Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Gotu Kola


Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola


This fact sheet provides basic information about Gotu Kola. Centella asiatica is a slender, creeping plant that commonly grows in swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa, and the tropics. Gotu kola has been widely used to treat a variety of illnesses. Sri Lankans noticed that elephants, renowned for their longevity, ate the leaves of the plant. Thus the leaves were believed to promote long life, with a suggested "dosage" of a few leaves each day. Among the ailments historically purported to be cured or controlled by gotu kola are mental illness, high blood pressure, abscesses, rheumatism, fever, ulcers, leprosy, skin eruptions, nervous disorders, and jaundice; it has also been touted as an aphrodisiac. Gotu kola should not be confused with the dried seed of Cola nitida (Vent.) Schott. & Endl. (also known as kolanuts, kola, or cola), the plant used in cola beverages. C. nitida contains caffeine and is a stimulant. Gotu kola has no caffeine and has sedative properties.

Common Names

Gotu Kola, Hydrocotyle, Indian Pennywort, Talepetrako, Spadeleaf, Asiatic Pennywort

Latin Names

Centella asiatica

What It Is Used For

  • Traditionally used as treatment for a variety of ills and as an aphrodisiac, gotu kola has demonstrated efficacy for treating wounds, varicose veins, skin disorders, and venous insufficiency, as well as for enhancing memory. Limited evidence suggests gotu kola might have antifertility, hypotensive, and sedative effects.

How It Is Used

Doses of gotu kola in crude form range from 1.5 to 4 g/day. Various extracts standardized to asiaticoside content also are available and have been studied in clinical trials in venous insufficiency and wound healing at doses of 30 to 90 mg/day. Wound-healing studies have involved topical application of a hydrogel ointment containing a titrated extract of C. asiatica (TECA).

What the Science Says

  • More recent studies confirm many of gotu kola's traditional uses and also suggest possible new applications for gotu kola, such as lowering high blood pressure, treating venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the veins, usually in the legs), boosting memory and intelligence, easing anxiety, and speeding the healing of injuries.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Gotu kola causes contact dermatitis in some individuals. Three cases of hepatotoxicity have been reported with patients using C. asiatica for 20 to 60 days.
  • Documented emmenagogue effects. Avoid use.


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