Gotu Kola has been used for thousands of years, but science is only starting to prove its amazing benefits on our mental clarity and memory, our veins, and circulation and its amazing benefits at healing the skin.
There is an old saying that 1 leaf a day will give you 25 years, 2 leaves a day will give you 50, and 3 leaves a day will make you ageless. And so it is named the ‘Miracle Elixir of Life’ in China for good reason, as you will find out as we learn more about this popular herb.
Botanical Name: Centella asiatica
Common Name: Gotu Kola, Brahmi (not to be confused with bacopa monneieri) Indian Pennywort, Mandukparni
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Geographical: Gotu Kola is native to swampy areas in India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, South Africa, Indonesia, and the South Pacific. Although growing conditions are listed as swampy, some say it actually does best in areas with good drainage with frequent watering. It may easily rot and disappear with an overly wet environment.(1) I have grown this as a houseplant with much success in Utah where putting it outside would not be ideal.
Taste: Slightly Bitter, somewhat salty, and sweet
Emotionally: We can give Gotu Kola to that person with a scattered mind that can’t seem to be still, but also we can give it to that person who has a cloudy mind that can’t think too many thoughts at one time. It may also be a helpful ally when there has been trauma of any kind.
Energetically: Cooling, in the way it can move heat up & out of the body. Astringent, lightly drying
Constituents: The main triterpenes found in C. asiatica, also known as centelloids, are asiatic acid, asiaticoside, madecassoside or brahminoside, and madecassic acid or brahmic acid to name a few
Actions: Nervine, Tonic, Astringent, Alterative, Nootropic, bitter, vulnerary, neuroprotective, anxiolytic, venous tonic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, adaptogen
Gotu Kola and Connective Tissue/ Venous Structure:
Gotu Kola works on connective tissue by strengthening the weakened veins. We know that the connective tissues and the blood vessels directly influence each other, and Gotu Kola is known to strengthen and tone the blood vessels and veins by reducing swelling and inflammation. It increases elasticity as well as stimulates the production of collagen and elastin which are needed to maintain a healthy venous structure. This is especially important in areas of lax venous structure such as varicose veins.
Gotu Kola and Skin Regeneration:
Gotu Kola has been widely used for skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, cuts, scrapes, and other types of wounds.
Some of the constituents such as asiatic acid and the madecassic acid are known to help collagen 1 synthesis which can reduce scarring. These same constituents are inflammation-modulating which makes it helpful for deep tissue regeneration.
Some of the constituents (flavonoids, AA, MA) in C.asiatica are known to help increase circulation as well as increase the rate of keratinization, which makes the skin thicker and will help strengthen the skin. This is important because as we age our skin becomes thinner and can sag, which makes Gotu Kola a wonderful anti-aging herb.
In one study they found that when C.asiatica was applied to 2nd degree burns not only did it reduce the size of the burn but it also decreased pain in the area.
Other skin disorders that have been studied using Gotu Kola:
Gotu Kola and the Brain/Nervous System:
Gotu Kola is considered a nootropic, it's not too stimulating or sedative but rather increases memory, cognition, and clarity. It does this by creating peripheral circulation to the brain (and to the extremities) This stimulation of cerebral activity enhances focus and attention making it a great herb to reach for if you need help with stilling the mind during meditation, or if you have a lot of work to do that requires all your focus and attention. It could also help in children who have issues with paying attention (what society calls ADD or ADHD)
Because of its ability to increase blood supply, it protects against free radicals and increases antioxidant levels which can play an important role in neurodegenerative diseases.
One small study had a limited sample size of 6 individuals, ages 65 and above, with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Subjects used 1000mg/day of Centella powder over a 6-month period and experienced an improvement in mental well-being, sleep quality, and reductions in depression. (“Integrative Herbalism”)
Gotu Kola has a large effect on the nervous system, it is the primary application used by most herbalists. Gotu Kola works on the neurotransmitter GABA which plays a part in boosting your mood. Gotu Kola can elevate the GABA which helps with nervous system complaints such as anxiety and insomnia.
It is known to help tonify and restore the nervous system even after prolonged amounts of stress, trauma, or lack of sleep. This makes it a helpful herb in many degenerative nerve conditions such as Lyme Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.
As we will talk about in the following paragraphs, it also plays a part in our reduction of plaque accumulation, such as amyloid plaques along with the circulation and nervous system effects. This may be a useful therapy for Alzheimer's Disease as well.
Gotu Kola and the Gut:
Gotu Kola is traditionally used in Ayurveda for digestive issues such as colitis, Crohn’s, ulceration, leaky gut, and heartburn. We talked about it healing wounds externally, now imagine how it can heal internally especially in this area due to its mildly bitter, nervine, astringent, and anti-inflammatory actions it can have a strong affinity to bring balance back to the digestive tract from the mouth all the way to the colon.
Gotu Kola and the Kidneys,
Gotu Kola is also a great support to the Bladder and Urinary Tract, this is due to its astringency and vulnerary effects it can be helpful in reducing inflammation and tightening and toning especially in cases such as UTI or Interstitial cystitis.
Gotu Kola and Circulation
As an adaptogen, it helps the activity of the adrenal glands and the adrenal glands help regulate hormones and in turn, hormones regulate electrolyte balance therefore it can also help regulate blood pressure.
There is some new clinical research on the effects of Gotu Kola and its benefits on plaque accumulation which is a symptom of atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. This may also come from the fact that Gotu Kola modulates collagen growth and increases peripheral circulation.
Try not to take it too late in the evening as it may cause restlessness, but it may also increase dream clarity.
Tincture 40-60 Drops TID (alcohol soluble)
Tea: 1-3 ounces herb per 8 oz (you really feel its effects in high doses, careful to not overheat.)
Oil: one part herb to 4 parts oil
Contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to emmenagogue and astringent drying effects. Be aware of taking along with any antihypertensive, statins,NSAIDS, and blood thinning medications. (Check with your practitioner for best uses, if you are using any medications.)
Connective Tissue formula:
2 Parts Comfrey
2 Parts Horsetail
2 Parts Gotu Kola
1 Part Marshmallow
1 Part Nettle
2 Parts Gotu Kola
2 Parts Ginkgo
2 Parts Lion's Mane
1 Part Brahmi
1 Part Rosemary
Varicose Vein Oil:
1 Part Gotu Kola
1 Part Horse Chestnut
1 Part White Oak Bark
Although I am an Herbalist and an Iridologist I am not a Doctor. This information is only intended to empower you with knowledge. It is not meant to treat, cure or diagnose any disease.
“Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) potted plant, organic.” Strictly Medicinal Seeds, https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/product/gotu-kola-hydrocotyl-asiatica-potted-plant-organic/. Accessed 12 June 2023.
“Integrative Herbalism.” Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, https://vtherbcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Journal2014.pdf. Accessed 22 June 2023.
Park, Kyoung Sik. “Pharmacological Effects of Centella asiatica on Skin Diseases: Evidence and Possible Mechanisms.” NCBI, 20 November 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8627341/. Accessed 22 June 2023.
Soumyanath, Amala. “Ancient Healing Herb Improves Alzheimer's Symptoms.” OHSU News, 29 November 2005, https://news.ohsu.edu/2005/11/29/ancient-healing-herb-improves-alzheimer-s-symptoms. Accessed 23 June 2023.
Veller, M. “Modification of the echogenicity of femoral plaques after treatment with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11666127/. Accessed 23 June 2023.