goyukola large Gotu kola

Gotu kola| Hydrocotyle asiatica/Centella asiatica

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include gotu kola, Brahmi, Indian pennywort, Brahma-manduki, marsh penny, water pennywort, spade leaf.


Related to the marsh loving pennyworts, gotu kola is a small perennial creeping plant with small round fan shaped fragrant leaves and wiry looking stalks, similar to nasturtium. Predominantly native to Asia but can and does grow in most parts of the world. It belongs to the Apiaceae family (includes plants like parsley and celery). It is known to absorb contaminants from the soil so I would personally be sure to use organically certified plant material.


There is a European native that is a relative (Hydrocotyle vulgaris) growing in similar conditions but (as far as I am aware) bares no resemblance medicinally to the Asian plant.


Contrary to its common name, it contains no kola or caffeine of any kind.


Organic Gotu kola dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

Gotu kola leaf is eaten by some in Asian countries as an 'edible weed'. It is entirely possible to grow a crop od if in the garden, either on a pond margin, boggy area or it a pot that is kept well watered. Once established and happy with its environment it can be quite rampant.


The leaves and upper parts are generally harvested in the summer months and used fresh or dried for later use.

Organic Gotu kola dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Gotu kola is highly valued in Asian medicine and in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and is in their top ten list of longevity promoting herbs. Famed for its energising effects and for improving tiredness and increasing stamina, gotu kola is an all round wonder plant, brimming with medicinal and nutritional merits. Stories are told of people in Sri Lanka noticing that elephants consume masses of this plant in their diet, perhaps this is why elephants are famous for both their memory and longevity! It is also revered as an elixir of the fountain of youth as it delays many of the effects of ageing.
It has been used for centuries as an aid to enhance meditation and to imbibe a deeper sense of calm and togetherness, as a prime rejuvenating brain tonic, dubbed a 'brain food' even,  which enhances memory and improves amnesia, improves attention and alertness, improves ADD/ADHD etc, improving IQ in some cases and even iimproving vocabulary in some people. Many people consider gotu kola an effective nootropic or 'smart drug'/cognitive enhancer. Typing "nootropic gotu kola" into a search engine will provide many examples of its use as  a cognitive enhancer and its anti-anxiety effects.
Gotu kola is also a nutritive nerve tonic and has been shown to speed up the repair of damaged nerve cells, indicating that it is a prime nerve tonic to use after any problem involving nerve damage. Conditions involving both nervous and circulatory systems such as tinnitus and dizziness can be greatly improved by gotu kola. Other conditions such as epilepsy, senile dementiaAlzheimer's, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders, concussion, convulsions, M.E. and even paralysis may be helped. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease could also benefit from gotu kola.
Sweet yet bitter taste, blood cooling, clearing heat (hence the Chinese name 'snow plant') and cleansing generally. traditionally used for fever and as an antidote to heatstroke.
Gotu kola is considered by some to be a specific remedy for anxiety. It can induce feelings of peace of mind yet can also prove uplifting in cases of depression where it can improve mood and act as a rejuvenating and energising remedy.
Gotu kola is also extremely efficient at healing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, ringworm, lichen planus and lupus type skin conditions. it is anti-inflammatory, reduces scar formation when used as a poultice or tincture on the wound, is antibacterial in wounds, promotes new cell growth and enhanced elasticity and collagen production, helps prevent stretch marks and post operative scars  It is being used in many skin creams as an anti-ageing an anti-wrinkle agent due to its collagen building activities. It can significantly improve healing from burns when used immediately after the incident as well as improving stubborn leg ulcers and other hard to treat lesions. Cellulitis also responds well to this herb. Its action on the connective tissue also explains its use for gum diseases.
Due to its anti-inflammatory, connective tissue growth promoting and blood flow stimulating effects, it can be of great benefit in cases of arthritis and rheumatism.
Gotu kola seems to have a wide ranging tonic effect on the immune response and has been used traditionally for conditions such as elephantitis/filaria, leprosy, shingles, the common cold, cholera, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhoea. It is also widely used against throat infections like tonsillitis.

Adrenal weakness and exhaustion (aka 'adrenal burnout) can be improved with gotu kola. Cushings syndrome may also be improved. Tiredness, deep fatigue (including chronic fatigue) and exhaustion can all be improved. Stress coping mechanisms are enhanced generally.
Can also help protect the nervous system against damage caused by pesticide exposure.
Liver cirrhosis, jaundice and many other digestive disorders and infections such as dysentery and diarrhoea are treated with gotu kola in many parts of the world.
Gotu kola also has at tonic like effect on the ductless glands (aka the endocrine glands comprising the pineal, pituitary, ovaries, testes, pancreas, adrenals, thyroid, parathyroid and hypothalamus). This makes it popular and effective against goitre and under-active thyroid gland and from conditions stemming from disorders of the pituitary gland.

Has many beneficial actions on the heart and circulatory systems, including slowing progression of arterial plaques, improves circulation and blood blow, strengthens veins and capillaries (reducing vessel fragility and preventing leakages form vessels), improves blood flow to the heart so preventative against heart attacks, congestive heart failure, stroke, phlebitis, varicose veins and many other venous disorders, particularly those affecting the lower limbs.
It also helps to rid the body of excess water and fluids so can be used in water retention, cellulitis and even helps with kidney and urinary tract infections such as cystitis and bladder weakness.
Some herbalists find that gotu kola is helpful when dealing with issues of recovery from addictions such as alcoholism and all kinds of drug addiction when used as a part of a herbal formula to help boost vitality and energy reserves at a time when the body most needs it.
Male impotence (and possibly male iinfertility) may be helped by its significant impact on blood flow, mood and energy levels.
Gotu kola is often included in formulas to maintain a healthy prostate gland.
Infuse the dried herb in sesame oil for a few days then rub a teaspoon of oil into the scalp each night to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Leave overnight and rinse off in the morning.
A growing number of studies (here and here ) are investigating the traditional use of gotu kola in the treatment of cancers and tumours. It may also prove useful in protecting the skin and body from the damaging effects of chemotherapy and radiation exposure.
Here is a link to a Philippine website detailing the many medicinal properties of gotu kola.
Another useful article entitled "More Benefits of Gotu Kola'



dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Avoid during early months of pregnancy due to possible stimulatory effect of uterus.

* Large doses can cause headache and gastrointestinal upset

* Avoid with epilepsy

* Use caution if taking prescribed medications for diabetes, hypertension, nervous conditions etc.



Tincture: 5 mls twice daily, or 10 mls sipped throughout the day.

Dried herb in tea form: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried herb per cup, up to 3 cups daily.

* Do not take at medicinal doses for more than 4 weeks without a break. Long term use for many years is regarded as safe however not every day continuously.



Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.





Child watering plants




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