Gotu Kola

Physician-designed supplements raising standards
Dr. Bill Rawls
Centella asiatica, gotu kola
Gotu Kola

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is an herb from the carrot family that is closely related to parsley, cilantro, and fennel. A perennial herb that grows low to the ground and spreads quickly, gotu kola has small, round green leaves that are edible. It grows in tropical and subtropical climates, including Australia, the south Pacific, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, South Africa, and South America. Gotu kola is commonly eaten as a leafy green in India and Sri Lanka, where it is lauded for its nutritional profile, including vitamin C, numerous essential minerals, triterpenoids, and carotenoids.

Bitter, sweet, and cooling, the herb has been used for thousands of years in both traditional Chinese medicine and in ayurveda, the primary traditional medicine system of India. The above-ground parts of gotu kola are used in herbal preparations.

In ayurveda, gotu kola is considered a rasayana, or a general tonic for increasing lifespan, as well as a brain tonic.* It supports healthy aging and promotes brain health.* Gotu kola is also considered to be a blood purifier, and it has been used to support healthy skin and connective tissues.*

Benefits of Gotu Kola:

Gotu kola is primarily known as a tonic for the brain and nervous system, and it has adaptogenic qualities as well. Tonics are herbs that promote overall well-being of the entire body or a specific system. Adaptogens aid the body in adapting to stresses and normalize functions within the body.* Traditional uses and modern research suggest that gotu kola:

  • Fortifies and promotes balance within the nervous system*
  • Revitalizes the brain*
  • Promotes memory and cognition, as well as a healthy mood*
  • Offers adaptogenic support, helping the body manage its response to stress*
  • Encourages healthy circulation and blood flow to the brain*
  • Promotes healthy skin, including new skin growth*
  • Helps increase stamina*
  • Supports the body’s resistance to stress*
  • Modulates the immune system as it responds to stress*
  • Promotes healthy connective tissue*
  • Neutralizes the acids in blood, which supports natural purification*

Gotu Kola for Brain Health*

Clinical research — including a 2012 review published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine — supports gotu kola’s traditional uses, which includes revitalizing the central nervous system and brain and promoting healthy memory and concentration. It also promotes production of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that supports a healthy mood by inhibiting neuron excitability, thereby supporting calm and relaxation.

Gotu kola has long been used as an herb to promote healthy aging due to its tonifying properties within the brain. Research supports gotu kola’s ability to naturally inhibit certain enzymes that influence the brain, encourage mental alertness and cognition throughout all stages of life, promote healthy levels of dopamine, and offer antioxidant support.*

Gotu Kola for Stress, Energy & More*

Gotu kola is considered to be a secondary adaptogen for its normalizing influence on the nervous and immune systems.* The herb helps increase stamina, supports the body’s natural stress resistance, and modulates immune function.*

In addition, gotu kola supports healthy cell growth and turnover in the skin.* It has a long history of use — supported by a wide body of clinical research as documented in a 2010 pharmacological review — for various aspects of skin and connective tissue health.*

How Gotu Kola Works*

Gotu kola has been used for thousands of years, and in recent decades, as interest in herbs has resurged, clinical research has been shown to support many of the herb’s traditional uses, specifically as related to skin and brain health.*

Aging is a natural part of life, and it influences every system and organ in the body. Cognition, memory, and concentration rely on healthy circulation and blood flow within the brain.

As a tonic herb, gotu kola works to promote overall well-being of the brain and central nervous system.* Among the phytochemicals found in gotu kola are triterpenes, glycosides, and asiaticosides. Triterpenes possess strong antioxidant properties, while glycosides support healthy skin.* Asiaticosides naturally stimulate formation of protein and lipids necessary for skin and connective tissue health.*

With regards to skin health and healthy cell turnover, gotu kola provides antioxidant support, promotes capillary permeability, and encourages healthy circulation. Those same mechanisms support its use as a brain tonic.*

Side effects: In normal doses, gotu kola is very safe with few potential side effects. However, since the herb promotes blood flow and stimulates menses, it is contraindicated for pregnancy.

Vital Plan Products that contain Gotu Kola:

Herbal ProActive™

Ingredients similar to Gotu Kola:

Bacopa

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your qualified healthcare provider before beginning any diet or program.

References
1. Brinkhaus B, Lindner M, Schuppan D, Hahn EG. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct; 7(5):427-48.
2. Bylka W., Znajdek‐Awiżeń P., Studzińska‐Sroka E., Dańczak‐Pazdrowska A., and Brzezińska M. (2014), Centella asiatica in Dermatology: An Overview, Phytother. Res., 28, 1117–1124. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5110
3. Chandrika UG, Prasad Kumarab PA. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): Nutritional Properties and Plausible Health Benefits. Advanced Food and Nutrition Research. 2015;76:125-57. doi: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2015.08.001. Epub 2015 Oct 1.
4. Donald Yance, Jr., CN, MH, RH(AHG), Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism, Healing Arts Press, 2013
5. Farhana, K. M., Malueka, R. G., Wibowo, S., & Gofir, A. (2016). Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment… Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2016, 2795915. http://doi.org/10.1155/2016/2795915
6. Gupta YK, Veerendra Kumar MH, Srivastava AK. Effect of Centella asiatica on pentylenetetrazole-induced kindling, cognition and oxidative stress in rats. Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior. 2003 Feb;74(3):579-85.
7. Ilkay Erdogan Orhan, Centella asiatica (L.) Urban: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine with Neuroprotective Potential, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2012, Article ID 946259, 8 pages
8. Kashmira J. Gohil, Jagruti A. Patel, and Anuradha K. Gajjar, Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all, Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Sep-Oct; 72(5): 546–556.
9. Medicinal Property of Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) from the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy, Vol 3, No. 4: 42, Dec 2015
10. Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston, Herbal Therapy & Supplements, second edition, Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Copyright 2008
11. Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine, The Principles and Traditional Practice, Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, Copyright 2006
12. Xu Y, Cao Z, Khan I, Luo Y. 2008 Apr;13(3):341-9.

about the author
Dr. Bill Rawls
Dr. Bill Rawls has practiced conventional medicine as a gynecologist for
over 20 years and is also the co-founder and medical director of Vital Plan, a wellness and herbal supplement company.