Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): Cognitive Enhancer

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a herb that has a long history of use as a general tonic. Gotu kola is a herb that is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, and it has been extensively researched for its health effects. Gotu kola is an adaptogen, which means it can normalise the disruption to physiological systems that are caused by stress. One system it is particularly good at normalising is cognitive function. For example, in one study researchers administered 1000 mg per day or 750 mg per day gotu kola to patients with poststroke cognitive impairment. As a positive control, other subjects received 3 mg per day folic acid, as this is known to cause improvements in cognitive function following strokes. After 6 weeks of treatment all of the treatments improved cognitive function in the subjects and there was no difference in the effectiveness of the treatments. Therefore gotu kola appears to be as effective as folic acid in the treatment of patients with poststroke cognitive impairment.

gotu kola memory brain

It is unclear why gotu kola is effective at improving cognitive function in poststroke subjects. One possibility is that the high concentrations of antioxidants are beneficial as they may counter the damaging effects of high homocysteine levels. Folic acid is effective in the treatment of poststroke subjects because it lowers homocysteine levels. This suggesting a common mechanism of action may exist, in that both treatments are able to counteract the damaging effects of high homocysteine levels.

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Farhana, K. M., Malueka, R. G., Wibowo, S. and 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. Volume 2016, Article ID 2795915

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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