Gotu Kola
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Gotu Kola Overview

Written by FoundHealth.

Gotu kola is a creeping plant native to subtropical and tropical climates. Gotu kola has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine (the traditional medicine of India) to promote wound healing and slow the progress of leprosy. It was also reputed to prolong life, increase energy, and enhance sexual potency. 1 Other uses of gotu kola included treating skin diseases, anxiety, diarrhea, menstrual disorders, vaginal discharge, and venereal disease.

Based on these many traditional indications, gotu kola was accepted as a drug in France in the 1880s. British physicians in Africa used a special extract to treat leprosy.

What Is the Scientific Evidence for Gotu Kola?

Venous Insufficiency/Varicose Veins

There is significant, but not definitive, scientific evidence for the effectiveness of gotu kola for the treatment of varicose veins/venous insufficiency 2 3 4 5 .

For example, a 2-month double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 94 people with venous insufficiency of the lower limb compared the benefits of gotu kola extract at 120 mg daily and 60 mg daily against a placebo. 6 The results showed a significant dose-related improvement in the treated groups in symptoms such as subjective heaviness, discomfort, and edema.

Another 2-month study of double-blind design enrolled 90 people with varicose veins and compared the benefits of gotu kola at 60 mg and 30 mg daily against placebo. 7 Again, the results showed improvements in both treated groups, but greater improvement at the higher dose.

In one study of people with venous insufficiency, 2 weeks of treatment with gotu kola extracts was shown to reduce the time necessary for the swelling to disappear. 8 Another study of double-blind design followed 87 people with varicose veins and compared the benefits of gotu kola at 60 mg and 30 mg daily against placebo. 9 Again, the results showed improvements in both treated groups, but greater improvement at the higher dose.

Anxiety

Gotu kola has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety . Because evidence suggests that easy startling is related to anxiety, researchers have attempted to test this use by measuring the acoustic startle response. 10 In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 40 study participants were given either gotu kola or placebo and then subjected to sudden loud noises. Researchers measured eye blinks and found a significantly reduced startle response in those treated with gotu kola. This suggests, but doesn't prove, that gotu kola may be helpful for anxiety.

Dosage

The usual dosage of gotu kola is 20 to 60 mg 3 times daily of an extract standardized to contain 40% asiaticoside, 29% to 30% asiatic acid, 29% to 30% madecassic acid, and 1% to 2% madecassoside. When using it for venous insufficiency, give gotu kola at least 4 weeks to work.

For the prevention of keloid scars (a purpose for which gotu kola has notbeen proven effective), the herb is typically taken for 3 months prior to surgery, and for another 3 months afterwards.

References

  1. Kartnig T. Clinical applications of Centella asiatica (L.). Herbs Spices Med Plants. 1988;3:145-173.
  2. Belcaro GV, Grimaldi R, Guidi G. Improvement of capillary permeability in patients with venous hypertension after treatment with TTFCA. Angiology. 41(7):533-40.
  3. Belcaro GV, Rulo A, Grimaldi R. Capillary filtration and ankle edema in patients with venous hypertension treated with TTFCA. Angiology. 41(1):12-8.
  4. Cesarone MR, Laurora G, De Sactis MT, et al. The microcirculatory activity of Centella asiatica in venous insufficiency. A double-blind study [translated from Italian]. Minerva Cardioangiol. 1994;42:299-304.
  5. Pointel JP, Boccalon H, Cloarec M, et al. Titrated extract of Centella asiatica (TECA) in the treatment of venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Angiology. 1987;38:46-50.
  6. Pointel JP, Boccalon H, Cloarec M, et al. Titrated extract of Centella asiatica (TECA) in the treatment of venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Angiology. 1987;38:46-50.
  7. Cesarone MR, Laurora G, De Sactis MT, et al. The microcirculatory activity of Centella asiatica in venous insufficiency. A double-blind study [translated from Italian]. Minerva Cardioangiol. 1994;42:299-304.
  8. Belcaro GV, Grimaldi R, Guidi G. Improvement of capillary permeability in patients with venous hypertension after treatment with TTFCA. Angiology. 41(7):533-40.
  9. Cesarone MR, Laurora G, De Sactis MT, et al. The microcirculatory activity of Centella asiatica in venous insufficiency. A double-blind study [translated from Italian]. Minerva Cardioangiol. 1994;42:299-304.
  10. Bradwejn J, Zhou Y, Koszycki D, Shlik J. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on acoustic startle response in healthy subjects. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 20(6):680-4.
 
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