Generic Name: Centella Asiatica, Gotu Kola
Brand Names: Brahma-Buti, Indian pennywort, Hydrocotyle
Drug Class: Herbals
Available Dosage Forms: Oral capsule, tincture, tea, powder, and topical
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella Asiatica is a plant species utilized for its neuroprotective, neurodegenerative, and antioxidant properties in traditional medicine to treat various diseases and disorders of the nervous system. The neuroprotective effects of Centella Asiatica are especially well recognized due to the availability of many studies that report neuroprotective outcomes with its use.1 It aids in neurotransmission by promoting the function of the dendrite network, which are branches of communication between adjacent neurons. Billions of neurons form connections between the brain, spinal cord, and target organ, tissue, or cells.
The following neuroprotective outcomes have been discovered with Centella Asiatica:
- Delay of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Improvement of memory and cognitive performance
- Reversal of neurotoxicity
- Improvement in neuropsychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety
- Reduces the frequency of seizures in epilepsy
- Protection against neuronal apoptosis (cell death)
In an eight-week study, rat models subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress were administered Fluoxetine and Centella Asiatica. The trial results concluded that the herb had comparable efficacy to Fluoxetine in treating depression, anxiety, and amnesia.3
It is hypothesized that the aqueous extracts of Centella elicit antidepressive effects by upregulating the inhibitory action of GABA neurotransmitters. GABA inhibits excitatory activity in the brain and elevates mood by producing a calming effect. A study evaluated the degree of improvement in mood dimensions in healthy female participants one hour before and after consuming a single serving of Centella Asiatica smoothie. The results exhibited a marked improvement in emotional contentedness and alertness.2
How to use Centella Asiatica?
-It can be consumed as a tea daily using 600 mg of tea dried leaves and 150 ml of water. Do not take more than three cups in a day.
-Tinctures are added to a liquid. Take 30-60 drops thrice daily
-You can also take supplement capsules with a dosage of 300-500mg twice daily
-Consumption of dried leaves of the herb should not exceed beyond 600mg orally thrice daily
-Use topical formulation of Centella Asiatica to treat small wounds, burns, scratches, skin irritation
-Do not drive after taking large doses
-Do not take Gotu Kala continuously for more than two weeks
-Take a 2-week break and then resume use
What are the side effects of Centella Asiatica?
Common side effects include:
-High blood sugar
-High blood pressure
Who should not use Centella Asiatica?
It is considered safe but should be used cautiously in the following conditions:
-Pregnancy and lactation
- Lokanathan Y, Omar N, Ahmad Puzi NN, Saim A, Hj Idrus R. Recent Updates in Neuroprotective and neuroregenerative Potential of Centella Asiatica. Malays J Med Sci. 2016;23(1):4-14.
- Lawal OM, Wakel F, Dekker M. Consumption of fresh Centella Asiatica improves short-term alertness and contentedness in healthy females. J Funct Foods. 2021;77:104337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2020.104337
- Jagadeesan S, Musa Chiroma S, Baharuldin MTH, Taib CNM, Amom Z, Adenan MI, Moklas MAM. Centella asiatica prevents chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced behavioral changes in rats. Biomed Res Ther. 2019;6(6):3233-4. https://doi.org/10.15419/bmrat.v6i6.550