Gotu Kola (Pennywort or Centella asiatica) is known for increasing blood vessel, collagen growth, and preventing swelling while also possessing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Read on to learn about the benefits and potential side effects of Gotu Kola.
What is the Gotu Kola Plant?
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) is one of the herbs used in a Tai-Chi tradition for longevity.
The plant itself can soak up heavy metals from the soil. As such, ensuring the source you are consuming is organic, or at least doesn’t contain dangerous heavy metals, is important. Copper accumulates in its roots; manganese and lead accumulate in the leaves .
Not only does Gotu Kola increase the potency of THC, caffeine, and sex hormones, it lowers inflammation, improves long-term memory, and improves healing.
Gotu Kola Constituents
- centellasaponins A, B, C, and D
- madecassoside (brahminoside)
- asiaticoside A, B, C, D, E, and F
- sceffoleoside A
- asiatic acid
- madecassic acid (brahmic acid)
- isothankunic acid
- germacrene B/D
Health Benefits of Gotu Kola
1) May Prevents Hair Loss
Gotu Kola increased hair growth in six rats, increasing the number of hairs per area and the length of each hair. Although, it’s even better when combined with Aloe Vera, Eclipta alba (false daisy), Ocimum sanctum (holy basil), and Emblica officinalis (Amla) .
2) Protects Blood Vessels
The terpenes in Gotu Kola increase collagen production, leading to lower blood pressure and help with swelling (edema) .
This was also found in a placebo-controlled study .
3) Improves Psoriasis
Gotu Kola can inhibit skin cell reproduction. While it is a treatment for psoriasis, it is not as strong as the standard drug used (psoralen) .
4) Improves Stomach Ulcers
5) May Heal Wounds and Cellulite
Asiaticasoide, found in Gotu Kola, increased skin strength and skin collagen to better heal wounds in pigs and rats .
Asiatic acid, also in Gotu Kola, increased collagen production, further benefiting the healing of wounds .
Further, Gotu Kola has been used for stretch marks, raised scars, inflammation (phlebitis and cellulite), and leprosy .
6) May Reduce Anxiety
7) Increases cAMP Response (CREB)
The Gotu Kola leaf increased the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) .
8) May Reduce Inflammation
Thus, it prevented going into shock from infection and increased clotting, which is useful for infected cuts .
9) May Prevent Free Radical Damage
The phenols in Gotu Kola provide antioxidant and anti-tumor benefits in mouse cells .
10) Increases Serotonin and Dopamine and Lowers Cortisol
In rats, Gotu Kola lowered their version of cortisol (corticosterone) and increased serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine .
Lower cortisol improves long-term memory and lowers aggression .
It may also be useful for sleep disorders .
11) May Prevent Thrombosis
12) Kills Cancer and Slows Tumor Growth
Known as an antiproliferative, Gotu Kola slowed the growth of some types of human tumor cells .
13) May Inhibit Herpes
14) May Improve Alzheimer’s Disease
Gotu Kola prevented nerve cell death in test tube models of Alzheimer’s by reducing the negative effects of amyloid beta .
15) May Help Mood Disorders Such as Depression
Gotu Kola also lowered signs of despair in rats .
Notes on Supplementing with Gotu Kola
A lot of people take around 1,000 mg of Gotu Kola per day in capsules. Gotu Kola tea is another method and people have 1-5 cups over the day with about 1 g per cup.
Gotu Kola extract dosed at 300 mg per day for 21 days in humans found no side effects .
However, some people have associated skin itching or burning from topical Gotu Kola, or low blood pressure, headache, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness with too much Gotu Kola tea.
Gotu Kola inhibits CYP2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4. All three enzymes are involved in drug metabolism, therefore the use of Gotu Kola can increase the potency and effect duration of many drugs .
CYP2C9 inhibition decreases the metabolism and increases the effects of ibuprofen, THC, ketamine, and others .
CYP2D6 inhibition decreases the metabolism and increases the effects of opioids, antipsychotics, beta-blockers, amphetamines, and others .
CYP3A4 inhibition decreases the metabolism and increases the effects of sex hormones, benzodiazepines, statins, chemotherapy, caffeine, cocaine, and others .