Ancient gotu kola herb may help lower stress by reducing anxiety.
Gotu kola has a rich record of use in traditional medical practices of Southeast Asia. As a nootropic and stress reliever, it is believed to provide such potential benefits as:
- Reducing anxiety. Gotu kola seems to promote activity of the neurotransmitter GABA.
- Improving mood. Limited research indicates that gotu kola may help uplift mood.
Native to Southeast Asia, gotu kola, Centella asiatica, is a creeping plant classified as a member of the parsley family that has a deep history of use in Ayurvedic medicine.
Gotu kola’s common name in India is Brahmi, meaning “of divine origin”; it is believed to simultaneously wield rejuvenating and calming properties, increasing intelligence and memory on the one hand, and relaxing the body on the other.
Contemporary use of gotu kola in health and medicine has favored its ability to help reduce the negative consequences of poor blood circulation, such as varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.1 Recent research has further unveiled its potential to act as a nootropic and relieve various symptoms associated with stress, such as anxiety and bad mood.
How Gotu Kola Might Help With Stress
Promoting the release of neurotransmitters
Gotu kola has demonstrated the potential to relieve stress by promoting neurotransmitter activity on two fronts:
- Enhancing the binding of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which appears to calm the mind by slowing down neuron activity.2
- Potentially increasing levels of the mood neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain.3
Gotu Kola Benefits & Uses for Stress
Gotu kola seems to be a viable natural alternative for relieving stress with few side effects, specifically by:
Research on rodents has found that gotu kola is capable of:
- Reducing anxiety with minimal sedation8 9 10
- Diminishing depressive behavior11
- Promoting anti-stress activity12
Clinical studies are beginning to uncover gotu kola’s capacity to relieve stress-related issues, especially anxiety and low mood.
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation, 40 adults received either a placebo or 12 grams of gotu kola. Gotu kola was found to significantly attenuate the maximum acoustic startle response (ASR), which is associated with anxiety, both 30 and 60 minutes after ingestion compared to the placebo. No significant effect on self-rated mood was reported.
- The study concluded that “Gotu Kola has anxiolytic activity in humans as revealed by the ASR. It remains to be seen whether this herb has therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of anxiety syndromes.”13
In this investigation, 33 adults were given 500 milligrams of a 70% hydro-ethanolic extract of gotu kola after a meal 2 times a day throughout a 60-day period. Gotu kola not only significantly diminished anxiety related disorders, but also significantly reduced stress phenomenon and associated depression based on a standard psychological rating scale.
- The study concluded that “Centella asiatica may be useful in the treatment of GAD and may be used as a promising anxiolytic agent in near future.”14
In this investigation, 28 seniors received a gotu kola extract at 250, 500, or 750 milligrams every day for 2 months. The 750 mg dose was found to enhance working memory on a cognitive test and improve self-rated mood.
- The study concluded that “the present findings suggest the potential of Centella asiatica to attenuate the age-related decline in cognitive function and mood disorder in the healthy elderly.”15
Dosage for Stress
- Successful research studies tend to use from 250 – 1000 mg of gotu kola extracts
- Typical supplement capsules range from 350 – 500 mg serving sizes, although daily doses as high as 12 grams have been safely used
- Extracts in the form of pills or capsules standardized to 40% asiaticoside.
- Powdered herb 1 – 4 g, taken 3 times daily.
- Tincture, 30% alcohol, 30 – 60 drops, taken 3 times daily.
- Raw leaves steeped in hot water.
Supplements in Review Says
- Gotu kola 350 – 1000 mg for stress.
Gotu kola may provide relief from anxiety. Gotu kola seems to be a likely candidate for moderate stress relief through reduced anxiety and potentially improved mood.
Start with a lower 350 mg dose of gotu kola. For optimal stress relief, we recommend taking gotu kola extracts at 350 mg and then increasing dosage from there based on individual needs.
- Pointel JP, et al. Titrated extract of Centella asiatica (TECA) in the treatment of venous insufficiency of the lower limbs. Angiology. 1987 Jan;38(1 Pt 1):46-50. ↩
- Cott J. Medicinal plants and dietary supplements: sources for innovative treatment or adjuncts? Psychopharmacol Bull. 1995;31(1):131-7. ↩
- Chen Y, et al. Effects of total triterpenes of Centella asiatica on the corticosterone levels in serum and contents of monoamine in depression rat brain. Zhong Yao Cai. 2005 Jun;28(6):492-6. ↩
- Gohil KJ, et al. Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Sep-Oct; 72(5):546-6. ↩
- Mato L, et al. Centella asiatica Improves Physical Performance and Health-Related Quality of Life in Healthy Elderly Volunteer. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 579467. ↩
- Cesarone MR, et al. The microcirculatory activity of Centella asiatica in venous insufficiency. A double-blind study. Minerva Cardioangiol. 1994 Jun;42(6):299-304. ↩
- Belcaro GV, et al. Improvement of capillary permeability in patients with venous hypertension after treatment with TTFCA. Angiology. 1990 Jul;41(7):533-40. ↩
- Wijeweera P, et al. Evaluation of anxiolytic properties of Gotukola–(Centella asiatica) extracts and asiaticoside in rat behavioral models. Phytomedicine. 2006 Nov;13(9-10):668-76. ↩
- DeLucia R, et al. Pharmacologic and toxicological studies on Centella asiatica extract. Fitoterapia 1997;68:413-16. ↩
- Diwan PC, et al. Anti-anxiety profile of manduk parni (Centella asiatica) in animals. Fitoterapia. 1991;62:255–7 ↩
- Chen Y, et al. Effect of total triterpenes from Centella asiatica on the depression behavior and concentration of amino acid in forced swimming mice. Zhong Yao Cai. 2003 Dec;26(12):870-3. ↩
- Sarma DNK, et al. Antistress activity of Tinospora cordifolia and Centella asiatica extracts. Phytotherapy Research 1996;10(2):181-9. ↩
- Bradwejn J, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on acoustic startle response in healthy subjects. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000 Dec;20(6):680-4. ↩
- Jana U, et al. A clinical study on the management of generalized anxiety disorder with Centella asiatica. Nepal Med Coll J. 2010 Mar;12(1):8-11. ↩
- Wattanathorn J, et al. Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Mar 5;116(2):325-32. ↩