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Gotu Kola

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What other names is Gotu Kola known by?

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

What is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola is an herb in the parsley family. It 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 parasitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, the flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.

Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, to stabilize plaques in blood vessels, to prevent blood clots in the legs, and to prevent the damage of small blood vessels in people with diabetes (diabetic microangiopathy).

Some people use gotu kola for wound healing, trauma, sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis), jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, swelling in the lining of the stomach (gastritis), epilepsy, asthma, "tired blood" (anemia), 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 psoriasis, wound healing and reducing scars, including 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 plaques 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, which can cause 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 from occurring during long plane flights. Early research shows that gotu kola might decrease fluid retention 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.
  • Excess scar tissue (keloids). There is some evidence that applying an extract of gotu kola known as Madecassol to the skin might help reduce excess scar tissue.
  • 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 shows that applying a specific cream containing gotu kola, vitamin E, and a collagen compound (Trofolastin, not available in the U.S.) daily during the last 6 months of pregnancy reduces stretch marks. There is also some evidence that an ointment containing gotu kola, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, elastin, and menthol (Verum, not available in the U.S.) might help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Other early research shows that applying a formula containing hydroxyprolisilane C, rosehip oil, gotu kola triterpenes, and vitamin E (Velastisa Antiestrías, ISDIN) during pregnancy reduces the number and severity of old and new stretch marks. Since all of the tested products contained multiple ingredients, it is not clear if the effects on stretch marks are due to gotu kola or other ingredients.
  • Wound healing. Early evidence shows that applying gotu kola on the skin helps improve wound healing.
  • Anxiety.
  • Common cold and flu.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Indigestion.
  • Jaundice.
  • Sunstroke.
  • Tonsillitis.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • 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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