Centella asiatica / Gotu Kola: Herbal Remedy for Scleroderma, Tuberculosis, Mental Health, and More 

DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.

Gotu kola, sometimes known as the “student herb” in Western society or as “pennywort” in Indian/Asia. Centella asiatica is a plant native to India and Southeast Asia where it is commonly used as a part of different traditional medicine systems as well as in various food dishes. 

 

The plant is used to treat the following health problems: 

 

Centella asiatica is less well-known for its ability to cure respiratory disease and more famous for its ability to treat skin problems and also to revitalize the nerves and brain. Nonetheless, because Centella asiatica is widely available throughout the world, we decided to mention it here. So, given these medicinal actions, this herb would be most appropriate for use in patients who not only suffer from lung disease, but who also perhaps have issues with the brain or the nerves. For example, a patient who suffers from chronic lung disease and neuralgia and perhaps psoriasis or eczema might fit the profile for someone who would benefit most from using Centella asiatica. Of course a variety of disease combinations that involve the lungs, skin, and brain or nerves could be appropriately treated with this herb too.

In the treatment of lung problems, one study noted that gotu kola (combined with Dimethylsulfoxide / DMSO in the study) improved the softness and flexibility of lung tissue in contrast with the control group. The same study also observed that there were fewer collagen deposits in the lungs of mice treated with Centella asiatica

 

To dose Centella asiatica / Gotu Kola, consider these dosing instructions (these are exclusively for adults up to age 65, since this herb should not be taken by children under 12 years of age. The doses below should be lowered for people over age 65 starting with a half-dose and increasing slowly if the patient tolerates treatment well:

 

  • Standardized extract – Take between 50-250mg of the extract, 2-3 times per day. The extracts should contain 40% asiaticoside, 30% asiatic acid, 30% madecassic acid, and 2% madecassoside. 
  • Capsulized form – This usually contains the dried herb. Follow the same dosing instructions as for the standardized extract.
  • Tincture form – Follow the instructions on the bottle or take between 30-60 drops or 1.5-3ml of the tincture three times per day. 
  • Dried herb form – Make a tea with the dried gotu kola and drink it 3 times a day.

 

Gotu kola / Centella asiatica doesn’t cause a lot of side effects. In some rare cases, the herb can cause headaches, stomach upsets, fatigue and/or drowsiness, dizziness, or nausea. Gotu kola / Centella asiatica should not generally be used medicinally for more than a month at a time since longer term, high dosage use may lead to liver problems. However, intentional short-term use is generally considered to be safe. Studies have shown that this plant is generally safe when used for 6 weeks continuously with a 2 week break period before resuming administration. Because of the plant’s effects on the liver, it should not be used in people who already have liver disease or who are taking medications specifically related to liver function. This warning is particularly important for those with lung diseases that may be rooted in the liver. For example, a number of lung diseases like plastic bronchitis / bronchitis fibroplastica may be caused by colonies of pathogens living in the liver.

 

This plant can raise blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels and as such, is not the right choice for someone with diabetes, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, or alcohol addiction. Gotu kola acts as a diuretic and as a sedative. Therefore, individuals who are taking statins, sedative drugs (like those for anxiety or insomnia), diuretics, and cholesterol lowering medications, as well as people with diabetes, should talk to a medical professional before taking gotu kola. 

 

 

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Resources:

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2022). Gotu kola. Retrieved April 21, 2022 from: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/gotu-kola 

 

Xia, Xiaoru, et. al. (2018). Asiatic acid prevents the development of interstitial lung disease in a hypochlorous acid-induced mouse model of scleroderma. Retrieved April 21, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950577/ 

 

RxList (2021). Gotu kola. Retrieved April 21, 2022 from: https://www.rxlist.com/gotu_kola/supplements.htm