Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

Traditional Indications

Gotu kola is an adaptogen, anti-inflammatory, cardiac, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, nervine, sedative, skin, tonic. Gotu kola is an outstandingly important medicinal herb that is widely used in the Orient and is becoming increasingly popular in the West. Its Indian name is 'Brahmi' which means 'bringing knowledge of the Supreme Reality' and it has long been used there medicinally and as an aid to meditation. It is a useful tonic and cleansing herb for skin problems and digestive disorders. In India it is chiefly valued as a revitalising herb that strengthens nervous function and memory. The whole plant is alterative, cardio-depressant, hypotensive, weakly sedative and tonic. It is a rejuvenating diuretic herb that clears toxins, reduces inflammations and fevers, improves healing and immunity, improves the memory and has a balancing effect on the nervous system. It has been suggested that regular use of the herb can rejuvenate the nervous system and it therefore deserves attention as a possible cure for a wide range of nervous disorders including multiple sclerosis.
Recent research has shown that gotu kola reduces scarring, improves circulatory problems in the lower limbs and speeds the healing process. It is used internally in the treatment of wounds, chronic skin conditions (including leprosy), venereal diseases, malaria, varicose veins, ulcers, nervous disorders and senility. (1)

Gotu kola is has been used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been reported as one of the “miracle elixirs of life”. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Gotu kola is called Ji Xue Cao. Ji Xue Cao is bitter and cold and enters the Kidney, Large Intestine, Liver, Small intestine and Spleen channels to clear Heat and dry Damp. (2)

Pharmacognosy

Gotu kola is a medicinal plant that has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years as well as in scientifically oriented medicine. The active compounds include pentacyclic triterpenes, mainly asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic and madecassic acids. Centella asiatica is effective in improving treatment of small wounds, hypertrophic wounds as well as burns, psoriasis and scleroderma. (3)

In relation to Alzheimer’s disease, Gotu kola extract exhibits a positive effect in that it enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide. (4)

Gotu kola was shown to be more effective than folic acid in improving memory by improving vascular cognitive impairment after stroke. (5)

1. PFAF. Centella asiatica 2019.
2. House YT. Ji Xue Cao 2019.
3. Bylka W, Znajdek-Awiżeń P, Studzińska-Sroka E, Brzezińska M. Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii. 2013;30(1):46-9.
4. Xu Y, Cao Z, Khan I, Luo Y. Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) extract enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD. 2008;13(3):341-9.
5. Farhana KM, Malueka RG, Wibowo S, Gofir A. Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Stroke. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2016;2016:2795915-.