Gotu Kola Herb

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Gotu kola, a member of the parsley family, is highly regarded in India, perhaps as one of the most spiritual of all herbs. It grows in some areas of the Himalayas where it is used by yogis to improve meditation. It is said to develop the crown chakra which is the energy center at the top of the head and to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf is said to resemble. It is also regarded as one of the most important rejuvenation herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine, where it enjoys the name “Brahmi”, which is shared with another herb Bacopa.

What is Gotu Kola Used for?

Because Gotu Kola is a rejuvenation nervine, it is often recommended for balancing the nervous system. Gotu Kola leaf & root contain key constituents that help the body to maintain healthy neurotransmitter function, while also promoting normal levels of mental alertness and a sound memory. Gotu kola also supports the body’s inherent ability to acclimate to temporary stress. Gotu Kola leaf & root have long been used to support the health of skin, hair, and nails in Asia, India and in other native cultures. Numerous clinical trials have shown that Gotu Kola indeed has beneficial dermatological effects by helping to help support the connective tissue that line many of the external surfaces of the body including the scalp and skin. These supportive actions include supporting normal integrity of skin tissue and connective tissue maintenance, healthy formation of connective tissue structural components, and healthy keratization of the skin. Because Gotu kola supports healthy connective tissue, it also supports blood vessel strength and integrity as well as

Everything You Need to Know About 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 Trusted Source 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 Trusted Source 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.

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 2016Trusted Source 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 noninflammatory.

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

A 2013 review-trusted Source 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.powered by Rubicon Project

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 2016Trusted Source 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.

5. It may improve circulation and reduce swelling

Research from 2001Trusted Source 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-trusted Source 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-trusted Source 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 Trusted Source, 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 Trusted Source 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 Trusted Source, 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.

Gotu kola is an herb in the parsley family. It is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine.

Gotu kola is used for burns, poor circulation that can lead to varicose veins (venous insufficiency), scars, stretch marks, and many other conditions but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

The Health Benefits of Gotu Kola

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a type of leafy plant traditionally used in Asian cuisines that also has a long history of use in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It is a perennial plant indigenous to the tropical wetlands of Southeast Asia, where it is a commonly used as a juice, tea, or green leafy vegetable.1 

Gotu kola is believed by alternative practitioners to have antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and memory-enhancing properties. It is widely sold as a dietary supplement in capsule, powder, tincture, and topical formulations.

Gotu kola is also known as marsh penny and Indian penny wort. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is referred to as ji xue sao and, in Ayurvedic medicine, as brahmi.

Health Benefits

Among alternative practitioners, gotu kola has attributed with many health benefits, ranging from the treatment of infections (such as the common cold, shingles, swine flu, and cholera) to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots, and even pregnancy. Others assert that gotu kola can treat or prevent anxiety, asthma, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, fatigue, indigestion, and stomach ulcers.2 When used topically, gotu kola is believed by some to help speed the healing of wounds and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

Few of these claims are supported by research, and a number have been outright debunked. Here is what some of the current clinical evidence says:

Mood and Memory

Gotu kola has long been used as an herbal tonic to treat mood disorders and enhance memory. Although research results are mixed, there is evidence of some direct and indirect benefits.

A 2017 review of studies published in Scientific Reports found little evidence that gotu kola directly improves cognition or memory, although it appeared to promote alertness and relieve anxiety within an hour of consumption.3

Despite its shortcoming, it is possible that gotu kola may indirectly affect cognition and memory. Being more alert and less fatigued will invariably improve a person working memory (i.e., short-term memory). Moreover, reduced anxiety and feeling of calmness will often translate to better concentration, memory retention, and information processing speed.

Gotu kola appears to reduce anxiety by regulating the activity of neurotransmitters known as gamma-amicability acid (GABA).2 Asiatic acid is the compound in gotu kola believed to trigger this effect.

By influencing how GABA is absorbed by the brain, asiatic acid may be able to relieve anxiety without the sedative effect of traditional GABA agonist drugs like Ambien (zolpidem) and barbiturates. It may also play a role in treating depression, insomnia, and chronic fatigue.

Blood Circulation

There is some evidence that gotu kola can improve blood circulation in people with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Venous insufficiency is a condition that occurs when the walls and/or valves in the leg veins are not working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart.

A 2013 review of studies from Malaysia concluded that older people treated with gotu kola showed significant improvement in CVI symptoms, including leg heaviness, pain, and swelling (edema).4

These effects are believed linked to chemical compounds known as triterpenes, which stimulate the production of cardiac glycosides. Cardiac glycosides are organic compounds that increase the force of the heart and increase the rate of contractions.

There is even some evidence that gotu kola may stabilize fatty plaques in blood vessels, preventing them from breaking off and causing a heart attack or stroke5.

Wound Healing

Herbalists have long used gotu kola poultices and ointments to aid in wound healing. The current body of evidence suggests that a type of triterpene, known as asiaticoside, is able to stimulate collagen production and promote the development of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) at the injury site.6

Disease Prevention

Claims that gotu kola can treat diseases from leprosy to cancer are largely exaggerated. These “cure-all” claims often shroud the actual benefits gotu kola may have in reducing disease risk.

Gotu kola is known to have potent antioxidant effects, neutralizing many of the free radicals that cause cell damage at the molecular level.2 It has been theorized that these properties may provide protection against stomach ulcers and certain cancers.

Asiatic acid, found in gotu kola, has been shown in ongoing research to induce apoptosis (spontaneous cell death) and inhibit cell growth activity in certain types of cancer cells, including liver, breast, skin, brain, and gastrointestinal tumor cells.7 Further research is looking into possible anti-cancer drug development.

Further research would be needed to substantiate these effects.

Nutritional Facts

In Southeast Asia, gotu kola is used as much for food as for medicinal purposes. A member of the parsley family, gotu kola is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain optimal health.

According to a review in the International Food Research Journal, 100 grams of fresh gotu kola delivers the following nutrients and meets the following recommended dietary intake (RDI) needs:1

Gotu kola is also a good source of dietary fiber, providing 8 percent of the RDI for women and 5 percent of the RDI for men.

Possible Side Effects

Although side effects are rare, some people taking gotu kola may experience upset stomach, headache, and drowsiness.2 Because gotu kola can increase your sensitivity to the sun, it’s important to limit your sun exposure and use sunscreen whenever outdoors.

Gotu kola is metabolized by the liver. If you have liver disease, it is best to avoid gotu kola supplements to prevent further injury or damage. Long-term use may also induce liver toxicity.8

Also, be aware that gotu kola’s calming effect may be amplified when taking sedatives or alcohol. Avoid taking gotu kola with Ambien (zolpidem), Ativan (lorazepam), Don-natal (phenobarbital), Klonopin (clonazepam), or other sedatives as this can lead to extreme drowsiness.

Due to the lack of research, gotu kola supplements should be avoided in children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.8 It is not known what other drugs gotu kola may interact with.Herbal Remedies and Liver Dama

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