Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): Amazing Medicinal Plant

Centella asiatica L. (Gotu Kola) is a tropical medicinal plant from the Apiaceae family. It is found in Southeast Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, as well as South Africa and Madagascar. It is indigenous to the warmer parts of both hemispheres. This plant grows naturally in wet, shaded areas up to 7000 feet and is frequently observed along the banks of rivers, streams, ponds, and irrigated fields. It also grows on stone walls or other rocky locations at elevations of around 2000 feet.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Centella asiatica has been regarded as a brain tonic due to its broad neuroprotective properties. Aside from this, numerous additional benefits have been described, including anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, antioxidant, antiulcer, and wound healing.

About 20 species of Gotu kola have been reported to grow in most tropical or moist pantropical environments, such as rice paddies, as well as rocky and higher elevations. Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) is a longevity plant that is commonly used in India and Nepal as part of traditional Ayurvedic therapy.
C. asiatica is one of the most effective herbal supplements for treating central nervous system (CNS) diseases. It balances mood and improves attention. Clinical research suggests that it can be utilized to treat venous and arterial disorders because it improves circulatory systems and connective tissues.

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Taxonomic Classification of Gotu Kola [Centella asiatica]

Taxonomic RankClassification

Habitat and Distribution of Gotu Kola

  • The plant grows in marshy areas around the country, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions.
  • Gotu Kola is most likely native to Southern Asia, where it grows in marshy or wet habitats in Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, China, and Mexico, as well as in parts of South America and Africa.
  • Gotu kola is a perennial plant native to tropical Africa, Asia, and Pacific islands. It can grow in practically any place as long as it remains moist.
  • It thrives in wet, shady settings such as a ground cover or near water at the edge of a pond, and it can also be grown in pots.
  • Centella asiatica (L) grows across the world, however, it is more common during the rainy season and in moist, marshy places.
  • It is very common in India’s marshy regions, which can reach heights of up to 700 meters.
  • The plant can also be found at elevations of 1550 meters in Sikkim and 1200 meters in Mount Abu (Rajasthan).
  • Plants grow naturally in moist, fertile, loose, sandy loam, and clayey soil.
  • It thrives well on well-drained soil during the rainy season.

Anatomy and Morphology of Centella asiatica

  • C. asiatica (L.) is a stoloniferous, perennial herb growing up to 15 cm (6 in.) tall. It has a slight scent. Some enormous varieties can reach heights of up to 25 cm (10 in.).
  • The stem is glabrous and striated, with roots at the nodes.
  • The leaves emerge alternately in clusters at stem nodes, with long petioles measuring 2-6 cm long and 1.5-5 cm wide. They are orbicular-reniform, with a sheathing base, crenate margins, and glabrous on both sides.
  • Flowers come in fascicled umbels, with each umbel containing three to four white, purple, or pink flowers; flowering occurs from April to June.
  • Fruits are around 2 inches long, oblong, rounded, and have a thicker pericarp. They are produced throughout the growing season.
  • Seeds have pendulous embryos that are laterally compressed.
Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola

How to Grow Gotu kola?

Soil: Gotu Kola grows best in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. This prevents water from pooling around the roots, which could cause rot, while simultaneously supplying the nutrients required for healthy growth.

Temperature: Maintaining the temperature within the appropriate range allows the plant to grow optimally. Temperatures outside of this range might cause stress on the plant, decreasing its general health and output.

Light: Gotu Kola prefers direct sunlight, but it may tolerate moderate shade. Providing adequate light ensures optimal photosynthesis and promotes vigorous, healthy growth.

Moisture: Gotu Kola requires a lot of moisture, therefore keep the soil moist at all times. Watering the plant daily or placing it in a water container helps to meet these requirements and keeps the soil moist.

Fertilization: Regular use of fish and seaweed fertilizers offers critical nutrients for optimum growth. Alternating between these fertilizers promotes a balanced nutritional profile in the soil.

Grooming: Because of its quick proliferation, Gotu Kola must be trimmed regularly to remain under control. Repotting every year or two keeps the plant from becoming root-bound and maintains vigor.

Seasonal Care: Gotu Kola can better respond to shifting environmental circumstances by varying their fertilizer and watering schedules according to the season. Waterlogging and nutrient buildup in the soil can be avoided by reducing winter watering and fertilization.

How to Propagate Gotu Kola

Preparation: Choose a healthy Gotu Kola plant from which to take cuttings. Look for stems that are healthy and devoid of sickness or injury.

Cuttings: Using sharp pruning shears or a knife, remove numerous stems from the plant. Each cut should be 3 to 6 inches long and contain at least one node. A node is the point on a stem where a leaf is attached. This is critical for successful root development since roots arise from the nodes.

Trimming and Preparing Cuttings: Once you have your cuttings, remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem. This reduces moisture loss and directs the plant’s energy to root development.

Planting: Fill small pots or containers with a potting mix or soil that drains well. Make tiny holes in the earth with your finger or a pencil. Insert the cuttings into the holes, making certain that at least one node is buried beneath the soil surface. To add support, gently firm the earth around the base of the cutting.

Placement: Keep the pots in a bright area with indirect sunshine. Avoid placing the cuttings in direct sunlight, since this can cause them to wilt or dry out. A shady location with bright, filtered light is great for roots.

Watering: Keep the soil regularly moist but not overly wet. Water the cuttings regularly, using a watering can or a spray bottle to prevent disrupting the fragile root system. Mist the leaves on occasion to keep the humidity surrounding the cuttings consistent.

Monitoring: Keep an eye out for evidence of growth on the cuttings in the coming weeks. New leaves and roots should sprout from the nodes within a few weeks. Once the roots have formed and the plants are growing vigorously, they can be moved into larger containers or directly into the garden.

Repotting: Once the cuttings have formed a strong root system and numerous sets of leaves, they can be transferred into larger pots or directly into the garden. Gotu Kola enjoys wet, fertile soil and protection from direct sunlight, so choose a spot with well-drained soil and some shade.

Chemical Composition and Active Components of Gotu Kola

It has been widely researched for the identification of its bioactive components. It contains amino acids (e.g., alanine, serine, aspartate, and glutamate), phenols (e.g., kaempferol and quercetin), terpenoids (e.g., asiaticoside, centelloside, madecassoside, and brahmoside), and carbohydrates (e.g., glucose, mesoinositol, and centellose), making it useful for health and food supplements.

Active CompoundChemical ClassificationUses
AsiaticosideTriterpenoidStrengthens skin cells, improves repair, stimulates blood cells and the immune system, acts as a natural antibiotic
MadecassosideTriterpenoidPlays a role in repairing cell damage by synthesizing collagen, enhances wound healing, reduces keloid formation
Asiatic AcidTriterpenoidAntioxidant, skin regeneration
Madecassic AcidTriterpenoidAnti-inflammatory, collagen synthesis
TriterpenoidsTriterpenoidNeuroprotection, anti-anxiety
FlavonoidsPolyphenolsAntioxidant, anti-inflammatory
Phenolic acidsPolyphenolsAntioxidant, anti-inflammatory
TanninsPolyphenolsAntioxidant, wound healing
Essential oilsVolatile compoundsAromatic, potential therapeutic effects
SaponinsGlycosidesAnti-inflammatory, wound healing
Beta-caroteneCarotenoidsAntioxidant, skin health
Vitamin CVitaminAntioxidant, collagen synthesis
Amino acidsOrganic compoundsProtein synthesis, cognitive function
PhenolsOrganic compoundsAntioxidant, anti-inflammatory
BrahmosideGlycosidesAntioxidant, neuroprotective
CarbohydratesOrganic compoundsEnergy source, cellular function

Benefits/Uses of Gotu Kola

C. asiatica’s popularity in food and beverages originates from its excellent functional characteristics. The plant’s bioactive constituents, including triterpenic acid (asiatic acid madecassoside acid), triterpenic saponin (madecassoside and asiaticoside), flavonoids, and other phenolic compounds, have been linked to potential antioxidant, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and neuroprotective properties, as reported in numerous studies. These chemicals are responsible for a variety of health advantages.

Health Benefits of Gotu Kola

Boost Cognitive Function: Some preliminary research suggests that gotu kola can improve memory and overall cognitive function, implying that it may have therapeutic promise for Alzheimer’s disease. Positive results were achieved for the efficacy of gotu kola extract and folic acid in restoring cognitive function after a stroke. Both gotu kola and folic acid helped participants equally, although gotu kola proved more successful at improving memory.

Varicose veins: Several studies have found that gotu kola can be utilized to treat varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Participants who took a gotu kola supplement for eight weeks saw improvements in the health of their veins, including less inflammation and pain.

Sedative and Anxiolytic characteristics: Gotu kola has long been known in Indian literature for its CNS effects, which include sedative and tranquilizing characteristics. Compounds such as brahmoside and brahminoside are thought to contribute to its sedative effects, whilst its anxiolytic activity may entail binding to cholecystokinin receptors (CCKB), which influences anxiety and memory modulation.

Antidepressant Properties: Studies have shown that total triterpenes from gotu kola have antidepressant properties, as evidenced by reduced immobility time and balanced amino acid levels in mouse brain tissue. These triterpenes may also impact corticosterone levels and improve HPA axis function, as well as increase monoamine neurotransmitter levels like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Antiepileptic Properties: Gotu kola has been shown to reduce seizures by raising GABA levels in the brain. Aqueous gotu kola extracts have shown potential in animal models for seizure reduction and cognitive impairment prevention. Furthermore, its hydroalcoholic extracts have anticonvulsant and antioxidant effects, possibly through regulation of oxidative stress indicators and neurotransmitter levels.

Cognitive and antioxidant properties: Gotu kola is thought to revitalize the brain and nervous system, improve cognitive performance, and combat aging. Studies have indicated that it has cognitive-enhancing and antioxidant properties, notably in situations such as Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroprotective effects are mediated by pathways including CREB phosphorylation and regulation of oxidative defense systems.

Stomach Ulcer: Gotu kola preparations have been shown to effectively suppress stomach ulcers caused by ethanol and stress, probably by strengthening the gastric mucosal barrier and lowering oxidative damage. Its antiulcer action has been compared to common medications such as famotidine and sodium valproate, and the results are promising in terms of ulcer prevention.

Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory Properties: Gotu kola extracts have strong antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties, which support their historic usage in the treatment of inflammatory disorders such as rheumatism. Compounds such as madecassoside have been researched for their anti rheumatoid arthritis properties, implying possible therapeutic implications in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Skin Benefits of Gotu Kola

Hydration: Skin hydration is crucial as age, health issues, and environmental factors can deplete and damage the skin barrier. As a result, the skin retains little moisture and becomes dehydrated. Triterpenoid saponins, triterpenic steroids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and essential amino acids are among the bioactive substances found in gotu kola. They help restore the skin barrier and decrease transepidermal water loss. Your skin appears plumper, moisturized, and healthy when the stratum corneum contains more moisture.

High in antioxidants: Oxidative stress is a major factor in premature skin aging and a wide range of skin problems, including skin cancer. Normally, enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase have antioxidant properties and reduce the quantity of free radicals in the body. Furthermore, the start of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 reduces oxidative stress.

Used for skin cleansing: Ayurvedic research claims that gotu kola has great cleansing capabilities. It cleanses your skin and eliminates harmful ama toxins, which are known to cause a variety of skin disorders. Furthermore, its astringent properties eliminate excess oil from the skin, leaving your pores squeaky clean.

Used for tightening loose skin: Skin sagging is a natural process that occurs as we age. Phytochemicals in gotu kola, particularly triterpenoid saponins, and polyacetylenes, have been shown to increase collagen formation, limit collagen degradation, and stimulate fibroblast proliferation. This offers the skin structural support and increases its suppleness.

Promotes Wound Healing: Wounds and burns can be effectively treated with gotu kola. Its antibacterial effects prevent further infection, while its anti-inflammatory actions minimize swelling near the wound site. Gotu kola soothes the skin and increases blood circulation to the wound, allowing it to recover more quickly.

It increases collagen production and fibroblast proliferation, which speeds up re-epithelialization and wound contraction. This improves the tensile strength of the healing area and avoids wound disintegration.

Has skin brightening and whitening properties: Frequent sun exposure, as well as health disorders like diabetes, can increase excess melanin formation, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Gotu kola is classified as a ‘varnya’ (skin whitening) plant in Ayurvedic scriptures.

Its extracts comprising centelloids, flavonoids, and tannins have significant tyrosinase inhibition properties, which diminish melanogenesis. Thus, regular application of gotu kola can reduce dark spots and give your skin a clear, brilliant glow.

Reduces stress marks: Stress, depression, and anxiety can have a major impact on your skin’s health. Chronic stress is frequently linked to skin aging and the formation of stress markings on the face. Gotu Kola is known for its soothing, antidepressant, and anti-aging effects. The herb can be consumed and applied topically.

Treats skin infections: Gotu kola contains antibacterial and antiviral characteristics that can help heal a variety of skin problems. Asiatic acid in gotu kola is efficient against a variety of bacterial pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, among others.

Gotu Kola Benefits for Hair

Improves hair growth: One surprising benefit of Centella Asiatica for hair is its ability to promote hair growth. The presence of triterpenoids in Centella Asiatica promotes blood circulation to the scalp and the growth of hair follicle cells. As a result, hair gains strength and density.

Helps reduce hair loss: For many people, hair loss can be a cause for concern. Centella Asiatica is regarded as one of the most effective natural therapies for hair loss. It revitalizes hair follicles and prevents premature hair loss. It also stimulates the formation of collagen, a necessary protein for keeping a healthy scalp and developing thick hair.

Revitalizes the scalp: A healthy scalp serves as the foundation for stronger and smoother hair. Gotu Kola has a relaxing impact on the scalp, reducing itching and inflammation. It also hydrates the scalp, reducing dryness and dandruff.

Repair and Restores Hair Health: Centella Asiatica, a potent antioxidant, combats free radical damage. It aids in the repair and restoration of hair subjected to various environmental toxins or chemical processes.

Solution for Dandruff: Dandruff is a bothersome problem that many people struggle to get rid of. Fortunately, Centella Asiatica’s anti-inflammatory qualities can help alleviate dandruff problems.

Improves hair quality: Gotu Kola increases overall hair quality by increasing thickness, resulting in silkier, glossier, and more manageable hair.

Side Effects of Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is usually thought to be safe for most individuals when used correctly. However, as with any herb or supplement, it may have adverse effects or interfere with certain drugs.

  • Topical use of gotu kola may produce skin irritation or allergic responses in some people. It is recommended that you run a patch test before using it extensively.
  • In some situations, gotu kola might cause stomach distress, nausea, or headache.
  • High doses of gotu kola may cause dizziness or acute sleepiness in sensitive persons.
  • Gotu kola includes chemicals that may impair liver function. When coupled with other drugs or chemicals that affect liver health, it may cause liver damage.
  • Animal studies have revealed that gotu kola increases blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should exercise caution and see a doctor before eating gotu kola.
  • Gotu kola has diuretic qualities that may exacerbate the effects of diuretic drugs or herbs, resulting in excess fluid loss and electrolyte abnormalities.
  • Because of its sedative properties, gotu kola may enhance the effects of medications or herbs used to treat anxiety or sleeplessness. Combining gotu kola with sedative drugs or supplements should be done with caution.

If you notice symptoms of an allergic response, such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek medical attention right once.

Gotu Kola Products

Gotu kola powder: Used for its potential health benefits, including as cognitive assistance and skin regeneration.

Gotu Kola capsule: Widely used to boost cognitive performance, reduce stress, and promote general well-being.

Gotu Kola Dietary supplement: Often used to boost mental clarity, alleviate anxiety, and improve circulation.

Gotu Kola skin care products: Potential benefits for skin health. Creams, lotions, and serums with gotu kola extract are used to promote wound healing, decrease scars, and improve skin elasticity.

Gotu Kola Tea: Boosts cognitive performance, lowering stress and anxiety, stimulating circulation, and maintaining skin health.


      • Oyedeji, O. A., & Afolayan, A. J. (2005). Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activity of the Essential Oil of Centella asiatica. Growing in South Africa. Pharmaceutical Biology43(3), 249–252.
      • Wardatul Husna Irham et al 2019 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1232 012019DOI 10.1088/1742-6596/1232/1/012019
      • Shukurova MK, Myint D, Yi SS, Saw OM and Watanabe KN (2021) Morphological Description and Ethnobotanical Review of the Orphan Crop Myin-Hkwa (Centella asiatica L.) From Myanmar. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 5:680862. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.680862

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      Kabita Sharma

      Kabita Sharma, a Central Department of Chemistry graduate, is a young enthusiast interested in exploring nature's intricate chemistry. Her focus areas include organic chemistry, drug design, chemical biology, computational chemistry, and natural products. Her goal is to improve the comprehension of chemistry among a diverse audience through writing.

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