How to take gotu kola supplement: dosage, safety, side effects
Gotu kola is a well known herb that is used for many medical conditions. Find out how to take gotu kola, different dosages for different conditions and things you need to be careful of when taking this herbal supplement.
Dosage – How Much Gotu Kola Should You Take
Daily gotu kola dosage depends mainly on 2 factors: the type of gotu kola supplements that you take (some forms are more potent than others) and the condition for which you are taking it.
Below is a list of different types of gotu kola supplements and their recommended dosages.
- Dried Gotu Kola Leaves
Dried gotu kola leaves are typically steeped and prepared as tea. To make a cup of gotu kola tea, you need to add 1-2 teaspoons (5 to 10 grams) into 2/3 cup of boiling water and allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Suggested intake is 1 to 3 cups (750 mL) per day.
- Tincture (Liquid Drops)
Tinctures come in vastly different strengths. The extract ratio will tell you how potent the tincture is. For example, 1:1 tincture has 1 ounce of dried herb in 1 ounce of solvent. On the other hand, tincture with a ratio of 1:4 contains 1 ounce of dried herb in 4 ounces of solvent, so it is much less potent than the first tincture.
That is why it is important to follow closely the dosage instructions on the tincture’s label. Typically, you will use somewhere between 20-40 drops of tincture, several times a day.
Liquid extracts often contain alcohol, but some are also alcohol free (based on vegetable glycerin).
- Capsules with Dried Gotu Kola Powder
Gotu kola capsules contain dried powder made from gotu kola leaves (sometimes also stem). Typical amount of gout kola in 1 capsule is between 300 and 500 mg and the general recommended use is 2 capsules per day.
- Capsules with Standardized Extract
These capsules contain gotu kola powder standardized to a percentage of the active ingredient (such as asiaticosides and madecassosides).
Dosages for gotu kola standardized extract vary between 50 mg to 250 mg taken 2 to 3 times daily.
- Topical Use (Ointment or Gel)
You can buy already already made gotu kola cream or gel, which most often contains other active ingredients alongside gotu kola.
If you prefer an ointment that contains only gotu kola, can make one yourself. To do that, mix gotu kola leaves in boiling water (ratio is 1:1 – 1 cup of the herb in 1 cup boiling water). Allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, strain the mixture and add cornstarch to produce a thick paste. Gently apply the ointment to the affected area of the skin and let it dry. Leave it be for around 10 minutes, and then wash it off with clean water.
To make an oil, gotu kola leaves are usually boiled in water (ratio is 1:4 – 1 cup of the herb in 4 cups of water) until the volume of the water is halved. Separate the leaves from the mixture before adding vegetable oil, such as coconut, olive, jojoba or sesame oil. Slowly simmer the mixture until all of the water vaporizes. This way, you will get a so called herbalized oil. This oil can then be used for treating itchy and irritated skin, as anti-aging oil or for improving the appearance of cellulite.
How much gotu kola people take also depends on the condition for which the herb is used. Most common dosages for gotu kola are:
For Chronic Venous Insufficiency or Other Blood Circulation Problems
60 to 180 mg of gotu kola standardized extract per day is the dose used in studies. For dried leaf powder, the dosages range between 300 and 500 mg, 2 times daily.
For Improving Memory and Focus
No studies have been done to date regarding gotu kola and cognitive enhancement. Research made on rats suggests the dose in the range of 32 to 48 mg/kg daily.
Based on this, a 150 lb. person would need to take 2,100 – 3,300 mg of gotu kola daily, 200 lb. person 2,900 – 4,400 mg and 250 lb. person 3,600 – 5,500 mg.
These are quite large dosages, so it is important to remember that they are only rough estimates based on animal study, not clinically proven recommendations.
For Reducing Anxiety
500 mg of gotu kola twice daily has been shown to alleviate anxiety.
For Mood Enhancement
750 mg of gotu kola extract with 5% asiaticoside has been used successfully in one study on mood improvement.
For Wound Healing
The standard dosage for wound healing is 30 to 90 mgs of gotu kola standardized extract, given daily in divided doses. Alternatively, if you take unstandardized gotu kola powder or capsules, the dose is higher and falls between 300 to 500 mgs 2 times daily.
Studies on wound healing also used topical application of a hydrogel ointment with gotu kola extract. There is no recommended dosage for gotu kola creams or ointments; just follow the instructions on the label.
For insomnia, you can drink a cup of gotu kola tea before bedtime. Drinking gotu kola tea is a soothing experience, which helps prepare the body for restful sleep. Alternatively, you can take one capsule with dried herb powder (300 to 500mg).
When and How To Take Gotu Kola
Gotu kola supplements are usually taken in 2 or 3 doses, divided evenly throughout the day. Taking capsules or tinctures is the most convenient way to take gotu kola as it doesn't require much preparation.
Powder is generally cheaper than the above forms because you can get it in bulk, but it does involve some degree of hassle. Tea is recommended as a way to calm down and unwind, but is generally less potent than other forms.
Gotu kola should be taken only for a couple of weeks a at time with at least 2 week long breaks. The reason for this is that in some people it can cause liver damage if taken continuously for long period of time.
How to Pick the Right Gotu Kola Supplement
Just like any other herb, it is crucial to always look for quality products. Most of gotu kola available on the market is grown and harvested in India. Dried herb is then imported in the USA, where it is subjected to different tests of purity, safety and potency. Check the product's label to see what kind of certifications it has (for example, USDA organic, non GMO project verified, etc).
It is also best to choose products that contain as few additives as possible, so you are getting only the ingredient that you need without unnecessary bulking agents and lubricants.
How to Store Gotu Kola Supplements
Gotu Kola products must be stored in a cool, dry place so that they retain their potency for as long as possible. Take care to use your gotu kola supplement prior to its expiration date.
Gotu Kola Side Effects
Gotu kola, taken in recommended dosages, generally causes few side effects. However, if taken in very high doses, it may cause stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and extreme drowsiness. Applied as a cream or gel, gotu kola can also cause contact dermatitis.
Some people are allergic to gotu kola and experience an allergic reaction. Signs of gotu kola allergy include itching, hives, redness of the skin, difficulty in breathing and bloating of the face, lips, tongue and throat. If you experience these signs, immediately seek medical attention.
There have been reports of liver damage, caused by gotu kola taken for long periods of time. Immediately stop using the herb, if you start to experiencing mild fever, a feeling of sickness or vomiting, stomach ache, dark colored urine and stools, and jaundice (unnatural yellowing of the skin). These are already signs of a liver problem, so see your doctor as soon as possible.
Gotu Kola is most likely safe when applied topically or if taken by mouth at the right dosage. However, the herb has been known to cause liver damage. There were a couple of reported cases in which gotu kola caused liver damage after 20 to 60 days of continuous use.
Who Should be Cautious When Taking Gotu Kola
People with Liver Disease
People suffering from liver disease should avoid taking gotu kola because the herb might make their condition worse.
People Who will Undergo Surgery
People who will undergo surgery must stop taking gotu kola at least two weeks before their scheduled surgery. Due to theherb's sedative effects, it might cause you to be too sedated when combined with medications used during and before a surgical operation.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
There is insufficient data and studies about gotu kola's safety during breastfeeding, so play it safe and avoid its use until you stop breastfeeding.
Gotu kola may trigger miscarriage in pregnant women, so you should stay away from it during pregnancy.
Safety of gotu kola for children has also not been established, so it is best if you don’t give gotu kola to children.
Aside from gotu kola's potential harmful effects on the liver, asiaticoside, which is a component of the plant, has also been associated with tumor development in mice. People with a history of skin cancer or melanoma should avoid taking gotu kola.
Gotu Kola Interactions With Prescription Medications
Gotu Kola & Sedative Medications
Gotu Kola has sedative effects and combining it with other sedative drugs might cause excessive drowsiness or sleepiness.
Commonly prescribed sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), barbiturates, orexin antagonist (Suvorexant), antihistamines and others.
Gotu Kola & Hepatotoxic Medications
Gotu Kola has the potential to cause harm to the liver. Taking this herb alongside medications that also cause harm to the liver can increase the risk of liver damage.
One of the most widely known medications that can cause liver damage is acetaminophen, which is also known as Tylenol. Others include dantrolene, methyldopa, isionazid, nitrofurantoin and many more.
Gotu Kola & Diuretics
Diuretics are medications that help the body get rid of excess fluid. Interaction of diuretics, such as water pills, with gotu kola, can cause the body to secrete too much fluid, which may disrupt the electrolyte balance in the body.
Gotu Kola & Cholesterol & Anti-Diabetes Medications
In animal studies, gotu kola has been shown to raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels of test animals and it is assumed that it does the same in humans. However, there are no clinical trials done yet that would support this connection.
Gotu Kola with other Herbs and Supplements
Gotu Kola & Diuretic Herbs
Herbs that have diuretic effects like green tea, astragalus and ginkgo biloba trigger the body to secrete excessive fluids when combined with gotu kola.
Gotu Kola & Sedative Herbs
Gotu Kola interacts with herbs that have sedative properties. Combination of the following herbs with gotu kola might produce excessive drowsiness or sleepiness: passionflower, ashwaganda, schisandra (sometimes called) Chinese Prozac, California poppy, hops, kava kava, lavander, lemon balm, St. John's wort, catnip and others.
- Gotu Kola. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-753-gotu%20kola.aspx?activeingredientid=753&
- Gotu Kola. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/gotu-kola
- Centella Asiatica. https://examine.com/supplements/centella-asiatica/
- Gotu Kola. http://www.drugs.com/npc/gotu-kola.html
- Gotu Kola. http://www.chopra.com/gotu-kola
- Gotu Kola: The Many Benefits of the Ancient Herb of Enlightenment. http://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/gotu-kola-benefits-of-the-herb-of-enlightenment/
- Gotu Kola. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/PrintVersion.aspx?id=753&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
- Gotu Kola. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-gotu_kola/article_em.htm
- Gotu Kola. http://www.raysahelian.com/gotukola.html
- Kashmira J. Gohil et al. Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. (2010)