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Herb Information
Name: Gotu Kola
Biological Name: Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica


Other Names: Gotu Kola, Brahmi, Chi-hsueh Ts'ao, man t'ien hsing, Indian Pennywort, Brahma-manduki
Parts Used: The entire plant is used medicinally.
Active Compounds:  

The primary active constituent is triterpenoid compounds. Saponins (also called triterpenoids) known as asiaticoside, madecassoside, and madasiatic acid are the primary active constituents. These saponins beneficially affect collagen (the material that makes up connective tissue), for example, inhibiting its production in hyperactive scar tissue. 

Also contains a green, strongly volatile oil composed of an unidentified terpene acetate, camphor, cineole, and other essential oils. Cintella oil also contains glycerides of fatty acids, various plant sterols such as campesterol, stigmasterol, and sitosterol, and various polyacetylene compounds.


Gotu Kola is a perennial plant native to India and other tropical countries. Its appearance changes, depending on growing conditions. In shallow water, the plant puts forth floating roots and the leaves rest on top of the water. In dry locations, it puts out numerous small roots and the leaves are small and thin. Typically, the constantly growing roots gives rise to reddish stolons. The leaves can reach a width of 1 inch and a length of 6 inches. Usually 3 to 6 red flowers arise in a sessile manner or on very short pedicels in auxiliary umbels. The fruit, formed throughout the growing season, is approximately 2 inches long with 7 to 9 ribs and a curved, strongly thickened pericarp.


Gotu Kola has been used as a medicine in the Ayurvedic tradition of India for thousands of years. It is listed in the historic Susruta Samhita, an ancient Indian medical text. The herb is also used by the people of Java and other Indonesian islands. In China, gotu kola is one of the reported "miracle elixirs of life". This was attributed to a healer named LiChing Yun who, legends say, lived 256 years by taking a tea brewed from gotu kola and other herbs. Gotu Kola is prominently mentioned in the Shennong Herbal compiled in China over 2000 years ago. In the nineteenth century, Gotu Kola and its extracts were incorporated into the Indian pharmacopeia, wherein addition to being recommended for wound healing, it was recommended in the treatment of skin conditions such as leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, and psoriasis. It was also used to treat diarrhea, fever, amenorrhea, and diseases of the female genitourinary tract. Gotu Kola was first accepted as a drug in France in the 1880's.

Remedies For

Alterative, diuretic, febrifuge, nervine, rejuvenative

Useful for:

Bowel disorders
Chronic venous insufficiency
Hair loss
Immune system strengthening (cleansing and nourishing)
Mental function
Minor burns
Nervous disorders
Skin ulcers
Varicose veins
venereal diseases
Wound healing

Gotu Kola is a rejuvenative nervine recommended for nervous disorders, including epilepsy, senility, and premature aging. As a brain tonic, it is said to aid intelligence and memory. It strengthens the adrenal glands while cleansing the blood to treat skin impurities. It is used as an aid for meditation that is said to balance the two sides of the brain. It is particularly helpful for super-stressed persons. Gotu Kola is considered "food for the brain". It is said to combat stress and depression, energize flagging mental powers, fight sterility, ward off a nervous breakdown, and improve reflexes.

Gotu Kola stimulates the central nervous system, rebuilds energy reserves, relieves high blood pressure, and helps the body defend against various toxins. It is used to treat rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, hepatitis, and high blood pressure. It is a mild diuretic that can help shrink swollen membranes and aid in the elimination of excess fluids. It hastens the healing of wounds.

Gotu kola has a positive effect on the circulatory system. It improves the flow of blood while strengthening the veins and capillaries. It has been used successfully to treat phlebitis, leg cramps, and abnormal tingling of the extremities.

It reduces scarring when applied during inflammatory period of the wound. It was found effective when applied on patients with third degree burns, when the treatment commenced immediately after the accident. Daily local application to the affected area, along with intramuscular injections, limited the shrinking of the skin as it healed. It prevented infection and inhibited scar formation.

It is the best rejuvenative herb for brain cells and nerves, promotes intelligence.


External: Brahmi oil is applied externally all over the entire body, including the scalp, to treat nervous disorders.

Dried gotu kola leaf can be made into a tea by adding 1-2 teaspoons to 150 ml of boiling water and allowing it to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Three cups are usually drunk per day.

Tincture can also be used at a dose of 10-20 ml three times per day.

Standardized extracts containing up to 100% total triterpenoids are generally taken as 60 mg once or twice per day


Gotu Kola is generally well tolerated when taken internally. The topical application of gotu kola salve has been reported to cause contact dermatitis, although very infrequently. Avoid taking gotu cola if you are pregnant or is breastfeeding.

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