Gotu Kola is a herb indigenous to the wetlands of Southeast Asia. Member of the parsley family, it is a flowering plant used as a culinary vegetable. But certain compounds that Gotu Kola contains have established it as a great medicinal wonder. With a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, it can treat several conditions and improve overall well-being. Read through to know Gotu Kola benefits, ways to use it, and desired dosage to avoid Gotu Kola side effects.
Gotu Kola Benefits
Gotu Kola is widely used as a herbal supplement. Its use is scientifically evaluated and proven to improve brain-related functions and blood circulation. Let’s understand the various Gotu Kola benefits:
1. Improves Cognitive Function
The herb is known to possess high anti-inflammatory compounds that help the brain by fighting oxidative stress. Studies show that older adults who consumed Gotu Kola experienced better moods. Their cognitive function also improved with longer attention spans, improved decision-making and problem-solving skills, better reasoning and thinking abilities, and learning and memory boost.
2. May Help in the Treatment for Alzheimer’s
The herb possesses the ability to improve memory and nerve function. This makes it a potential remedy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In a rat study, the use of Gotu Kola extract showed a significant effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This led to a reduction in plaque formation, a key indicator of Alzheimer’s.
3. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Gotu Kola contains high amounts of triterpenoids. These exhibit anxiolytic properties which help improve mental functions by reducing anxiety and stress. Gotu Kola use also helps treat sleep deprivation that triggers anxiety, oxidative damage, and neuroinflammation.
4. Potent Antidepressant
The triterpenes present in Gotu Kola have mood-modulating abilities. It works as an antidepressant and manages symptoms including anger, irritation, frustration, hopelessness, and aggressive behaviour. According to Ayurveda, its ingestion pacifies Pitta aggravation in the brain, which helps calm down depressive symptoms.
5. Improves Blood Circulation
Gotu Kola’s calming effect on the body also impacts the veins. As the blood vessels feel relaxed, it improves blood circulation in the body. Gotu Kola benefits also extend to microcirculation which reduces discomfort, pain, and swelling in the legs.
6. May Help Treat Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. Gotu Kola confers a soporific effect which causes a calming action on the mind. The mind resists worry and overthinking, restores its mental energy and revitalises the neurons by fighting oxidative stress in the brain. Consuming Gotu Kola an hour before bedtime, thus, helps correct insomnia symptoms.
7. Helps Those with Stretch Marks
The terpenoids present in Gotu Kola help increase collagen production in the body. Collagen is the primary skin protein which is responsible for various skin attributes. Healthy and supple skin helps heal stretch marks.
8. Supports Wound Healing
Gotu Kola helps increase the speed of wound healing. Its use increases the blood supply to the affected area. Also, it helps in increasing collagen production which leads to the formation of new skin cells which expedites the wound healing process.
9. Relief from Joint Pain
Gotu Kola has high anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in fighting inflammation responsible for arthritis, a painful condition marked by acute joint pain. Studies reveal that the use of Gotu Kola supplements also reduces cartilage erosion and bone erosion.
10. Helps Detoxify the Body
In the Ayurvedic medicine system, Gotu Kola has been used as a potent herb to detoxify the liver and kidneys. The herb is known to draw out excess fluid from tissues. This promotes urination which leads to the elimination of excess body fluid along with toxic waste.
Gotu Kola Side Effects
While the use of Gotu Kola is generally well tolerated by most adults, just like other medications and herbal supplements, the use of Gotu Kola too can cause side effects. Gotu Kola side effects can range from common to severe.
The common side effects are generally related to improper or incorrect use of Gotu Kola. These include:
- Stomach upset
In rare cases, the use of Gotu Kola can trigger severe allergic reactions. The symptoms include
- Breathing difficulties
- Skin rash
- Dark-coloured urine
- A liver disease characterised by a yellowish tinge in the eyes
Precautions to Take When Consuming Gotu Kola
The Gotu Kola plant typically grows in contaminated soil and is known to contain dangerously high levels of heavy metals. Therefore a few precautions are to be taken when consuming Gotu Kola. These are:
- Pick the product from a reliable brand.
- Make sure it is tested and certified for safety and purity.
- Take a Gotu Kola supplement for two-six weeks at a time. Give at least a two-week break between two cycles.
- Start with a low dose and slowly reach the full dosage level to limit side effects.
Who Should Avoid Having Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is not a panacea for all. Its use can cause adverse effects. People who must avoid its use are:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding mothers
- Individuals diagnosed with hepatitis or other liver disease
- A scheduled surgery in the coming weeks
- Children under 18 years of age
- People with a history of skin cancer
The following group of individuals must consult their doctor before using Gotu Kola products:
- High cholesterol levels
- People taking medications for sleep and anxiety issues
- People using diuretics
- People prone to allergies
Gotu Kola Dosage
Several studies are underway to assess the perfect dose of Gotu Kola. As the herbal extract is used to treat different conditions, it is used in different forms. The dosage instructions for each are as follows:
- Gotu Kola Powder – Start with 250 mg of Gotu Kola powder once a day. Slowly and gradually increase the dosage up to 3000 mg. Likewise, gradually reduce the dosage by 125 mg per day for withdrawal. Take one dose per day. For best results, take it at night before bedtime.
- Gotu Kola Extract – Begin with 125 mg of Gotu Kola extract once a day. Slowly and gradually increase the dosage to up to 500 mg over one month. Take one dose daily. For best results, take it with warm water before bedtime.
- Gotu Kola Paste – Add 3 gm of Gotu Kola powder to one cup of lukewarm cow’s milk. Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning. Skip breakfast and eat a light vegetarian meal for lunch.
- Gotu Kola Juice – this is freshly extracted juice from crushing and pressing the freshly picked herb. Take 5 ml with warm water or cow’s milk on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Gotu Kola Decoction – To prepare Gotu Kola decoction, add 10 gm of Gotu Kola plant powder to 200 ml water. Heat it on low flame to reduce the liquid to 50 ml. Take 10-20 ml of Gotu Kola decoction with warm water or cow’s milk. For best results, drink on an empty stomach.
Gotu Kola is a herbal plant with noted medicinal properties. Research suggests that the plant has anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. Thus Gotu Kola benefits extend to several health conditions like improved cognitive function, mood enhancer, and increased blood circulation.
While its use is generally safe in most adults, excessive and incorrect use can trigger Gotu Kola side effects. Therefore, it is important to use Gotu Kola supplements under complete medical guidance. For safe ingestion, one can try Gotu Kola recipes. However, in case of prolonged or unusual side effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gotu Kola
The common side effects of taking Gotu Kola are nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, and headache. In rare cases, it can trigger allergic reactions causing breathlessness, itching and skin rashes.
Gotu Kola promotes blood circulation. It reduces the accumulation of plaque within the arteries that are responsible for clot formation and cardio ailments.
No, Gotu Kola does not increase heart rate or blood pressure.
It takes a few weeks before Gotu Kola benefits begin to surface.