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How To Take Gotu Kola – 4 Top Questions Answered

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica or Indian Pennywort) is a perennial plant in the parsley family. Gotu Kola is native to moist regions of Asia and has a widespread use in traditional medicines such as TCM and Ayurveda. While it is a key herb in Ayurvedic pharmacopeia, it is also becoming popular in complementary medicine for its wide therapeutic properties.

Why do People Take Gotu Kola?

Gotu Kola is well known for its cognitive-enhancing abilities, inducing mental clarity, improving memory and lowering stress. Beyond the herbs’s neuroprotective qualities, it is used to improve circulation, speed up wound healing and to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. [1] For more information about Gotu Kola benefits or side effects, check out some of our blog posts here.

This article focuses on the key questions regarding Gotu Kola usage. We look into important safety aspects, interactions with other herbs or medications and recommended dosage. If you are interested in trying Gotu Kola to get a brain boost and are unsure how and when is best to take it, continue reading!

How Much Gotu Kola to Take?

The dosage of Gotu Kola that you should take depends on desired effects and the form. Gotu Kola is commonly sold as a dried herbal extract, a tea, tincture, powder or in capsules. The dried herbs /tea can be taken at a dose of 600 mg per day.

In regards to supplemental dosage, in general its best to start with lower dosage (1 gram per day) and gradually increase to 4 grams per day. Some prefer capsules over powders as it is quick and easy.

For more specific usage, Gotu Kola supplements are considered safe and effective in the following doses:

  • Cognitive enhancement: Human studies have found 750 mg/day of a 5% asiaticoside extract to be effective in improving cognitive functions.[2] Another study found 500 mg taken twice daily for 30 to 60 days had significant effects on attention. [3]

In addition, Gotu Kola may have neuro-regenerative effects through its ability to increase BDNF factor, which positively impacts neuronal growth. [4]

  • Mood benefits: Another study found 250 mg-750 mg of a Centella asiatica extract for 1-2 months induced noticeable improvement in mood, with feelings of relaxation, attentiveness and contentment. [5]
  • Gastroenterological benefits: Mice studies found 200-600 mg/kg twice daily for 5 days may have high efficacy in increasing gastric mucosal strength, leading to better gastrointestinal function.
  • Fluid retention: Gotu Kola was found to significantly reduce water retention in long haul flights (over 3 hours). Doses of 60-100 mg were used thrice daily, 2 days before a flight, the day of the flight and the day after. [6]

Furthermore, rat studies have shown that oral administration of this herb in doses 5-20 mg/kg may help to stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

When to take Gotu Kola? 

Gotu Kola supplements can be taken at any time of the day. The best way to consume this product is to take separate servings, especially if you are consuming higher doses. Since Gotu Kola has sedative properties, it does not interfere with circadian rhythms, so it can be taken in the evening as well.

Gotu Kola is more effective and less likely to cause digestive upset when consumed with meals. [7]

How to take Gotu Kola?

There are many forms of Gotu Kola available in health food stores and produce shops. The plant’s dried leaves are commonly used in Asian cuisine in salads, stews, dahls, and condiments. It can also be sipped as a healing tea or taken in a powdered or encapsulated supplement form.

In an herbal tea form, standard doses include 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 g) to 150 ml to a pot and heat until water is boiling, letting it steep for 10 to 15 minutes. [8]

If you are taking Gotu Kola in powdered form, it would be tastier and easier to have it with hot water as a tea or add it to your morning smoothies/juices to mask the herb’s slight bitter taste. We’ve found that Gotu Kola pairs well with warming grain and legume based dishes.

Are there any Side Effects or Drug Interactions?

Research indicates Gotu Kola does not exhibit any cytotoxic effects against normal cells. A study looking at use of Gotu Kola in doses up to 1g/kg daily for 90 days showed no toxicological symptoms. [9] Even higher doses of 1000 mg/kg were reported safe. [10]

Nonetheless, some rare and mild side effects associated with Gotu Kola may occur. These include stomach pain, nausea, and drowsiness.

Gotu Kola may not be safe for those with liver issues as it may cause herb-induced hepatotoxicity. Topical application of Gotu Kola may cause skin irritations. To avoid this, do a patch test before widespread use.

There is not sufficient research regarding the safety of Gotu Kola on breastfeeding and pregnant women nor on infants. For this reason, please consult your doctor before taking Gotu Kola.

Lastly, there are no documented interactions between Gotu Kola and medications to date. However, since high doses of Gotu Kola can cause drowsiness, it is recommended to avoid taking it with sleep medications. In addition, Gotu Kola may decrease blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Therefore, please consult your doctor to monitor insulin levels when taking Gotu Kola if you experience insulin resistance or cholesterol problems.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Gotu Kola is a potent supplement for supporting healthy brain function and reducing stress levels. It is especially beneficial for individuals looking to improve attention, memory, and mood and looking for general health and longevity.

Gotu Kola can be taken at any time of the day and is most beneficial in doses of around 500 -1000 mg per day. You can take Gotu Kola with food or on an empty stomach (if taken as a tea). Please consult your healthcare provider before taking this product if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, are diabetic or experience liver problems.

 

References

[1] Howes M.J. & Houghton P.J. (2003). ‘Plants used in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine for improvement of memory and cognitive function’, Pharmacology and Biochemical Behavior, 75(3), pp.513-527. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00128-x. PMID: 12895669.

 

[2] Farhana, K. M. Malueka, R. G. Wibowo, S. & Gofir, A. (2016). ‘Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Stroke’, Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2016, 2795915. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/2795915

 

[3] Wattanathorn J. Mator L. Muchimapura S. et al. (2007). ‘Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica’, Journal of Ethnopharmacoly, 116 (2) pp.325-332. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.11.038. Epub 2007 Dec 4. PMID: 18191355.

 

[4] Xu Y. Cao Z. Khan I. et al. (2008). ‘Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) extract enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide’, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 13 (3), pp.341-349. doi: 10.3233/jad-2008-13311. PMID: 18431001.

 

[5] Wattanathorn J. Mator L. Muchimapura S. et al. (2007). ‘Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica’, op. cit. 3.

 

[6] Cesarone M.R. Incandela L. De Sanctis M.T. et al. (2001). ‘Flight microangiopathy in medium- to long-distance flights: prevention of edema and microcirculation alterations with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica’, Angiology, 52 Suppl 2:S33-7. PMID: 11666121.

 

[7] Jana U. Sur T.K. Maity L.N. et al. (2010). ‘A clinical study on the management of generalized anxiety disorder with Centella asiatica’, Nepal Medical College Journal, 12(1), pp. 8-11. PMID: 20677602.

 

[8] Gohil, K. J., Patel, J. A., & Gajjar, A. K. (2010). Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 72(5), 546–556. https://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.78519

 

[9] Chivapat, Songpol & Tantisira, Mayuree. (2011). Acute and sub-chronic toxicity of a standardized extract of Centella asiatica ECa 233.. Thai Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 35. 55-64.

 

[10] Deshpande, P. O. Mohan, V. & Thakurdesai, P. (2015). ‘Preclinical Safety Assessment of Standardized Extract of Centella asiatica (L.) Urban Leaves’, Toxicology International, 22(1), 10–20. https://doi.org/10.4103/0971-6580.172251