What Is Gotu Kola?
Gotu Kola is a plant that grows within India and Southeast Asia. It has a fan-like structure and is related to parsley. This wetland plant is commonly used within various cultural medicinal traditions, including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and African medicine. It is often used to treat various ailments and conditions.
Recently, the leaves of this plant have been used for cognitive enhancement. Not only does it boost cognition, but it also helps control one’s mood. In the United States, it’s known as ‘Indian pennywort,’ and is used to target symptoms of anxiety and depression.
History of Gotu Kola
This plant has a vast history within the folk medicines of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Within Indian culture, it has been used for generations, targeting memory and relaxation. It has also been used to aid in the art of meditation.
Within Chinese medicine, this plant is said to promote longevity. This is why it has been named ‘fountain of youth,’ within Chinese culture. Within Sri Lanka, it’s said that elephants live a long time because they consume this highly beneficial plant.
Within more modern studies, it has been found that gotu kola supports healthy memory function. A study conducted in 1992, showed an impressive improvement in the memory of rats, which were given an oral extract daily, for 14 days. Those rats that were treated with gotu kola, were 3 to 60 times better than control rats regarding the retention of learned behavior.
The Effects of Gotu Kola
The calming effects of gotu kola, are due to its tendency to bind to cholecystokinin receptor sites. These receptor sites can be found throughout one’s central nervous system. They’re responsible for regulating various emotional responses, relating to pain relief, anxiety, and satisfaction.
There are also compounds known as brahmoside and brahminoside, which act as sedatives. These sedatives can also be found in Bacopa Monnieri (another well-known stress reliever). Gotu Kola also reduces inflammation and blood pressure. When this effect is combined with collagen production, it may help eliminate bacteria and viruses which lead to infection.
Best Way to Consume Gotu Kola
You can purchase gotu kola in many forms, including tablets, teas, and capsules. If you’d like to experience a quick mental pick me-up, make a gotu kola tea. Do not use regular tea, as it contains caffeine. Simply brew one teaspoon of dried gotu kola in a cup of hot water. To mask the bitterness, you can add a spoon or two of lemon or honey.
Tea is the most traditional way to consume herbs. It’s also the ideal choice for those that have weak digestion. Capsules are also another common way to administer gotu kola, as it’s safe and easy. You can take one or two 500 mg capsules daily. Please refer to the recommended daily dose below to learn more.
Benefits of Gotu Kola
As mentioned, gotu kola is excellent for both stress and anxiety. It helps to calm the nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation within a few short minutes after consumption. For this purpose, gotu kola is generally brewed in a tea.
In order to produce an even stronger effect, this plant can be paired with other supplements that increase your GABA response. Supplements that influence your GABA response, tend to work by inhibiting over-firing of nerve cells when stress levels are high.
Gotu helps decrease levels of fatigue, both physically and mentally. This helps users maintain energy levels. Since gotu also decreases inflammation, individuals feel relief from their tired muscles, and any pain relief associated with muscle fatigue.
Due to its benefits gotu kola is recommended for a light therapy option for severe cognitive disorders. Many Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients are focusing on the positive effects that nootropics and other herbal supplements offer.
This is because gota kola is believed to balance and calm confusing thoughts. It helps relax muscles that may be difficult for the patients to control. It’s also used to battle the common cold, improve circulation, and heal a wound.
Potential Side-Effects of Gotu Kola
This supplement is considered to be very mild and is generally easy to tolerate. If you have a liver impairment or a disease such as hepatitis, please refrain from using this herb. In these cases, it tends to aggravate symptoms.
It should also not be taken with any medication that affects one’s liver. This is true for medications like Tylenol as well. Due to its sedative nature, it’s not recommended that you mix your dose with any other depressant medication. To prevent excessive sedation, please avoid Ativam, Ambien, and Klonopin.
In some rare cases, individuals have experienced an upset stomach, drowsiness, and headaches. This herb can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so make sure you’re properly protected while taking gotu kola. If you have a history of skin cancer or melanoma, then you should also refrain from taking this herb.
When taking gotu kola, there appears to be a wide range of effective doses. When taking gotu kola for circulation or clotting support, a dose of 300 mg is adequate. If you’re looking to improve mood and relieve stress, then 500 mg, twice a day is suggested.
More recently, 12 grams was successfully administered for extreme panic attacks. With any supplement, start with a lose dose. The starting dose ranges from 500 mg to 4000 mg. These doses can be taken up to three times daily. If you take too much, the main risk is over-sedation, as it is so effective when calming your nerves.