Gotu Kola: Information, Benefits and Side Effects
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is an important substance central to the ancient Hindu tradition of healing, known as Ayurveda. Cultures in India, China, and Indonesia used it for many different ailments. People ingested gotu kola and applied it topically for medicinal purposes and to enhance the experience of meditation in yoga.
This creeping perennial with fan-shaped leaves grows around the world in hot climates. Its popularity as a use for skin health in Asia spread to Europe at the end of the 1800s. Gotu kola is also believed to assist in building collagen. These qualities contribute to its use for healing skin burns and wounds and for varicose veins.
Gotu kola was also used for centuries in China to improve mental function, and is today a popular supplement for that purpose, despite the fact the majority of clinical data has been derived from animal experiments.
One recent study on elderly participants concluded…
“…the present findings suggest the potential of Centella asiatica to attenuate the age-related decline in cognitive function and mood disorder in the healthy elderly. However, the precise mechanism(s) underlying these effects still require further investigation.”
In Sri Lanka, elephants enjoyed consuming its leaves and thus gave the plant a reputation for enhancing longevity.
Herbalists recommend it today for arthritis and other conditions that involve tissue swelling. People have used the leaves and stems of this tasteless, odorless plant. Its reputation for healing skin has not been verified in clinical studies.
There is more evidence that due to its calming effects, gotu kola may help people who experience anxiety. This study, published in the December 2000 Journal of Psychopharmacology, concluded…
“These preliminary findings suggest that Gotu Kola has anxiolytic activity in humans…”
Other studies on gotu kola and its effects are somewhat limited.
You can buy gotu kola in pill form, ointment, liquid, or tea leaves. It is often combined with other cognition-enhancing ingredients in a “memory-boosting” formula.
One quality memory-boosting product to consider is Xtend-Life’s Neuro-Natural Memory, which contains gotu kola in its formula.
Taking gotu kola for longer than six weeks is not recommended. Anyone wishing to use it for the long term should take a two-week break after ingesting it for six weeks.