Gotu Kola for Hair Regrowth
What is Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is an herbal remedy, which originates in Eastern Asia where it played an important role in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Today, gotu kola is widely used for many different purposes. The herb and its extracts are used for treating circulatory disorders, such as chronic venous insufficiency, for improving memory and focus, reducing symptoms of anxiety, improving the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite, and other medical conditions.
Gotu kola is also sometimes used in hair care preparations and as a remedy against hair loss.
Gotu Kola and Hair Loss
Hair loss happens for many different reasons, including genetics, age, poor nutrition, injury to the scalp, certain medications (like blood thinners or chemotherapy agents) and medical conditions.
Gotu kola contains active substances that promote healthy hair and is able to help in some cases of hair loss. Whether gotu kola can help or not, mainly depends on the cause of the condition. Let’s take a closer look at how gotu kola works for hair regrowth.
Gotu Kola Promotes Healthy Circulation and Nourishes the Scalp
Gotu kola is well known for its positive effects on the circulatory system (1), (2), (3). It strengthens the walls of the blood vessels and promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body. Better circulation means that more oxygen and nutrients get to the scalp, which in turn supports the health of hair follicles and growth of new hair.
This action of gotu kola is somewhat similar to the action of medication Minoxidil, which is an OTC medication used for treating androgenic alopecia in both men and women. Similarly as gotu kola, Minoxidil works by dilating teh blood vessels and promoting blood flow to the scalp.
Gotu Kola Contains Active Substances That Calm Down Inflammation in the Scalp
Hair loss is sometimes related to inflammation (this is the case in conditions, such as cicatricial (scarring) alopecia and alopecia areata). The treatment for these conditions often involves the use of ointments or injections with corticosteroids (medications that fight inflammation).
Gotu Kola Fights Stress Related Hair Loss
Stress has long been associated with hair loss and it is sometimes seen as a trigger for alopecia areata. Gotu kola has traditionally been used in various tonics for the nerves. It helps calms down the nervous system and modulates important brain chemicals, such as the neurotransmitter GABA (7), (8), (9). By alleviating the effects of stress on the body, gotu kola helps hair loss associated to stress and enables the hair to regenerate.
Gotu kola Supports Healthy Hair by Reducing Dandruff
Gotu kola has antibacterial and antifungal properties (10). Becuase of this gotu kola works for dandruff, which is caused by yeast-like fungus malassezia (a fungus that lives on the scalp of almost all adults). Some people develop sensitivity to this fungus, which causes their skin cells to grow more quickly. When this extra skin falls off, you can see the typical picture of dandruff – white and flaky spots on your scalp, hair or clothes.
What Do the Studies Say
Gotu kola has been the subject of many studies in the recent years. However, most of the studies were focused on the way gotu kola works for circulation disorders or how it improves brain health. There were essentially very few studies made specifically about gotu kola and hair regrowth.
In 2011 Indian study (11), gotu kola ointment was applied topically on shaved skin of rats. Hair length, density and serum protein were measured after 72 hours. All these parameters were significantly better in the gotu kola group than in control group (rats that received ointment without any active ingredient). It is important to note that in this same stud another ointment was used, which contained other herbs that stimulate hair growth alongside gotu kola (polyherbal preparation). This ointment performed even better than the ointment that contained gotu kola extract.
Another study (12), compared the effects of a cream with gumamela extract (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), gotu kola extract and a mix of these two plant extracts. Thsi placebo controlled study concluded that the cream with gotu kola stimulated faster hair growth than the placebo cream; however, best rtesults were again seen with the cream that contained a mix of different herbal extracts (gotu kola and gumamela working synergistoically in one cream).
To Sum Up
Gotu Kola shows promising results for alleviatingh hair loss caused by different factors. Still, few studies were made on the subject, so more research is needed before we can reach any conclusions. It seems though, that gotu kola works best when combined with other herbal remedies that also promote healthy scalp and hair regrowth.
How to Take Gotu Kola for Hair Regrowth
If you are planning to take gotu kola for hair health and regrowth, you can take it either by mouth or you can apply hair care products containing gotu kola directly to the scalp.
Due to the lack of studies on the subject, there is no recommended dosage for gotu kola and hair regeneration.
General recommendation for gotu kola taken orally is 300 to 500 mg twice daily. You can take gotu kola by mouth in the form of capsules or loose powder. Both forms have their own benefits; capsules are more convenient, while powder is typically more cost effective - especially if you are taking large amounts of gotu kola or you are planning to take it for a while.
If you decide to apply gotu kola directly to the scalp, you have several options. You can get hair oil with gotu kola or multi-herbal oil that has a combination of gotu kola with other herbs for hair regrowth.
Alternatively, you can prepare your own gotu kola hair mask. To do this, you need to get fine gotu kola powder (such as Banyan Botanicals gotu kola powder) and mix it with aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. You then apply this paste directly to scalp and hair and leave it for at least 10 to 20 minutes before you rinse it off with warm water.
If you decide to use gotu kola hair oil or mask for boosting the health of your hair and hair regrowth, you should use it 2 to 3 times weekly.
Gotu Kola Precautions
Gotu kola taken in recommended dosages is generally thought to be safe and causes few side effects. If taken orally, gotu kola should not be taken for more than a couple of weeks, followed by 2 week long breaks. The reason for this is that there have been a couple of reports of liver damage in cases where people took gotu kola continuously for long periods of time.
People with liver damage should stay away from gotu kola as it might make their condition worse. The same goes for pregnant women. Gotu kola causes uterine contraptions, which may lead to miscarriage.
If gotu kola is applied topically to scalp, it may cause allergic dermatitis in some people. It would be prudent to do a skin test before first application. Apply the product to a small area of skin and wait for a day to see if there is any reaction. If not, you can proceed and apply gotu kola hair care product to your scalp and hair.
Choosing Your Gotu Kola Supplement
In this section, you can read about 3 popular gotu kola products that people use for hair regeneration: capsules with dried gotu kola powder, hair oil that contains gotu kola plus several other herbs for hair regrowth, and hair care oil that contains only gotu kola extract, without any other herbal substances.