The Nootropics Library: Gotu Kola

Everything You Need to Know About Gotu Kola

General Information

Scientific Name: Centella asiatica

Any Other Names: Indian Pennywort, Jalbrahmi, Hydrocotyle, Spadewort, Moneywort,

Primary Constituents: Alkaloids (hydrocotyline), Bitter principles (vellarin), and Triterpenoid saponins (such as asiaticoside, brahmoside, and thankuniside)

Country or Region of Origin: Gotu Kola originates in India and within the Southern United States, however, it can grow abundantly in any tropical or subtropical region of the world (including Australia, Africa, and South America); Typical growing grounds are marshy or near riverbanks (Chevallier, 2016);

Known Uses: Cognitive and Brain Function, Wound Healing and Eczema, General Vitality, Libido and Potency, and More

General History & Introduction

Gotu Kola is one of the most versatile herbs within the nootropics world.  It is a perennial and an herbaceous creeping plant which can grow as long as 20 inches (Chevallier, 2016).  The leaves are fan-shaped and have both medicinal and culinary uses.  It is a member of the Apiaceae family and popularly used and known as Indian Pennywort throughout Eastern cultures.  It can be used to strengthen memory and nervous function, to improve cognitive function and general vitality, and to improve libido (2016). In fact, it is a well-known nervine in traditional Eastern medicines (Orr, 2014).  Although the preparations may vary depending upon the intended use, the herb has a plethora of empirical data supporting its awesome nootropic benefits.

Nootropic Benefits of Gotu Kola

Brain Function and Memory

Gotu Kola has a long history of being used as a cognitive enhancer (Gohil et al., 2010). There have been many studies which have revealed the herb to possess the ability to improve memory (Farhana et al., 2016). This was especially proven true for elderly and stroke patients. This is probably because it possess the ability to slow memory loss (Walker & Brown, 1998). Indian and Asian cultures have used the plant for its ability to improve concentration.  Gotu Kola’s adaptogenic properties contribute to the focus and concentration boost.  A recent clinical trial revealed the plant’s ability to improve attention span and alertness (2016).  Gotu Kola promotes a relaxing concentration that decreases anxiety and gives the brain a chance to maximize its cognitive potential (Orr, 2014).

Wound Healing and Eczema


Gotu Kola is well known to have positive effects on arthritis and rheumatic problems (Chevallier, 2016). It has even been suggested to have the ability to prevent rheumatic problems.  Its ability to improve peripheral circulation is useful in strengthening blood vessels.  It can be used to treat skin problems, help heal wounds and ulcers, and prevent scarring.  Usually, in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, the herb is applied directly as a salve to the wound or area of ailment for relief (2016). The plant can be used to heal and treat psoriasis, leprosy, lupus, and more (Gohil et al., 2010). It has also been proven to possess incredible healing effects on the bladder and the integrity of the connective tissues within the bladder (Murray & Pizzorno, 1998).  Gotu Kola can also be used to treat severe periodontal disease and the recovery after laser surgery (1998).

General Vitality

Gotu Kola has a profound reputation throughout India and many parts of Asia for its powerful rejuvenating effects (Chevallier, 2016). It is believed to have the ability to slow down aging (2016).  This may have a lot to do with the herb’s effects on memory and brain function, although, the libido boost could also be interpreted as energizing.  As an adaptogen, Indian culture typically suggests using the herb long-term to promote a variety of health benefits. Gotu Kola has been proven to speed up collagen formation and offers venous repair properties (2016).  It can be used to treat cellulite and varicose veins (Murray & Pizzorno, 1998). The plant can alleviate headaches and migraines (Gohil et al., 2010).  It was even a prime constituent in a popular Thailand energy drink known as “Pennywort” (Orr, 2014).

Libido and Potency


Gotu Kola can provide a benefit to overall mood, releasing tension and encouraging libido (Chevallier, 2016).  The plant’s ability to improve circulation and poor blood flow may help contribute to its potency-improving effects, as well as the traditional belief the herb can help with erectile dysfunction (Qinna et al., 2009). In fact, one doctor, Virender Sodhi (MD) has well-documented Gotu Kola’s ability to improve erectile dysfunction, as well as its use as a general aphrodisiac (Sodhi, 2006).  It has even been suggested to improve testosterone (2006).  The herb can decrease fatigue, which also helps increase sex drive (Balch, 2010).

Other Uses

Gotu Kola is a tonic for many ailments. The aerial parts of the plant are known to have valuable cleansing properties and are typically made into powerful tonics (Chevallier, 2016).  In Indian culture, the fresh leaves are consumed raw in salads. The leaves possess an awesome tonic-like effect on digestion. Gotu Kola can also be used as an anti-inflammatory. The plant can be used as a peripheral vasodilator. It even possesses sedative properties and as previously mentioned, it can greatly reduce anxiety.  This makes sense, given the herb is a well-documented adaptogen (2016).

Dosing and Usage Information

Gotu Kola is typically used as a dietary supplement, with most serving sizes ranging between 500 and 1000 mg of extract per pill (Farhana et al., 2016).  As a powder, the herb has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a general tonic remedy (Chevallier, 2016).  Usually about 1-2 grams a day of the powder would be consumed in this fashion.  Sometimes Indian medicine will call for a paste to be made from the powder, which is the preferred method for treating eczema throughout the culture.  There are infusions which can be produced to treat rheumatism.  And there are tinctures for memory, concentration, and cognitive function (2016).

Side Effects

Gotu Kola does not have any known toxicity within the confines of a recommended dose (Gohil et al., 2010).  The side effects which do exist in rare cases include skin allergy, headache and dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness (2010).

Other Important Information


Gotu Kola is typically cultivated from seed in the Springtime; however, the aerial parts can be harvested any time throughout the year (Chevallier, 2016). Triterpenoids saponins are the active constituents believed to be responsible for the medicinal and therapeutic properties of the planet (Gohil et al., 2010).  The plant also contains several nutrients including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B 1-3, and vitamin c (Balch, 2010).


Gotu Kola is a powerful nootropic and adaptogen, offering many benefits to the body and the brain.  The herb helps maximize one’s learning potential and memory (Orr, 2014).  It has been used throughout traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and has even been nicknamed the “miracle elixir of life” (Gohil et al., 2010). And it has literally been associated with the brain in traditional Ayurvedic culture and is even purported to have the ability to increase intelligence (Orr, 2014). All of the positive benefits of Gotu Kola, with so little side effects, arguably make it one of the strongest nootropics to date.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


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Farhana, K., Malueka, R., Wibowo, S., & Gofir, A. (2016). Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Stroke. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. PMID: 2795915. DOI:

Gohil, K., Patel, J., & Gajjar, A. (2010). Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences. Vol. 72(5). Pp. 546–556. DOI:

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Qinna, N., Taha, H., Matalka, K., and Badwan, A. (2009). A new herbal combination, Etana, for enhancing erectile function: an efficacy and safety study in animals. Int J Impot Res. Vol. 21(5). Pp.315-20. DOI: 10.1038/ijir.2009.18

Sodhi, V. (2006). Male Sexual Health: An Ayurvedic Perspective. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review. Retrieved from:

Walker, L., and Brown, E. (1998). The Alternative Pharmacy. Prentice Hall Press. Paramus, New Jersey.  ISBN 0-7352-0021-1