Gotu Kola -- An Under-Appreciated Herb

Multifaceted Benefits on Microcirculation for Cardiovascular and Cognitive Health
By Linda Fugate, PhD
The best nutrition in the world will not do anyone any good if it doesn’t reach our tissues. The gatekeeper to tissues is the microcirculatory system, which includes blood vessels smaller than 0.1 mm in diameter. The health of the microcirculatory system is now recognized as critical to the total health of the individual. (1)

The capillaries are the smallest blood vessels. These are responsible for the exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products between the blood and the tissues. The structure of the capillary walls is complex, and varies according to the tissues they supply. Arterioles are the vessels that control the blood supply to the capillary beds. These small arteries expand or contract to direct blood flow to the parts of the body where it is most needed. The venules drain the capillary beds and send blood back to the heart. All venules serve as an area where leukocytes (white blood cells) can escape from the blood to the tissue space.

For years, I wondered why chronically elevated blood sugar can cause diabetics to go blind, require amputation of a foot, or induce kidney damage. The problem is damage to the microcirculation. Poor regulation of both sugar and insulin can damage the capillaries and their supporting vessels. The microcirculation of the retina, kidneys, and peripheral nerves is especially susceptible to diabetic damage. Once the microcirculation becomes dysfunctional, damage to the surrounding tissue follows.

Diabetics are not the only ones who need to worry about circulation. Deterioration of the microcirculation is called microangiopathy, and it can damage any part of the body. (2) Most Americans worry about cardiovascular health in terms of the heart and major arteries. Since heart disease is our leading cause of death, it is understandable that so much attention is focused on preventing heart attacks. However, damage to the rest of the circulatory system is a significant cause of disease and disability. (1,2)

Gotu Kola’s Effect on the Circulatory System
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) or Indian Pennywort, has been used since prehistoric times in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat a variety of conditions, (3) including anxiety (4) and wound healing difficulties.(5) Researchers at the Irvine Vascular Laboratory of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, along with their colleagues at Ealing Hospital in London, recently published a series of papers on the effects of Gotu Kola on the circulatory system. (6-15) This detailed study shows that many of the benefits of Gotu Kola may be attributed to its enhancement of circulatory health.

A common indication of circulatory problems is edema, or accumulation of too much fluid in the tissues. Edema is most easily measured by swelling of the ankles and fingers. Gotu Kola reduced edema in numerous studies, including subjects traveling on airplanes for 3 hours or more. (6,7,9-14) Analytical tests of vascular function include laser Doppler flowmetry, transcutaneous oxygen, transcutaneous carbon dioxide, capillary filtration rate, and venoarteriolar response. Each of these measurements showed that Gotu Kola improves circulation in patients with vascular deficiencies. (6-15) Both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects were included in the tests.

In addition, Gotu Kola reduced the risk of cerebrovascular injury from carotid (8) and femoral (15) plaques, by stabilizing the plaques to prevent further damage. These plaques are not part of the microcirculation. Thus, Gotu Kola may benefit the health of the entire circulatory system.

In addition to its role in circulatory health, Gotu Kola has been reported to act as an antioxidant (16-18) and to enhance the production of collagen and gastric mucosa. (18-22) Together, these actions produce a powerful aid to maintaining good health.

From Wound Healing to Brain Health
One of the traditional benefits of Gotu Kola is enhanced wound healing. In modern times, wounds of concern include surgical incisions and gastric ulcers. Healing of incisions causes unsightly scars, an issue of great concern in plastic surgery. Clinical studies have shown that extracts of Gotu Kola reduce scar formation. (20) The mechanism is believed to be enhancement of collagen production. A similar effect on the mucosal barrier of the stomach appears to explain the protective effect of Gotu Kola for gastric ulcers and lesions induced in lab animals. (19,23,24)

Similar results have been observed with other tissue problems. Two studies with animals demonstrate that Gotu Kola can protect healthy tissue from injury by clinical radiotherapy. (25,26) A review of treatment options for hemorrhoids and varicose veins shows that Gotu Kola can ameliorate these conditions by improving the microcirculation and by strengthening the connective tissue. (27) Gotu Kola has also been shown to benefit the skin disease psoriasis. (28)

Numerous studies have been performed on Gotu Kola’s effects on wound healing. (5,18,22,29) Gotu Kola aids in repairing the microcirculation, enhancing collagen growth where needed, and preventing oxidative damage.


Besides wound healing, Gotu Kola has traditionally been used for its benefits on the mind. Indian literature describes Gotu Kola’s stimulatory-nervine tonic as having rejuvenant, sedative, tranquilizer and intelligence promoting properties. (16) In animal studies, rats fed Gotu Kola demonstrated improvements in learning and memory. (16) Asiatic acid, one of the components of Gotu Kola, has been patented by Hoechst Aktiengesellschaft (EP 0 383 171 A2) as a treatment for dementia, and a Korean research team has developed three chemical derivatives of Asiatic acid in hopes of enhancing its anti-dementia effect. (17) Canadian researchers found that Gotu Kola reduces the acoustic startle response in humans, and may be an effective treatment for anxiety. (4)

In summary, Gotu Kola may potentially benefit the following conditions:

  • Poor circulation
  • Edema or ankle swelling
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Surgical scars
  • Radiotherapy injury
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Varicose veins
  • Dementia/Poor cognitive function
  • Anxiety

Gotu Kola’s primary action is enhancement of the health of the circulatory system. Because circulation is critical to the health of the entire body, Gotu Kola offers benefits in a variety of conditions. The antioxidant and collagen supportive functions of Gotu Kola are particularly important in enhancing healing of damaged tissues.

Alpha-lipoic Highly recommended source of nutrients and supplements. vitamins antioxidants supplements

How did we qualify them ?

1. Effros, RM, ed., Microcirculation: Current Physiologic, Medical, and Surgical Concepts, 1981, New York, Academic Press.

2. Mortillaro, NA, The Physiology and Pharmacology of the Microcirculation, Vol. 1 and 2, 1984, Orlando, Academic Press.

3. Brinkhaus B, Lindner M, Schuppan D, Hahn EG, Phytomedicine 2000 Oct;7(5):427-48.

4. Bradwejn J, Zhou Y, Koszycki D, Shlik J, J. Clin. Psychopharmacol 2000 Dec;20(6): 680-4.

5. Maquart FX, et al, Eur. J. Dermatol 1999 June;9(4):289-96.

6. Incandela L, et al, Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S9-13.

7. Cesarone MR, et al Angiology 2001 Oct; 52 Suppl 2:S15-18.

8. Cesarone MR, et al, Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S19-25.

9. Incandela L, et al Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S27-31.

10. Cesarone MR, et al Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S33-7.

11. Cesarone MR, et al, Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S45-8.

12. Cesarone MR, et al, Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S49-54.

13. De Sanctis MT, et al Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S55-9.

14. Incandela L, et al Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S61-7.

15. Incandela L, et al Angiology 2001 Oct;52 Suppl 2:S69-73.

16. Veerendra Kumar MH, Gupta YK, J. Ethnopharmacol 2000 Feb;79(2):253-60

17. Lee MK, et al Res. Commun. Mol. Pathol. Pharmacol 2000 Jul-Aug;108(1-2):75-86.

18. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Dhawan BN, Phytother. Res. 1999 Feb;13(1):50-4.

19. Sairam K, Rao CV, Goel RK, Indian J. Exp. Biol. 2001 Feb;39(2):137-42.

20. Widgerow AD, Chait LA, Stals R, Stals PJ, Aesthetic Plast. Surg. 2000 May-Jun;24(3):227-34.

21. Sunilkumar, Parameshwaraiah S, Shivakumar HG, Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1998 Jun;36(6):569-72.

22. Suguna L, Sivakumar P, Chandrakasan G., Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1996 Dec;34(12):1208-11.

23. Chatterjee TK, Chakraborty A, Pathak M, Sengupta GC, Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1992 Oct;30(10):889-91.

24. Cheng CL, Koo MW, Life Sci 2000 Oct 13;67(21):2647-53.

25. Shobi V, Goel HC, Physiol. Behav 2001 May;73(1-2):19-23.

26. Chen YJ, Dai YS, Chen BF, Chang A, Chen HC, Lin YC, Chang KH, Lai YL, Chung CH, Lai YJ, Biol. Pharm. Bull. 1999 Jul;22(7):703-6.

27. MacKay D, Altern. Med. Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):126-40.

28. Sampson JH, Raman A, Karlsen G, Navsaria H, Leigh IM, Phytomedicine 2001 May;8(3):230-5.

29. Shukla A, Rasik AM, Jain GK, Shankar R, Kulshrestha DK, Dhawan BN, J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Apr;65(1):1-11.

Get Neuron Growth Factors Here

Binaural Beat Brainwave Entrainment Audio TechnologyAdvanced Human Biochemical Enhancement

This site is featured in the  Infinite Play the Movie

 Home  | About Us | Contact Us | Translation Services | Request Or Comment | Products | Services | Projects
Copyright  Intelegen Inc. 1995 - 2010 All rights reserved

Nutrients Vitamins