Generic name: gotu kola [ GO-too-KOE-la ]
Drug class: Herbal products
What is gotu kola?
Gotu kola is an herb also known as Brahma-Buti, Centella, Divya, Hydrocotyle, Indischer Wassernabel, Indian Pennywort, Indian Water Navelwort, Madecassol, Mandukaparni, Marsh Penny, Thick-Leaved Pennywort, White Rot, and other names.
Gotu kola has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating venous insufficiency (decreased blood flow return from the feet and legs back to the heart).
Other uses not proven with research have included treating skin wounds, psoriasis, coronary artery disease ("hardened arteries"), circulation problems caused by diabetes, and preventing blood clots in the legs during air travel.
It is not certain whether gotu kola is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Gotu kola should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Gotu kola is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
Gotu kola may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
Gotu kola side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching, redness, or burning of your skin; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using gotu kola and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects of gotu kola may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use gotu kola if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
Gotu kola applied to the skin may be possibly safe to use during pregnancy. However, it is not known whether gotu kola taken by mouth will harm an unborn baby. Do not take gotu kola if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether gotu kola passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.
How should I use gotu kola?
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
If you choose to use gotu kola, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
Different formulations of gotu kola are available to be taken by mouth (orally) or applied to the skin (topically). Do not use different forms of gotu kola at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
Do not take topical (for the skin) gotu kola by mouth. Topical forms of this product are for use only on the skin.
Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with gotu kola does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.
If you need surgery, stop taking gotu kola at least 2 weeks ahead of time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra gotu kola to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using gotu kola?
Avoid using gotu kola together with other herbal/health supplements that can also harm the liver. This includes androstenedione, chaparral, comfrey, DHEA, germander, niacin (vitamin B3), pennyroyal oil, red yeast, and others.
Avoid using gotu kola with other herbal products that can cause drowsiness, such as 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), calamus, California poppy, catnip, Jamaican dogwood, kava, melatonin, St. John's wort, scullcap (or skullcap), valerian, or yerba mansa.
What other drugs will affect gotu kola?
Taking gotu kola with any medicines that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your healthcare provider before taking gotu kola with medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Gotu kola can harm your liver. This effect is increased when you also use other medicines harmful to the liver. Do not take gotu kola without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:
birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
heart or blood pressure medication;
cholesterol-lowering medications--Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Simcor, Vytorin, Zocor, and others;
gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);
medicines to treat mental illness;
seizure medication--carbamazepine, phenytoin, and others; or
steroids (prednisone and others).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with gotu kola, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.
More about gotu kola
Related treatment guides
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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