Gotu Kola

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) is a traditional medicine mainly renowned for its cognitive enhancing properties (usually alongside bacopa monnieri) and its ability to regenerate wound healing. It appears effective on both parameters in preclinical evidence, and may also be anti-rheumatic.

Gotu Kola is most often used for

Summary

Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) is a traditional medicine that is mostly used and renowned in Ayurveda but has some usage in Traditional chinese usage as well. It is most commonly known as a cognitive enhancing supplement that is somewhat 'interchangeable' with Bacopa monnieri (insofar that the two share many of the same names) but has additional benefits for cardiovascular health (in particular, chronic venous insufficiency), skin regeneration rates and wound healing, and possible benefits to anxiety and rheumatism.

In regards to its cognitive enhancing properties, it requires a few weeks to work and seems to cause an increase in neuronal growth (not how many neurons there are, but how far their dendrites branch out). This is due to activating a class of proteins known as MAPKs, which causes a release in a growth factor for neurons called Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This is a mechanism somewhat similar to Bacopa monnieri and the time-delay in improving cognition is also similar; however, currently there are no studies assessing whether they can be used alongside each other or which one is more potent.

It has another independent mechanism where it augments the release of an anti-inflammatory signalling molecule from immune cells, in particular it enhances the secretion of the molecule known as IL-1β from the immune cells known as macrophages; it does this at a remarkably low concentration (in the picomolar range) and is likely relevant to oral supplementation, and if so this could partly explain benefits to chronic venous insuffiency (which are quite proven with human evidence) and its anti-rheumatic benefits (not as proven).

Finally, this plant may inhibit a group of enzymes that break down collagen while simultanously increasing the rate that collagen is synthesized; this is thought to underlie the increase in wound healing rate (which is proven in animal research with preliminary human research) and is thought to be the reason why centella asiatica is used as a skin tightening agent as any increase in collagen synthesis (like with creatine) should cause a firmness of the skin.

What else is Gotu Kola known as?
Note that Gotu Kola is also known as:
  • Gotu Kola
  • Indian Pennywort
  • Jal Brahmi And Mandookaparni
  • Brahmi
  • Tsubokusa
  • Centella Asiatica
Gotu Kola should not be confused with:
Dosage information

Most of the human studies (on Chronic Venous Insufficiency) on this herb have used a centella asiatica supplement two to three times a day, and at each dose the total saponin dose (asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and madecassoside) has totalled 30-60 mg given a total daily range of 60-180 mg total saponins.

While there are currently no human studies on cognitive enhancement, rat studies have noted success with 200-300 mg per kilogram of the overall plant extract (since the saponins may not be the only active ingredient for cognition); this suggests a human dose of 32-48 mg/kg and thus:

  • 2,100-3,300 mg for a 150lb person
  • 2,900-4,400 mg for a 200lb person
  • 3,600-5,500 mg for a 250lb person

The above dosages ranges are but estimates for cognitive enhancement. Currently, 500mg of centella asiatica twice daily has shown anxiety reducing effects in humans and 750mg of a 5% asiaticoside extract has enhanced mood state; while these doses are active on the cognition, it is not yet demonstrated if they are the dose needed to boost learning.

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