment is still considered viable, and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the leaves can clearly improve the health of the gut and colon.

Detoxifies the Body

Gotu kola has long been known as a mild diuretic and can, therefore, stimulate the release of excess toxins, salts, water, and even fat from the body through urination. This release helps ease tension on the kidneys and generally removes toxins quickly while keeping our energy up and our fluid balance even.

Regulates Blood Pressure

By relieving tension and anxiety in the arteries and blood vessels, gotu kola is able to regulate blood pressure and reduce strain on the cardiovascular system. This protects the heart and prevents diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes from occurring.

Enhances Sex Drive

There is traditional evidence showing that gotu kola is used for an energetic boost in the bedroom. Increasing libido is often a side effect of other herbal remedies, and this herb is no exception. In addition to eliminating mental fatigue and increasing energy stores in the body, it can also bring some fire back to your relationship.

Side Effects

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, those undergoing surgery, as well as individuals with the liver disease are advised to avoid gotu kola. Some common side effects are as follows:

•Allergy: Allergic reactions to Centella Asiatica include redness, itchiness or hives on the skin.

•Gastrointestinal distress: Some may suffer from upset stomach, nausea or a strangely colored stool.

•Drowsiness: Dizzinessheadache, and drowsiness are possible side effects.

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References

1http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/7855

2http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4899-1367-8_1

3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23637859

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9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17473438

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11http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10711131

12https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18279797

13http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/18431001

14http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525505010000077

15https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18431001

16https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15639343

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18http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320503011706

19http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/350588

20https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/cpb/49/10/49_10_1368/_article

Article resources

•Arpaia MR, et al. (1990). Effects of centella asiatica extract on mucopolysaccharide metabolism in subjects with varicose veins.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2150405

•Bylka W, et al. (2013). Centella asiatica in cosmetology. DOI:

10.5114/pdia.2013.33378

•Cauffield JS, et al. (1999). Dietary supplements used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10711131

•Cesarone MR, et al. (2001). Flight microangiopathy in medium- to long-distance flights: prevention of edema and microcirculation alterations with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11666121

•Chanana P, et al. (2016). Possible involvement of nitric oxide modulatory mechanisms in the neuroprotective effect of Centella asiatica against sleep deprivation induced anxiety like behavior, oxidative damage and neuroinflammation. DOI:

10.1002/ptr.5582

•Farhana KM, et al. (2016). Effectiveness of gotu kola extract 750 mg and 1000 mg compared with folic acid 3 mg in improving vascular cognitive impairment after stroke. DOI:

10.1155/2016/2795915

•Ghosh K, et al. (2017). The ameliorating effect of centella asiatica ethanolic extract on albino rats treated with isoniazid. DOI:

10.1515/jbcpp-2016-0059

•Gray NE, et al. (2016). Centella asiatica modulates antioxidant and mitochondrial pathways and improves cognitive function in mice. DOI:

10.1016/j.jep.2016.01.013

•Jin SG, et al. (2015). Mechanical properties and in vivo healing evaluation of a novel Centella asiatica-loaded hydrocolloid wound dressing. DOI:

doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2015.05.058

•Lokanathan Y, et al. (2016). Recent updates in neuroprotective and neuroregenerative potential of centella asiatica.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975583/

•Sarris J, et al. (2013). Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: A review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. DOI:

10.1007/s40263-013-0059-9

•Sharma S, et al. (2014). Attenuation of collagen induced arthritis by centella asiatica methanol fraction via modulation of cytokines and oxidative stress. DOI:

10.3967/bes2014.133

•Shing WL, et al. (2016). Effects of metal-contaminated soils on the accumulation of heavy metals in gotu kola (centella asiatica) and the potential health risks: A study in peninsular Malaysia. DOI:

10.1007/s10661-015-5042-0

•Soumyanath A, et al. (2012). Centella asiatica extract improves behavioral deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease: investigation of a possible mechanism of action. DOI:

dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/381974

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