Gotu kola is an herb in the parsley family. It is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine.
Gotu kola is used to treat bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, the flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.
Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, to stabilize plaques in blood vessels, to prevent blood clots in the legs, and to prevent the damage of small blood vessels in people with diabetes (diabetic microangiopathy).
Some people use gotu kola for wound healing, trauma, sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis), jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, swelling in the lining of the stomach (gastritis), epilepsy, asthma, "tired blood" (anemia), and for helping them live longer.
Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire.
Gotu kola is sometimes applied to the skin for psoriasis, wound healing and reducing scars, including stretch marks caused by pregnancy.
How it works
Gotu kola contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and also decrease blood pressure in veins. Gotu kola also seems to increase collagen production, which is important for wound healing.
Possibly EffectiveDecreased return of blood from the feet and legs back to the heart (venous insufficiency)
Taking gotu kola or a specific extract of gotu kola (Centellase) by mouth for 4-8 weeks seems to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in people with poor blood circulation in the legs.
Gotu kola is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when applied to the skin for up to 12 months or when taken by mouth for up to 8 weeks. When taken by mouth, gotu kola can cause nausea and stomach pain. Rarely, gotu kola may also cause liver problems if taken by mouth. When used on the skin, gotu kola may cause itchiness and redness.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Gotu kola isPOSSIBLY SAFEinpregnantwomen when applied to the skin. But don't take it by mouth. Not enough is known about the safety of taking gotu kola orally. There also isn't enough known about the safety of using gotu kola duringbreast-feeding. Avoid using it if you arenursing.Are there any interactions with medications?
Liver disease: There is concern that gotu kola might cause liver damage. People who already have a liver disease such as hepatitis should avoid using gotu kola. It might make liver problems worse.
Surgery: Gotu kola might cause too much sleepiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop using gotu kola at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
ModerateSedative medications (CNS depressants)
Gotu kola might harm the liver. Taking gotu kola along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage.Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.Large amounts of gotu kola might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking gotu kola along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.