9 Benefits Of Gotu Kola, How To Consume It, And Side Effects

A traditional herbal remedy from Asia that can help your brain work more efficiently.

Medically reviewed by Julie Freeman, RDN, LDN, RYT Julie Freeman Julie FreemanRDN, LDN, RYT facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Experience: 6 years

Gotu kola benefits are majorly associated with the treatment of various brain ailments. It was also used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost brainpower and was popular even in traditional Indonesian medicine and Ayurveda. Read further to understand what established research states about Gotu kola, its benefits, and possible side effects.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Gotu Kola

What Is It?
A perennial herb used in traditional medicine also known as Centella Asiatica.

What Are Its Benefits?
Improves brain function, may aid Alzheimer’s treatment, reduces high blood pressure, and promotes wound healing.

Who Can Use It?
Everyone except pregnant and breastfeeding women. Topically suitable for all skin and hair types.

How Often?
60 to 500 mg per day.

It may aggravate existing liver conditions, cause allergies, and interact with sedatives and increase their effect.

What Is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola is an herb native to the wetlands in Asia. It is scientifically called Centella asiatica and finds its use both as a culinary vegetable and a medicinal herb.

Gotu kola grows in temperate and tropical swampy regions across the world. Studies show this herb can soak up heavy metals from the soil (1). Hence,we recommend you go for organic versions of the herb to avoid the harmful effects of dangerous heavy metals.

protip_icon Trivia
Gotu kola goes by many names, like Indian pennywort, marsh penny, kondavan, centella, and ji xue sao.

Gotu kola might be the wonder food you are looking for – due to its benefits.

How Can Gotu Kola Benefit You?

1. Boosts Cognitive Function

Gotu kola boosts cognitive function
Image: Shutterstock

Studies using higher doses of gotu kola found the herb to improve the cognitive function of the subjects involved (2). In other animal models, the herb was found to boost learning performance and memory retention. These effects can be attributed to several active ingredients in the herb, the most important of which are pentacyclic triterpenes.

Another study tells us that gotu kola can improve cognitive function that takes a hit following a stroke (3). Interestingly, gotu kola fared far better than folic acid that was used in the study for similar purposes. Of course, the dosage of the herb used was far greater in this case.

The herb also activates certain antioxidant response genes that can further enhance one’s cognitive ability (4). This can also be linked to gotu kola’s ability to reduce oxidative stress.

2. May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

Gotu kola has ayurvedic properties and is identified as one of the few medicines in Ayurveda that helps in rejuvenating the nerves and brain cells. It is believed to increase intelligence, memory, and longevity. Its derivatives decreased the concentrations of free radicals and the associated cell death (5).

Gotu kola extracts can also improve behavioral deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease (6). These extracts may also restore neural cells as the studies indicate. The herb achieves this by correcting mitochondrial dysfunction, which contributes to neurodegeneration and other related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia (7).

Gotu kola also helps reduce amyloid beta levels in the blood (8). These are compounds crucially involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

3. May Treat Anxiety And Depression

Gotu kola may help treat anxiety
Image: Shutterstock

When 33 individuals diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder were withheld from antidepressant medication and given gotu kola tablets instead, they showed improvement. Scores for stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of attention had dramatically decreased after 60 days of treatment (9).

The herb was also found to have effects similar to commercial antidepressants like imipramine and diazepam, though at a lower level (9).

Preliminary findings also suggest that gotu kola may have anxiolytic effects in humans (10).

Gotu kola can also increase the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters (like serotonin), potentially boosting feelings of happiness (11). This can help combat depression.

4. May Regulate Blood Pressure

Studies show that gotu kola can be effective in treating venous hypertension (high pressure in the veins of the legs) (12). The herb was found to improve microcirculation and leg volume in patients.

There isn’t much information about how this may contribute to general hypertension. Consult your doctor before using gotu kola for this purpose.

5. Treats Stomach Ulcers

Gotu kola can strengthen the gastric mucosal barrier and reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. This can help treat stomach ulcers (11). The antiulcer effects of the herb were found to be comparable with prescription drugs like famotidine and sodium valproate.

In another study, gotu kola extract displayed gastroprotective effects against gastric mucosal injury (13).This shows the ability of the herb to protect the gastric barrier, which again supports using Gotu kola for treating stomach ulcers.

6. May Help Reduce Stretch Marks

Gotu kola helps reduce stretch marks
Image: Shutterstock

Studies show that gotu kola can be effective in treating postoperative scars (14). Saponins, specific compounds in the herb, can be held responsible for this activity.

Gotu kola also helps improve skin health and appearence, it has a tightening and firming action on the skin. This characteristic can help reduce stretch marks (15).

Gotu kola preparations were found to decrease stretch marks women usually develop post pregnancy. In a placebo-controlled study involving 100 women, application of a cream with gotu kola as the main ingredient led to fewer women developing stretch marks (11).

7. Can Accelerate Wound Healing

Extracts of gotu kola can facilitate wound healing in both incision and burn wounds. A 1% gotu kola extract cream was found to improve wound healing of chronic ulcers, in terms of their width, depth, and length (16).

These wound-healing properties of the herb can be attributed to the phyto-constituents it contains. While the herb increased the wound breaking strength in an incision wound model, asiaticoside isolated from the herb had increased collagen content in a punch wound model (16).

Wound dressings containing gotu kola were found to have healing effects on multiple types of wounds (17).

8. Might Support Liver Health

Gotu kola might be useful in preventing liver damage. It achieves this by increasing the concentrations of antioxidant enzymes and reducing the levels of inflammatory mediators (18).

We suggest exercising caution as another report states that gotu kola may have liver damaging effects (19).

9. Might Promote Weight Loss

Gotu kola may aid in weight loss
Image: Shutterstock

There is very little information on this. But there is one study that shows that a topical lotion (with gotu kola as one of the ingredients) helped reduce thigh circumference and thigh fat mass in sedentary women, when combined with a walking program and a restricted caloric intake (20).

Other than the the above report, there is insufficient information. Hence, we suggest talking to your doctor before using the herb for this purpose.

With the benefits stated, you may want to make use of this herb right away. But hold on – how do you use it? Where can you procure it from?

How To Consume Gotu Kola

You can either use gotu kola capsules or tonic (liquid extract) – you can purchase them from your local health store or online. However, be sure to use 3rd party testing companies that are the “watch-dogs” for quality vs inferior supplements.

A blogger shared how they made tea by brewing gingko and gotu kola together: “Boil water separately, pour over the herbs, cover, and let them steep for as long as desired. I steeped for 15 minutes, and I liked the taste (i).”

It is important you speak to your doctor before using this herb. When it comes to dosage and how to use it, do as directed by your healthcare provider.

protip_icon Trivia
Gotu kola is commonly used in salads in many South Asian (Burmese and Indonesian) cuisines. Gotu kola sambol (a coconut-based salad) is popularly consumed in Sri Lanka.

You can also consume gotu kola by incorporating it into your diet. Scroll down to learn a delicious recipe you can try.

Gotu Kola Recipe

1. Gotu Kola Salad


  • 2 cups of fresh gotu kola leaves
  • 1 thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 julienned carrot
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

How To Prepare

1. In a large bowl, combine the gotu kola leaves, cucumber, carrot, red onion, and roasted peanuts.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, rice vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss the ingredients gently to coat them properly.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

But before you proceed, you must also be aware of the possible adverse effects of the herb.

Does Gotu Kola Have Any Side Effects?

Gotu kola may cause side effects like itchiness
Image: Shutterstock
  • Possible Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

The herb is safe to be used topically. But there is not much information available about its oral intake. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t consume gotu kola.

  • Liver Issues

We have already discussed this in the earlier section. People with liver disease should stay away from gotu kola. More importantly, they must consult their doctor.

  • Possible Issues During Surgery

Gotu kola may cause excessive sleepiness if combined with those medications usually used during or after surgery. Avoid using the herb at least two weeks prior to scheduled surgery.

  • Other Allergies

Gotu kola may cause allergies in some individuals. The symptoms include hives, itchiness, skin redness, difficulty in breathing, swollen lips, tongue, face, or throat. Stop use immediately if you notice any of these signs.

  • Possible Medical Interactions

Gotu kola may interfere with the following medications:

  • Sedatives like Klonopin, Ativan, Ambien, etc.
  • Medications that may harm the liver, including Tylenol, Aldomet, Cordarone, Zocor, Dilantin, etc.

Infographic: 5 Ways Gotu Kola May Improve Your Health

Gotu kola has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to improve brain function and overall brain health, making it a great addition to your diet. It potentially supports cognitive clarity and reduces anxiety. Check out the infographic below to learn more about how this ancient herb may improve your overall health and well-being.

5 ways gotu kola may improve your health (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Gotu kola is a plant native to Asia and is both a culinary vegetable and a medicinal herb. The herb contains many beneficial compounds that promote good health. Gotu kola is an adaptogen and thus benefits your mental health as an antidepressant and an aid to anxiety relief. Furthermore, it may enhance overall cognitive performance and relieve Alzheimer’s symptoms. It may also reduce stretch marks and accelerate wound healing. You can take it whole or in the form of capsules or liquid extracts. However, organic varieties are preferred due to concerns about heavy metal contamination. Hence, speak to your doctor before considering this supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gotu kola a stimulant?

No, it is not. It is often confused with kola nut, the fruit of the kola tree (native to tropical rain forests of Africa) that contains caffeine and works as a stimulant.

Is gotu kola good for the heart?

Some evidence suggests that gotu kola can improve blood circulation. However, more research is needed to establish a link between gotu kola consumption and heart health.

Does gotu kola increase energy?

Gotu kola doesn’t have stimulant properties and may not boost energy levels upon consumption.

Does gotu kola exhibit anti-inflammatory properties?

Yes, gotu kola exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, its topical application can help reduce inflammation, itching and dry skin (21).

Key Takeaways

  • Gotu Kota, known as Indian pennywort, has been used for ages in traditional Asian medicine.
  • Studies show the herb is beneficial in rejuvenating nerve and brain cells in stroke and Alzheimer patients.
  • The herb has antidepressant activity and increases the neurotransmitters that boost happiness.
  • It has a wound healing property that may help treat ulcers and reduce stretch marks.
  • Consult a practitioner before consumption, as it may interact with existing medication, liver diseases, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.
gotu kola benefits

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Gotu Kola is a powerful herb with amazing health benefits. Learn about 12 ways how you can improve your health with this ingredient from this video!

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Evaluation of the phytoremediation…” ResearchGate.
  2. Effects of Centella asiatica” Nature Journal.
  3. Effectiveness of gotu kola extract…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Centella asiatica modulates antioxidant and…” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Ayurvedic medicinal plants for Alzheimer’s…” Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Centella asiatica extract improves…” International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  7. Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of dementia…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Centella asiatica extract selectively decreases…” Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine.
  9. Recent updates in neuroprotective and…” The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine.
  10. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on…” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.
  11. Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine.
  12. Microcirculatory effects of total…” Angiology, US National Library of Medicine.
  13. Centella asiatica leaf extract…” Journal of Medicinal Food, US National Library of Medicine.
  14. Centella asiatica in cosmetology” Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, US National Library of Medicine.
  15. Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  16. Wound healing activities of…” BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  17. Mechanical properties and in vivo healing…” ScienceDirect.
  18. Protective effects of Centella asiatica leaf…” Molecular Medicine Reports, US National Library of Medicine.
  19. Drug-induced liver toxicity and prevention by…” Frontiers in Physiology, US National Library of Medicine.
  20. Effects of a topical lotion containing…” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine.
  21. Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Titrated Extract of Centella asiatica in Phthalic Anhydride-Induced Allergic Dermatitis Animal Model
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Julie Freeman

Julie FreemanMA, RDN, LDN, RYT

Julie Freeman is a licensed integrative nutritionist with graduate education in psychology, counseling and education. Her post-graduate certifications include functional medicine, yoga, and mind-body medicine. She works closely with other health professionals to support personal transformation. She has over 35 years’ experience in the field of nutrition, counseling, health promotion and corporate wellness.   She is passionate about clean living...read full bio

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