Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica) is a member of the parsley family and is a native plant to a few Asian countries including China, India, and Indonesia. It is characterized by green, small, fan-shaped leaves, and thrives near slowly moving water. In Sri Lanka, Gotu Kola herbs are used frequently in the diet and in salads.
Credit: Andromeas at Wikimedia Commons
What Does Gotu Kola Do?
The Gotu Kola herb has been used for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine to heal wounds, improve mental function, and treat stomach ulcers and hepatitis. In cosmetics, Gotu kola has the following functions:
Improves wound healing – asiaticoside, a component extracted from Gotu Kola, promotes skin repairing mechanisms
Anti-aging – madecassoside, another component of Gotu Kola, may help prevent and improve aging skin
Improves skin barrier function – moisturizes skin and helps reduce inflammation
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review lists nine ingredients in cosmetics that are derived from Gotu Kola that are used primarily to keep the skin in good condition. Below is a table of these ingredients and their functions.
Centella Asiatica extract
Centella Asiatica callus culture
Centella Asiatica flower/leaf/stem extract
Centella Asiatica leaf cell culture extract
Centella Asiatica leaf extract
Centella Asiatica leaf water
Centella Asiatica meristem cell culture
Centella Asiatica meristem cell culture extract
Centella Asiatica root extract
Potential Side Effects of Gotu Kola
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel reported Gotu kola to be safe in its current use and concentration of <0.5% in cosmetic products. The ingredient is well-tolerated by most people, but in rarer cases, Gotu kola can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Practical Tips for Using Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola can be found as dried herbs, in capsules, tablets, tinctures, and topical products. These should be taken and used as instructed. Even though allergic contact dermatitis is rare, those with sensitive skin should still patch test products containing Gotu Kola.
* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.
Lu L, Ying K, Wei S, et al. Asiaticoside induction for cell-cycle progression, proliferation and collagen synthesis in human dermal fibroblasts. Int J Dermatol.2004;43(11):801-807; PMID: 15533060 Link to research.
Haftek M, Mac-Mary S, Le Bitoux MA, et al. Clinical, biometric and structural evaluation of the long-term effects of a topical treatment with ascorbic acid and madecassoside in photoaged human skin. Exp Dermatol.2008;17(11):946-952; PMID: 18503551 Link to research.
Ratz-Lyko A, Arct J, Pytkowska K. Moisturizing and Antiinflammatory Properties of Cosmetic Formulations Containing Centella asiatica Extract. Indian J Pharm Sci.2016;78(1):27-33; PMID: 27168678 Link to research.
Gonzalo Garijo MA, Revenga Arranz F, Bobadilla Gonzalez P. Allergic contact dermatitis due to Centella asiatica: a new case. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr).1996;24(3):132-134; PMID: 8766746 Link to research.