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HERBS: Gotu Kola


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Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola

Scientific name

Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica

Other names

Indian pennywort, hydrocotyle, mandukaparni, madecassol, TECA, centelase, tsubo-kusa, luei gong gen, idrocotyle, kaki kuda

Purported uses

  • To treat burns: Laboratory data suggest that gotu kola aids in wound healing, but there is no proof from clinical trials that this effect occurs in humans.
  • To treat cancer: No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • To treat gastrointestinal disorders: No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • To lower high blood pressure: No scientific evidence supports this use. Several clinical trials show that gotu kola can reduce venous hypertension in patients with chronic venous insufficiency, but there is no evidence that this herb can treat typical (arterial) high blood pressure.
  • To prevent memory loss: No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • To treat psoriasis: Laboratory experiments suggest that gotu kola can reduce inflammation, but there is no proof from clinical trials that it can treat psoriasis.
  • To improve the appearance of scars: Laboratory data suggest that gotu kola aids in wound healing, but there is no proof from clinical trials that this effect occurs in humans.
  • For sedation: One preliminary study in humans found that gotu kola can decrease people's "startle response," but otherwise there is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • To treat varicose veins: No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • To treat chronic venous insufficiency: Several clinical trials support this use.

Warnings

Gotu kola should not be confused with kolanut. Gotu kola does not contain any caffeine and has not been shown to have stimulant properties.

There are wide variations in terpenoid concentrations depending on the location in which gotu kola is grown. Products should be standardized as to asiaticoside, asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and madecassoside content.

Adverse reactions

  • Reported: Contact dermatitis, pruritus, photosensitization, and headache; reduced fertility may occur in women wishing to become pregnant.
  • Toxicity: Hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and sedation have occurred following consumption of higher doses.

Drug interactions

  • Hypoglycemics / Insulin: Theoretically gotu kola may interfere with blood glucose levels.
  • Anti-hyperlipidemics: Theoretically gotu kola may interfere with cholesterol lowering agents.

References

1. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

2. DerMarderosian A, editor. The Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Facts and Comparisons; 1999.

Brinkhaus B, et al. Chemical, pharmacological and clinical profile for the East Asian medical plant Centella asiatica. Phytomedicine 2000;5:427-48.

Pointel JP, et al. Titrated extract of Centella asiatica (TECA) in the treatment of venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Angiology 1987;38:46-50.

3. Pizzorno JE, et al. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. New York: Churchill Livingston; 1999.

Bradwein J, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of gotu kola (Centella asiatica) on acoustic startle response in healthy subjects. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2000;20:680-4.

4. Cesarone MR, et al. Effects of the total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica in venous hypertensive microangiopathy: a prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Angiology 2001;52(Suppl 2):S15-18.

5. Cesarone MR, et al. Evaluation of treatment of diabetic microangiopathy with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica: a clinical prospective randomized trial with a microcirculatory model. Angiology 2001;52(Suppl 2):S49-54.

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Overview of Herbs | Alfalfa | Aloe Vera | Burdock | Capsaicin | Cascara | Chamomile | Chaparral | Comfrey | Echinacea | Garlic | Ginger | Ginseng (Asian) | Ginseng (American) | Gotu Kola | Hawthorn | Licorice | Ephedra | Milk Thistle | Sassafras | Blue-Green Algae