Centella asiatica (GOTU KOLA) Overview Information
Gotu kola is an herb that is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine.
Gotu kola is used to treat bacterial, viral, or parastitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, H1N1 (swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.
Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs.
Some people use gotu kola for sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis), jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, asthma, “tired blood” (anemia), diabetes, and for helping them live longer.
Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire.
Gotu kola is sometimes applied to the skin for wound healing and reducing scars, includiung stretch marks caused by pregnancy.
How does it work?
Gotu kola contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and also decrease blood pressure in veins. Gotu kola also seems to increase collagen production, which is important for wound healing.
Possibly Effective for:
- Decreased return of blood from the feet and legs back to the heart (venous insufficiency). Taking gotu kola or a specific extract of gotu kola (Centellase) by mouth for 4-8 weeks seems to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in people with poor blood circulation in the legs.
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). People with atherosclerosis have fatty deposits called plagues along the lining of their blood vessels. There is some evidence that taking gotu kola for 12 months might help stabilize these plaques so they are less likely to break off and trigger clot formation, causing a heart attack or stroke.
- Mental function. Early research suggests that taking a combination of gotu kola, ginkgo, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 4 months does not improve mental function in healthy elderly adults.
- Preventing blood clots in the legs while flying. Gotu kola might help prevent blood clots related to long plane flights. Developing evidence suggests that gotu kola might decrease fluid and improve blood circulation in people traveling on airplanes for more than 3 hours. However, it is not known if this finding translates into fewer blood clots.
- Increasing circulation in people with diabetes. Taking gotu kola for 6-12 months might help increase circulation and decrease fluid retention in people with diabetes whose small blood vessels have been damaged by their disease.
- Poor brain function related to liver disease. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing gotu kola, brahmi, ginkgo, cat’s claw, and rosemary (CognoBlend) twice daily for 5 weeks, in addition to standard therapy, improves symptoms in people with poor brain function related to liver disease better than standard therapy.
- Excess scar tissue (keloids). There is some evidence that applying and extract of gotu kola known as madecassol to the skin might help reduce excess scar tissue.
- Red, scaly skin (psoriasis). Some evidence suggests that applying gotu kola on the skin might help reduce symptoms of psoriasis.
- Scarring. Early research suggests that applying a specific gotu kola cream (Alpha centella, not available in the U.S.) to the skin twice daily for 6-8 weeks after the removal of stitches might help reduce scarring.
- Schistosomiasis. There is some evidence that gotu kola injected by a healthcare provider might help bladder wounds caused by a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis.
- Stretch marks associated with pregnancy. Early research suggests that applying a specific mixture of gotu kola, vitamin E, and a collagen compound in a cream (Trofolastin, not available in the U.S.) daily during the last 6 months of pregnancy might reduce stretch marks. There is also some evidence that another specific mixture of gotu kola, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, elastin, and menthol in an ointment (Verum, not available in the U.S.) might help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
- Wound healing. Some evidence suggests that applying gotu kola on the skin might help improve wound healing.
- Common cold and flu.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Other conditions.
Centella asiatica (GOTU KOLA) Side Effects & Safety
Gotu kola is POSSIBLY SAFE in pregnant women when applied to the skin. However, not enough is known about the safety of taking gotu kola by mouth during pregnancy. Avoid taking gotu kola by mouth if you are pregnant. There also is not enough reliable information about the safety of using gotu kola during breast-feeding. Avoid using any form of gotu kola if you are nursing.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Gotu kola is POSSIBLY SAFE in pregnant women when applied to the skin. But don’t take it by mouth. Not enough is known about the safety of taking gotu kola orally. There also isn’t enough known about the safety of using gotu kola during breast-feeding. Avoid using it if you are nursing.
Liver disease: There is concern that gotu kola might cause liver damage. People who already have a liver disease such as hepatitis should avoid using gotu kola. It might make liver problems worse.
Surgery: Gotu kola might cause too much sleepiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop using gotu kola at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Major Interaction Do not take this combination
- Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with GOTU KOLA
Large amounts of gotu kola might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking gotu kola along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs) interacts with GOTU KOLA
Gotu kola might harm the liver. Taking gotu kola along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage.
Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.
Centella asiatica (GOTU KOLA) Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For blood circulation problems in the legs (venous insufficiency): 60-180 mg daily of gotu kola extract.