Gotu Kola: One of Nature's Neatest Nootropics

Updated April 11, 2024 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci
(Estimated reading time: 4 minutes)

Gotu Kola is one of nature's neatest nootropics.

It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to improve brain function, increase intelligence, and fend off dementia.

This herb is a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of developing chronic neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.

Gotu kola also has anti-inflammatory properties which means it can be used topically on skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, but also internally to relieve joint pain and arthritis symptoms!

In this article, I'll give you all the information about Gotu Kola and how you can use it to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

What is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola has been found to improve memory and intellect, mend and reverse brain cell damage, and increase acetylcholine.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is called "the student herb" in Bali.

It sharpens the mind, according to folklore. Gotu kola extract promotes dendrite and axon development in brain cells, which aids memory.

Gotu kola, which is native to Asia's marshes, was used in the ancient Ayurvedic medical system as a first-aid kit.

It was utilized to cure mental tiredness, worry, sadness, memory loss, sleeplessness, fever, syphilis, and hepatitis.

Gotu kola has even been associated with longevity. Elephants that consumed Gotu kola leaves were believed to live longer than those that didn't, according to the ancients.

In the United States and Europe, Gotu kola is commonly used to cure varicose veins, slow down blood circulation in the legs, treat psoriasis, and aid in the healing of minor cuts.

Gotu kola is high in triterpene saponosides. A study conducted in Japan revealed that one of these triterpenoids called Asiatic acid was able to halt cancer cell development.

And some of the most innovative new research on Gotu kola suggests that it may help your brain grow.

Many studies, particularly those conducted in India and China, reveal that Gotu kola extracts show promise as a memory enhancer as well.

Animal studies have shown an increase in dopamine levels in the brain after supplementation with this herb which is linked to higher mental alertness.

How does Gotu Kola Work in the Brain?

Aside from preventing memory loss, Gotu kola improves brain function and health in several ways. However, there are two that stick out.

  1. Neural dendrite and axon development are aided by Gotu Kola. Neuron dendrites grow in length and number with Gotu kola use. It also promotes axon growth.
  2. Improved memory and learning. For thousands of years, Gotu kola has been revered for increasing memory. We know that Gotu kola extract increases the availability of acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain. It does so by keeping ACh from breaking down.

Dendrites are branches that extend from neurons.

They receive signals from other neurons. Axons are the opposite of dendrites and extend away from a neuron, toward another neuron.

Gotu Kola Benefits for Mental Wellbeing

Gotu kola benefits your mental health in several ways including improving memory and moods, learning styles, focus levels, anxiety management skills, creativity enhancement abilities, and concentration.

One study found that a Gotu Kola extract could be used to treat ADHD symptoms in children.

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder have been shown to have low dopamine levels which were reversed after supplementation of Gotu kola extracts.

In another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, participants were given either Gotu kola or a placebo over eight weeks.

As a result, participants taking Gotu kola showed improvement in memory and learning abilities when compared to their counterparts who took the placebo.

Gotu Kola For Cognitive Function & Mood Enhancement

Several other studies discuss how Gotu Kola benefits cognitive function and mood.

One study found that supplementation with Gotu kola extract increased acetylcholine levels in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory functions.

In another rodent model experiment, researchers discovered that rats given Gotu kola extracts had improved spatial memory when compared to those not taking the supplement.

In this study, the researchers also found that Gotu kola extracts decreased levels of corticosterone and increased antioxidant activity in rats' brains. Corticosterone is a stress hormone that has been associated with poor memory.

How does Gotu Kola make you feel?

Gotu kola raises acetylcholine levels in your brain.

It improves blood flow and reduces oxidative damage and poisons in brain cells, giving you an enhanced sense of mental activity.

During a time of great mental strain, in particular, mental blocks or mental weariness are removed, as if by magic.

Dreams are often more intense. And Gotu kola, according to some people, can reduce anxiety making them feel more at peace in the present moment.

Gotu Kola Recommended Dosage

Gotu kola standardized extract is typically taken in doses of 50 to 250 mg twice or three times daily.

The usual dose of Gotu Kola powder in capsules is 400-450 mg per day.

Standardized extracts should contain 40% asiaticoside, 29 to 30% Asiatic acid, 29 to 30 percent madecassic acid, and 1-2 percent madecassoside.

However, most Gotu Kola tablets sold in the United States are capsules of dried powder rather than a standardized extract.

Triterpenes in Gotu kola increase the permeability of blood vessels, allowing more oxygen to enter brain cells.

This is why having healthy blood flow in your body and mind is needed for mental acuity.

As a tincture (1:2 w/v, 30% alcohol): 30 to 60 drops (equivalent to 1.5 to 3 mL), three times a day.

Gotu Kola Side Effects

Gotu Kola is generally well tolerated.

However, it can induce skin irritation and burning sensations if you put it on your skin. Internally, adverse effects are headaches, upset stomachs, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Gotu kola has been studied for up to a year in some research.

However, it is important to remember that Gotu kola has the potential to damage the liver.

Some medical professionals recommend that you avoid using Gotu kola for longer than 6 weeks without consulting your doctor.

In Summary

Gotu kola is one of the most interesting herbs for mental function.

It offers a unique combination of neuroprotective and antioxidant benefits, while also increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain.

Gotu Kola enhances moods, reduces anxiety, improves memory and concentration, increases blood flow to your body and mind helping you feel the positive effects of a calm and relaxed state.

Gotu kola is effective at improving mental function at a relatively small dose.

Gotu kola is well tolerated and does not usually cause side effects if taken appropriately.

However, it should never be used long-term without consulting your doctor first due to its potential for liver damage.