Generic Name: gotu kola
Other Names: brahmabuti, Centella asiatica, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort, Indian water navelwort, madescassol, marsh penny, talepetrako, thick-leaved pennywort, white rot
Drug Class: Herbals
What is gotu kola, and what is it used for?
Gotu kola is a medicinal herb, Centella asiatica, that grows in East Asia and Africa. Gotu kola has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine systems to treat circulatory conditions, wound healing, abdominal disorders, and memory enhancement.
Fresh gotu kola leaves are added to food, dried leaves are brewed as tea and extracts are available over the counter (OTC) for oral and topical use.
Preclinical studies indicate that gotu kola may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiarthritic, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and wound healing properties. Some small studies suggest gotu kola may improve cognitive function and mood in the elderly and alleviate anxiety. Therapeutic effects of this medicinal herb appear promising, however, it requires large, well-controlled studies to confirm these effects.
The therapeutic effects of gotu kola are believed to be from its primary active compounds saponins, also known as triterpenoids, including asiaticosides, madecassoside, and madasiatic acid. Asiaticosides appear to have anti-inflammatory activity and may stimulate the synthesis of collagen and glycosaminoglycan, and new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) required for wound healing. Gotu kola’s effect on the connective tissue can strengthen weak veins and its neuroprotective effects may improve symptoms in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Suggested uses of gotu kola include:
- Wound healing
- Thick raised scarring (hypertrophic scarring)
- Psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disorder
- Do not take gotu kola if you are hypersensitive to any of its components.
- Do not use gotu kola concurrently with other sedative medications.
- Avoid gotu kola if you have high blood fat levels (hyperlipidemia) or diabetes mellitus.
What are the side effects of gotu kola?
Common side effects of gotu kola include:
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of gotu kola?
There is insufficient scientific information on what might be an appropriate dose for gotu kola.
- 60 mg orally two to three times daily
- 600 mg orally three times daily
- 1 cup orally three times daily; 600 mg dried leaves/150 ml water
- Apply 1% cream daily
- Gotu kola overdose can cause headaches and transient unconsciousness.
- Symptoms should resolve with discontinuation of gotu kola. If symptoms persist, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
What drugs interact with gotu kola?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Gotu kola has no known severe or serious interactions with other drugs.
- Gotu kola has moderate interactions with at least 28 different drugs.
- Gotu kola has mild interactions with at least 25 different drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
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Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Topical application of gotu kola may be safe during pregnancy. Chronic use of oral gotu kola may prevent pregnancy by causing spontaneous abortion. No information is available on the safety of gotu kola use during pregnancy, avoid use.
- There is little or no information on gotu kola use by nursing mothers. Avoid oral gotu kola if you are breastfeeding, and if you use topical application, avoid applying around the breast region.
- Avoid using any herbal product including gotu kola if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, without checking first with your healthcare provider.
What else should I know about gotu kola?
- Gotu kola is possibly safe for most adults when taken orally in recommended doses or used for topical application.
- Check with your healthcare provider before using any supplement, including gotu kola.
- Use gotu kola exactly as per label instructions.
- Herbal products often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the gotu kola product you choose.
- Gotu kola is marketed as an herbal supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
- Store safely out of reach of children.
- In case of overdose, report to Poison Control.
Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022