Gotu Kola

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What is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola is an herb in the parsley family. It is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine.

Gotu kola is used for burns, poor circulation that can lead to varicose veins (venous insufficiency), scars, stretch marks, and many other conditions but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How it Works:

Gotu kola contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and also decrease blood pressure in veins. Gotu kola also seems to increase collagen production, which is important for wound healing.

Works for:

  • Burns. Applying gotu kola to second-degree burns seems todecrease the time that it takes for burns to heal.
  • Poor circulation that can lead to varicose veins and other conditions (venous insufficiency). Taking gotu kola or a specific extract of gotu kola (Centellase) by mouth for 4-8 weeks seems to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in people with poor blood circulation in the legs.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). People with atherosclerosis have fatty deposits called plaques along the lining of their blood vessels. There is some evidence that taking gotu kola for 3 months to 4 years, with or without maritime pine, might help stabilize these plaques so they are less likely to break off and trigger clot formation. This could reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research suggests that taking a combination of gotu kola, ginkgo, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 4 months does not improve mental function in healthy elderly adults.
  • Blood clots that form in the veins (venous thromboembolism or VTE). Gotu kola might help prevent blood clots from occurring during long plane flights. Early research shows that gotu kola might decrease fluid retention and improve blood circulation in people traveling on airplanes for more than 3 hours. However, it is not known if this finding translates into fewer blood clots.
  • A disease of small blood vessels in people with diabetes (diabetic microangiopathy). Taking gotu kola for 6-12 months might help increase circulation and decrease fluid retention in people with diabetes whose small blood vessels have been damaged by their disease.
  • Excess scar tissue (keloids). There is some evidence that applying an extract of gotu kola to the skin might help reduce keloids. Early research also shows that taking gotu kola by mouth may improve the appearance of keloids.
  • Scarring. Early research suggests that applying a specific gotu kola cream (Alpha Centella, not available in the U.S.) to the skin twice daily for 6-8 weeks after the removal of stitches might help reduce scarring.
  • A disease caused by parasitic worms (schistosomiasis). There is some evidence that gotu kola injected by a healthcare provider might help bladder wounds caused by a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis.
  • Stretch marks. Applying cream containing gotu kola and other ingredients may help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Early research also shows that taking gotu kola seems to make stretch marks thicker and more flexible when compared to using stretch mark creams.
  • Wound healing. Early research shows that applying gotu kola on the skin helps improve wound healing.

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