Herb Reference Guide

Gotu Kola

History

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 rejuvenative herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine.

Function

Because Gotu Kola is a rejuvenative 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 dermatologic effects by helping to repair and restore health in the connective tissue that line many of the external surfaces of the body including the scalp and skin. These supportive actions include normalizing 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 normal circulation of blood.

Uses of Gotu Kola

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Gotu kola contains essential oils, tannins, and saponins (also called triterpenoids) known as asiaticoside, madecassoside, and madasiatic acid.

Parts Used

  • Whole plant: Leaf and root.

Important precautions

Gotu kola should not be used during pregnancy.

Additional Resources

Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, De Sanctis MT, et al. Effects of the total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica in venous hypertensive microangiopathy: a prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Angiology. 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S15-18.

De Sanctis MT, Belcaro G, Incandela L, et al. Treatment of edema and increased capillary filtration in venous hypertension with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica: a clinical, prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized, dose-ranging trial. Angiology. 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S55-9.

Hartog A, Smit HF, van der Kraan PM, Hoijer MA, Garssen J. In vitro and in vivo modulation of cartilage degradation by a standardized Centella asiatica fraction.Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2009 Jun;234(6):617-23.

Incandela L, Belcaro G, De Sanctis MT, et al. Total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica in the treatment of venous hypertension: a clinical, prospective, randomized trial using a combined microcirculatory model. Angiology. 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S61-7.

Joy J, Nair CK. Protection of DNA and membranes from gamma-radiation induced damages by Centella asiatica. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009 Jul;61(7):941-7.

Kartnig. Clinical Applications of Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Herbs Spices Med Plants. 1988; 3: 146-73.

Krishnamurthy RG, Senut MC, Zemke D, et al. Asiatic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene from Centella asiatica, is neuroprotective in a mouse model of focal cerebral ischemia. J Neurosci Res. 2009 Aug 15;87(11):2541-50. A2.

Nalini, et. al. Effect of Centella asiatica fresh leaf aqueous extract on learning and memory and biogenic amine turnover in albino rats. Fitoterapia. 1992; LXIII: 2332-7.

Wattanathorn J, Mator L, Muchimapura S, et al. Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Mar 5;116(2):325-32.

Photo by Forest & Kim Starr.