Nutrition

Gotu Kola Benefits for Less Anxiety and Better Cognition

Gotu kola can be a potent ally if you're battling anxiety. This Ayurvedic herb also treats depression, and it heightens brain function.

SUMMARY

The gotu kola plant is a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. Whether you choose gotu kola tea or a gotu kola supplement, this herb has the power to improve your health in key ways. Gotu kola extract has been used to treat anxiety and depression. And gotu kola benefits cognitive function and insomnia; it also supports healthy blood flow. 

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There are some plants whose healing properties have been revered for centuries. 

The gotu kola herb is one such plant. It’s been used in traditional Chinese healing practices for generations, and it’s also played a key role in ancient Ayurvedic medicine.

Research shows the gotu kola plant can soothe anxiety and stress, and it can help ease depression. It improves blood circulation; also, when applied topically, it promotes healthy skin, helping to reduce stretch marks and speed up wound healing. And gotu kola benefits brain health and cognitive function. 

What is gotu kola capable of doing for your wellness journey? 

In this article, we will:

  • Explain what gotu kola is
  • List valuable gotu kola benefits for health and healing
  • Find out whether there are any gotu kola side effects
  • List gotu kola dosage

What is gotu kola?

The gotu kola plant is a perennial that’s a member of the parsley family. It’s native to India, Japan, Indonesia. Sri Lanka, the South Pacific and South Africa. The gotu kola herb is unique for having no taste and no smell. 

Gotu kola’s botanical name is Centella asiatica. This Ayurvedic herb is referred to by many different names around the world; it’s also known as centella, Asiatic pennywort, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort, luei gong gen and marsh pennywort. Gotu kola is also called brahmi; it shares this name with Bacopa monnieri, another Ayurvedic herb. 

The gotu kola herb is most at home in the water. Its leaves are small and fan-shaped, and it produces flowers that are white, pink or pale purple. The gotu kola plant also bears a small fruit that’s oval in shape.  

Traditional gotu kola uses  

In healing practices, the gotu kola leaf and stem are used to promote wellness. Over the years and in various cultures, this medicinal herb has been used treat these conditions:

  • Syphilis 
  • Epilepsy
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Fever
  • Asthma
  • Mental fatigue

As a result of its remarkable healing properties, gotu kola has been called “the herb of longevity” and “the fountain of life.”

In India, gotu kola is considered the most spiritual of herbs, and yogis use it to enhance their meditation sessions. They believe the gotu kola plant supports the crown chakra and balances the brain’s right and left hemispheres. 

Gotu kola benefits

Whether you choose a gotu kola supplement or a tea made with dried or fresh gotu kola, it’s clear this medicinal herb has what it takes to supercharge your healing regimen. 

Here are some essential gotu kola health benefits:  

Gotu kola benefit #1: Relieves insomnia

Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep, and it’s a common affliction. According to some estimates, between 10-30 percent of all adults have chronic insomnia. In addition, women are 40 percent more likely to suffer from insomnia than men.

Alternative healing practitioners report that gotu kola benefits insomnia. This herb is a sedative, and as such, it can help ease sleeplessness. 

Gotu kola benefit #2: Mitigates anxiety

Many people suffer from anxiety these days, and it’s easy to understand why. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the nation. ADAA estimates that these disorders affect 18 percent of the population each year. Anxiety disorders typically stem from a broad range of risk factors. These include brain chemistry, genetics, personality and life events. 

Research shows that gotu kola benefits anxiety and supports the nervous system. In a 2016 animal study that involved mice, gotu kola had an anti-anxiety effect. 

Additionally, a 2013 meta-analysis looked at clinical trials examining the effect that various herbal remedies have on anxiety. The study concluded that evidence shows gotu kola is an effective treatment for this condition. 

Gotu kola benefit #3: Eases depression

Depression is common not just in this country but all around the world. The World Health Organization reports that this condition is a leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects more than 264 million people globally, and it’s more likely to strike women than men. 

Scientific evidence shows gotu kola benefits depression. A 2016 meta-analysis looked at several clinical trials involving this medicinal herb. The analysis concluded that research showed gotu kola has an antidepressant effect. 

Gotu kola benefit #4: Improves cognitive function

Healthy cognitive function is a must for productivity. For various reasons, it’s sometimes not as sharp as we’d like it to be. And it can sometimes decline as we age. 

Studies show gotu kola benefits cognitive function. A 2016 clinical trial compared gotu kola and folic acid as a treatment for stroke survivors. The trial showed that both effectively improved cognitive function; however, gotu kola was the superior choice for improving memory. 

And a 2017 animal study looked at the effect gotu kola has on cognitive ability in mice of various ages. The research showed that both younger and older mice got a boost in learning and memory. However, the improvements were most pronounced in the older mice. 

Gotu kola benefit #5: May help treat Alzheimer’s disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of dementia. It starts with mild memory loss; over time, it can progressively worsen, impacting a person’s ability to maintain a conversation and respond to the environment. The CDC estimates that 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s. 

Since gotu kola benefits memory and nerve function, it’s not surprising to learn that it may help treat Alzheimer’s. In a 2012 study involving mice, Centella asiatica extract positively affected those with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Gotu kola benefit #6: Helps treat varicose veins

Chronic venous insufficiency is a problem caused by poor blood circulation. It happens when your veins cause blood to pool in the blood vessels in your legs instead of returning it to your heart. 

If you have a varicose vein or two, this ailment is probably the culprit. This condition can also cause cramps, swelling, skin changes and leg ulcers. 

1990 study looked at the effect that a total triterpenic fraction of gotu kola had on patients with varicose veins. The research showed that this herb helped treat varicose veins by boosting the metabolism of each vein’s connective tissue. 

Gotu kola benefit #7: Improves the appearance of stretch marks and speeds wound healing

Studies show that gotu kola benefits skin health and works well at healing wounds. 

When applied directly to the skin, gotu kola speeds up collagen production and collagen synthesis. By doing this, it may be able to improve the appearance of stretch marks. It may also be able to hasten wound healing. 

2013 study looked at the effect of topical application of gotu kola on stretch marks and wound healing. The research shows that it helps treat both these conditions; it can also boost the strength of newly formed skin.  

Gotu kola side effects and precautions

Gotu kola is generally considered safe and comes with minimal side effects. 

However, in some cases, it can cause dizziness, nausea, stomach upset and extreme drowsiness. Those symptoms tend to occur only with very high doses. So, it’s best to start with a low dose and gradually work your way up. 

Gotu kola has the potential to tax your liver if used for long periods. With long-term use, it’s important to take a two-week break from the herb every six weeks. 

If you have liver disease or take medications that impact the liver, you shouldn’t take gotu kola. And gotu kola is not recommended for those with a history of skin cancer. 

Gotu kola may interact with these medications:

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Diabetes drugs
  • Diuretics
  • Sedatives

If you take any of the medications listed above, talk with your doctor before taking gotu kola. 

Gotu kola dosage 

Gotu kola dosage varies depending on the condition you’re treating:

  • Improved cognition: A common dosage is 750-1,000 mg per day 
  • Depression: A common dosage is 500 mg twice a day
  • Insomnia: A common dosage is 300-680 mg three times a day
  • Circulation issues related to varicose veins: A common dosage is 60-100 mg three times a day
  • Anxiety: A common dosage is 500 mg twice a day
  • Alzheimer’s: A common dosage is 30-60 drops of liquid extract three times per day

Next steps

What is gotu kola capable of doing for you on your path toward optimal wellness? This herb provides one health benefit after another. Keep in mind, though, that this dietary supplement has the potential to interact with certain drugs. If you have questions about whether this supplement is a good fit for you, be sure to check with your physician.

Supplements can enhance your health, but a nutritious diet should always be the foundation of your wellness regimen. Take your diet to the next level by subscribing to Fresh N Lean. Our meal plans range from vegan to paleo, and we provide convenient delivery to your home or office.