Gotu Kola

What other names is Gotu Kola known by?

Brahma-Buti, Brahma-Manduki, Centellase, Centella asiatica, Centella Asiática, Centella Asiatique, Centella coriacea, Divya, Gota Kola, Hydrocotyle asiatica, Hydrocotyle Asiatique, Hydrocotyle Indien, Indischer Wassernabel, Indian Pennywort, Indian Water Navelwort, Ji Xue Cao, Khulakhudi, Luei Gong Gen, Luo De Da, Madecassol, Mandukaparni, Manduk Parani, Mandukig, Marsh Penny, TTFCA, Talepetrako, Thick-Leaved Pennywort, Tsubo-kusa, Tungchian, White Rot.

What is Gotu Kola?

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.

Is Gotu Kola effective?

There is some scientific evidence that gotu kola might be effective when taken varicose veins.

When applied to the skin, gotu kola might also be helpful for improving wound healing and a skin condition called psoriasis.

There isn't enough information to know if gotu kola is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: fatigue, the common cold and flu, sunstroke, tonsillitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), hepatitis, jaundice, diarrhea, indigestion, and many other conditions.

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.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • 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.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anxiety.
  • Common cold and flu.
  • Sunstroke.
  • Tonsillitis.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Hepatitis.
  • Jaundice.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Indigestion.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gotu kola for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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