Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) – Mandukaparni

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Gotu Kola (botanically Centella Asiatica) is known with the name of Mandukaparni in ayurveda. It is intellect promoting herbs known for its nootropic and neuroprotective properties. For this reason, it is commonly used for enhancing memory and other cognitive functions. It also acts on the skin, gastric mucosa, lymphatic system, heart, vocal cord, and lungs. It gives relief from keloids and prevents scar formation in the case of any injury to the skin. It increases secretion of glycoprotein and gastric mucin in the stomach, which helps to prevent damage to gastric mucosa due to excess acid. So, it helps patients with gastric diseases including gastritis, GERD, loss of appetite in gastritis or acid reflux etc.

Note: Gotu Kola is also called Brahmi in North India. Bacopa Monnieri is also known with the name of Brahmi. The meaning of word “Brahmi” is “intellect promoting”, which applies to both herbs. Therefore, you should always check the botanical name of the herb that you are taking.

Synonyms & Vernacular Names

Botanical NameCentella Asiatica
Botanical SynonymCentella Repanda, Hydrocotyle Asiatica L., Hydrocotyle Erecta L. F.
English NameGotu Kola, Spade leaf, Indian Pennywort
Hindi NameMandukaparni, Brahmi (in North India),
Sanskrit NameMandukaparni, Saraswati, Manduki, Twasti
Ayurvedic NameMandukaparni

Medicinal Parts

All parts (especially aerial parts) of Gotu Kola herb are used preparing Gotu Kola powder (Mandukaparni Churna), extract, tablets or capsules. According to ayurveda, Mandukaparni Svarasa (Fresh Gotu Kola Juice) is likely to be more beneficial than its other forms.

Pharmacological Actions

Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica) improves neuronal growth and exerts neuroprotective and nootropic actions. It also exerts antioxidant action by improving the release of nitric oxide. It improves blood circulation by relaxing the blood vessels, so it reduces discomfort, leg fatigue and pain occurring in varicose veins.

Medicinal Properties

Gotu kola has following healing properties.

  • Nootropic
  • Neuroprotective
  • Anxiolytic – Anti-anxiety
  • Intellect Promoting
  • Antidepressant
  • Mood enhancer
  • Antinociceptive
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Gastroprotective
  • Cardiac Tonic
  • Antihemorrhagic
  • Cardioprotective
  • Venotonic (phlebotonic) – reduces venous insufficiency by improving blood circulation
  • Demulcent
  • Wound healing enhancer
  • Mucolytic
  • Appetizer
  • Galactagogue

Ayurvedic Properties of Gotu Kola

RASA (Taste)TIKTA (Bitter)
ANU RASA (After Taste)KASAYA (Astringent)
GUNA (Main Quality)LAGHU (Light)
VIRYA (Potency)SHEETA (Cold)
VIPAKA (Resultant)MADHURA (Sweet)
PRABHAVA (Action)Nootropic & Neuroprotective
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humor)Pacifies KAPHA DOSHA & PITTA DOSHA
Dhatu (Tissue) EffectRASA, RAKTA, MAMSA

Therapeutic Indications

Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica) is helpful in following health conditions.

  • Mental fatigue
  • Memory Loss
  • Low retention power
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia (sleeplessness)
  • Convulsions
  • Epilepsy
  • Unmanageable emotional excesses or Hysteria
  • Behavior disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Hemorrhages
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Bleeding per rectum
  • Keloids and scars
  • Pruritus
  • Gout
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma or breathing troubles
  • Anorexia
  • Gotu Kola
  • Opium poisoning
  • Splenomegaly

Gotu Kola Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica) has protective actions on the brain, stomach, heart, lungs, and skin. It improves immunity, increases vitality, and promotes longevity. It improves mental strength. It improves the complexion of the skin and improves skin quality. It gives strength to the vocal cord and improves voice. It acts on the digestive system and improves appetite.

Improve Mental Clarity

Many people feel “foggy” feeling in the brain, which indicates reduced mental clarity. In such condition, there are several causes including sedation, constant thinking, mental fatigue, stress, worrying etc. Gotu kola improves mental clarity by reducing mental confusion and stress, increasing concentration, and revitalizing the neurons (brain cells). It also improves the blood supply to the brain, which also oxygenates the brain and improves mental clarity.

Improves Attention

Gotu Kola increases attention span and attentiveness in people with mental stress and anxiety. In most cases, stress and anxiety are the underlying cause of inattentiveness, which can be reduced by Centella Asiatica supplementation. For improving attention, one can take 1 gram Gotu Kola Powder twice daily with milk, as per ayurveda.

Mental Fatigue

The feeling of excessive mental tiredness indicates mental fatigue, which results in difficulty in concentrating, poor mental performance, irritability, anxiety, and reduced work productivity. All these symptoms occur due to a reduction in dopamine level in the brain.  Gotu Kola modulates the production of neurotransmitters including dopamine, so it helps to improve motivation and performance and reduces mental fatigue.

Memory Loss

Memory loss can have many underlying causes. It can be age-related, due to amnesia, dementia, and cognitive impairment as in Alzheimer’s disease. Gotu Kola helps to improve memory and cognitive functions in almost every cause.

Amnesia

Amnesia occurs due to brain injury or damage, which leads to memory impairment. Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) has protective effects on brain cells (neurons) and anti-amnesiac activities. Gotu Kola also helps to reduce oxidative stress in the brain. It reduces memory impairment, improves ability to recall information, and increases memory in patients with amnesia.

Dementia

Dementia leads to memory loss and cognitive dysfunction. Gotu Kola helps to prevent dementia and improves cognition. It has antioxidant action, which helps to reduce oxidative damage in the brain and attenuates memory impairment. (1)

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a most common cause of dementia. In this disease, β-amyloid accumulates in the brain and results in neurotoxicity. Gotu Kola has neuroprotective action attributed to its several active constituents. It reduces neurotoxicity and cell death caused by β-amyloid. It also attenuates β-amyloid induced changes in the brain. It reduces dementia and its symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. (2, 3)

Age-related Cognitive Impairment

Gotu Kola positively modulates the cognitive function and improves mood in elderly people. The study shows improvement in cognitive performance, mood, and memory with Centella Asiatica supplementation in elderly people. (4)

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

A compound containing Gotu Kola appears to improve attention and impulse control in children with ADHD. (5)

In ayurveda, Gotu Kola powder is used along with Mukta Pishti, Shankhpushpi, Yashtimadhu (Licorice) and Bacopa Monnieri to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The mixture is prepared in following proportion.

Gotu Kola Powder125 mg
Bacopa Monnieri Powder125 mg
Shankhpushpi Churna250 mg
Yashtimadhu (Licorice)500 mg
Mukta Pishti125 mg

All herbs should be used in natural form i.e. herb powder. The combination has synergetic effects improving attention, calming the mind and reducing easy distractions. 3 to 6 months course with it helps to improve ability to maintain focus on one task.

Depression and Mood Disorders

Gotu Kola has anti-depressant action and modulates mood. This action is attributed to triterpenes present in Centella Asiatica. (6)

In ayurveda, it is also well-known for the management of depression and mood disorders with symptoms including agitation, angry outbursts, frustration, irritability, hopelessness, restlessness, suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior. It calms the mind and reduces all these symptoms by pacifying Pitta aggravation in the brain. For maximum results, it should be used in combination with Mukta Pishti and Jatamansi (Spikenard).

Intellect Promoting

In ayurveda, Gotu kola (Mandukaparni) is used to promote intellectual ability and perception power (retention ability). For this purpose, 3 grams fresh herb is crushed with a small quantity of cow’s milk and a paste is prepared. This paste is advised to eat on empty stomach in the morning along with a glass of warm milk. Then breakfast should be skipped and in lunch, a light vegetarian food should be taken. This should be continued for 12 days. It is highly effective for improving intellectual ability, perception power and other functions of cognition.

In traditional medicine, Gotu kola powder (Mandukaparni Churna) mixed with Ghee (clarified butter) is given to children to improve mental abilities.

Anxiety

Gotu kola exerts anxiolytic action due to the presence of triterpenoids in it. It improves mental functions and alleviates anxiety. However, a single herb use might not give a promising result. When it is used in combination with other herbs including Jatamansi (Spikenard), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus Pluricaulis) and Mukta Pishti (ayurvedic medicine), it gives good results treating anxiety.

Insomnia (Sleeplessness)

Gotu kola has soporific (Sleep inducing) effects, which results due to its calming action on the mind. It helps to make the mind resistant to worrying and over-thinking, and restores mental energy and vitalizes the neurons by reducing oxidative stress in the brain.

In ayurveda, 3 grams Gotu kola (Mandukaparni) powder is advised to be taken with a cup of milk an hour before sleep for a week. It helps to treat insomnia and improves the level of sound sleep and promotes relaxation.

If the mind is dull, lazy, and weak, then Gotu Kola should be used along with Vacha (Acorus Calamus), Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum) and Misri (sugar). All these ingredients should be mixed in the following proportion in 250 ml milk.

Gotu Kola Powder1 gram
Vacha (Acorus Calamus)250 mg
Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)125 mg
Misri (sugar)3 grams
Milk250 ml

This mixture can be taken twice a day to reduce mental weakness and improves sleep.

If the patient has a burning sensation, heartburn, mental irritation, mental outbreaks, aggressive behavior, anger, and restlessness associated with insomnia, then the fresh juice of Gotu Kola herb should be taken along with the fresh juice of Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus Pluricaulis) and 250 ml milk.

Gotu Kola Fresh Juice5 ml
Shankhpushpi Fresh Juice5 ml
Milk250 ml

This formulation reduces all these symptoms, calms the mind and induces a good quality sleep.

Epilepsy

However, Gotu Kola is not much effective in epilepsy when used alone. Along with other herbs like Vacha (Acorus Calamus), Kulanjan (Alpinia galanga) and cardamom seeds, it has synergetic effects in the management of epilepsy. In ayurveda, these herbs are used in combination in the treatment of epilepsy and convulsions.

Venous Insufficiency & Varicose Veins

Gotu Kola improves blood circulation by inducing relaxation of veins. The improvement in microcirculation by Gotu Kola reduces discomfort, pain, and edema in the legs.

Wound Healing

Gotu Kola’s internal intake is also helpful to speed up wound healing. It is commonly used in people with diabetes mellitus.

The local application of Gotu Kola enhances wound healing and prevents scar formation. The Gotu kola leaf fine powder can be applied mixing in sterilized water to the skin lesion. It improves blood supply to the affected area. It can be applied to the skin in wounds, skin ulcers, and minor burns.

Cracked Heels

In the case of cracked heels, its fine powder should be mixed with beeswax or petroleum jelly in the following ratio.

Fine powder of Gotu Kola Leaves1 Part
Beeswax7 Parts

The cream made with this ratio should be applied to cracked heels twice daily. This combination gives promising results within 2 to 4 weeks. For boosting its effects, one can also add 1 part of Jatyadi Oil in this formulation.

Gotu Kola Dosage

Gotu Kola is used in form of powder, extract, juice, and decoction. The general dosage of these forms is given below:

Gotu Kola Powder Dosage

The dosage of Gotu Kola Powder
Children (above 5 years)Starts with 50 mg Gotu Kola Powder once a day and gradually increase the dosage up to 1000 mg over a period of a month. Then gradually reduce the dosage by 25 mg per day to stop it.
AdultsStarts with 250 mg Gotu Kola Powder once a day and gradually increase the dosage up to 3000 mg over a period of a month. Then gradually reduce the dosage by 125 mg per day to stop it.
Doses: 1 dose per day should be sufficient. If required, then it can also be taken twice a day. But when you are starting it for the first time, then you should take it once a day and gradually increase its dose to the optimum dosage as recommended above. It should be stopped after gradual increase and decrease of the dosage. Then keep a month gap to next course with Gotu Kola. However, if it can also be used on a regular basis if prescribed by a physician.
Best Time to Take: At night (before sleep), if advised twice a day, then take it at least 45 minutes after breakfast and second dose can be taken at night before sleep.

Gotu Kola Extract Dosage

The dosage of Gotu Kola Powder
Children (above 10 years)Starts with 25 mg Gotu Kola Extract once a day and gradually increase the dosage up to 125 mg over a period of a month.
AdultsStarts with 125 mg Gotu Kola Powder once a day and gradually increase the dosage up to 500 mg over a period of a month.
Doses: 1 dose per day should be sufficient.
Adjuvant: Warm water
Best Time to Take: At night (before sleep), if advised twice a day, then take it at least 45 minutes after breakfast and second dose can be taken at night before sleep.

Gotu Kola Paste Dosage

A fresh Gotu Kola herb and cow’s milk are used to make a paste. In ayurveda, it is used for Rasayana purposes. It is called Mandukaparni Rasayana. It improves memory, intelligence, and cognitive skills.

The dosage of Gotu Kola Paste
Children (above 10 years)1 gram
Adults3 grams
Doses: 1 dose per day should be sufficient. Dosage can be increased according to tolerance to its dosage, but maximum dosage should not exceed 6 grams per day.
Adjuvant: Take it with a cup of Cow’s Milk
Best Time to Take: On empty stomach in the morning
Note: If you are taking Gotu Kola Paste with cow’s milk, then you should not take breakfast. In lunch, you can take light vegetarian foods.
Precaution: If this dosage cause headache or vertigo, then reduce the dosage and gradually increase its dosage as you adapt to this herb. Secondly, you should not take fried, burnt, oily, spicy foods during this time.

Gotu Kola Juice Dosage

In ayurveda, Mandukaparni Svarasa (Gotu Kola) fresh juice is recommended. It is extracted by crushing and pressing the fresh herb.

The dosage of Gotu Kola Paste
Children (above 10 years)2.5 ml
Adults5 ml
Doses: 1 dose per day should be sufficient.
Adjuvant: Warm water or cow’s milk
Best Time to Take: On empty stomach in the morning

Gotu Kola Decoction Dosage

The decoction can also be prepared with 10 grams coarse powder of Gotu Kola plant and 200 ml water. Reduce it to 50 ml liquid content on low flame.

Note: Gotu Kola contains some volatile oils, so its decoction is less effective than its other forms of use.

The dosage of Gotu Kola Decoction
Children (above 10 years)5 to 10 ml
Adults10 to 20 ml
Doses: 1 dose per day should be sufficient.
Adjuvant: Warm water or cow’s milk
Best Time to Take: On empty stomach in the morning

Note: Any form of Gotu Kola can cause side effects, so it should be better to gradually increase its dosage to its optimum dosage. When you like to stop it, its dosage should be gradually reduced over a period of several days.

If a headache or vertigo persists even after reducing its dosage, then you should stop it for at least a week. Then restart it in a low dosage and then gradually increases its dosage.

Safety Profile

Gotu kola is considerably safe for most individuals when taken as per its indications in appropriate dosage under professional supervision. The crude and natural form of Gotu kola is safer than its extract or derivatives. It is also safe when applied to the skin.

Gotu Kola Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Vertigo
  • Sleepiness

Generally, headache occurs with a high dosage of Gotu Kola. To avoid this, one should start it with a low dosage and then its dosage can be increased gradually over a period of several days or weeks.

Pregnancy & Lactation

The safety profile of Gotu kola is not well established for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Therefore, avoid using it during pregnancy and lactation. However, its external application is likely to be safe.

Note: According to ayurveda, Gotu Kola has galactagogue action, which helps to improve breast milk supply and detoxifies the milk. It has been used in ayurveda in lactating mothers along with other galactagogue herbs to improve milk production.

Contraindications

Gotu kola should not be used in following diseases:

  • Liver Diseases: It might worsen liver damage. If you are having any liver disease like hepatitis etc., then it is not suitable for you.
  • Surgery: It might interaction with other medicines used during surgery and prolongs the sleepiness. It should be stopped at least 15 days prior to a scheduled surgery.

Ayurvedic Formulations containing Gotu Kola

  1. Brahmi Ghrita (Ghee)
  2. Brahmi Oil or Brahmi Thailam
  3. Saraswatarishta (Saraswatharishtam)
  4. Brahmi Vati
  5. Brahmi Churna (Gotu Kola Powder)
  6. Saraswata Ghrita

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