Gotu Kola for Cellulite Reduction
What is Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is a medicinal herb that was once an important herb in Ayurveda and other Eastern traditional medicines. Nowadays, gotu kola is a popular supplement, which is used throughout the world.
The herb has many scientifically proven health benefits. It is used for a range of medical conditions, such as improving chronic venous insufficiency, atherosclerosis, supporting wound healing, boosting memory and concentration, and so on. Gotu kola is also commonly used for reducing cellulite and tightening saggy skin.
How Gotu Kola Helps Cellulite
Cellulite is not some sort of medical condition. It is just normal fat located under the skin. When this fat pushes against the connective tissues, it starts to appear as little bumps. The skin above these bumps puckers, causing it to look like orange peel.
Gotu kola is rich in substances, called triterpenes, which simultaneously fight several major causes of cellulite. Let’s take a more detailed look at how this herbal remedy works on cellulite.
Gotu Kola Strengthens Weak Connective Tissue
Weak connective tissue is what enables the development of cellulite in the first place. Connective tissue in the body is in large part build from a substance, called collagen. Gotu kola boosts collagen production (1), (2), which in turn helps make the connective tissue stronger. Strong connective tissue keeps the fat in place and improves the appearance of cellulite bumps.
Gotu Kola Improves Blood Circulation
Gotu kola also helps with another important cause of cellulite – poor blood circulation. When women get older, they start producing less estrogen. Estrogen is an important hormone that, among other things, helps the blood flowing smoothly. When blood levels of estrogen fall, the circulation gets poorer. Gotu kola fights this by improving blood flow and supporting the health and strength of blood vessels throughout the body (3), (4).
Gotu Kola Lowers Inflammation
Gotu kola also contains substances, called madecassosides, which lower inflammation in the body (5). This is important for preventing the development of cellulite as it has been shown that cellulite is aggravated by local inflammation.
Gotu Kola Decreases Swelling
Last, but not least, gotu kola also promotes proper lymphatic drainage. This helps the lymphatic system to flush unnecessary fluid and get rid of swelling, which is often found in severe grade of cellulite.
What Do the Studies Say
Due to gotu kola’s popularity, there were quite a few studies made about the health benefits of this plant. Most of the studies were focused on general benefits of gotu kola – researchers examined its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and the way it stimulates collagen production.
A handful of studies were focused specifically on gotu kola and cellulite. A study made back in 1979 (6) examined 60 women with cellulite, who applied a gel containing gotu kola’s extract, on areas with cellulite. This gel, called Madecassol, was applied 4 times daily over a period of 4 months. At the end of the study, 85% of test subject experienced a significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite. The study didn’t involve a control group, though, so it is hard to say how much of the effect was caused by massage and how much by the actual gotu kola gel.
One study, referenced in the book ‘Herbs, spices, and medicinal plants: recent advances in botany, horticulture and pharmacology', examined the effect of dried gotu kola extract taken by mouth. Together with reduction diet, 58 % of women in this study experienced considerable reduction of cellulite and another 20% of women had satisfactory improvement in cellulite appearance.
In 2014 (7), a double blind, placebo controlled study examined an effect of anti-cellulite gel that contained gotu kola extract. The problem with the results of this study is that the gel also contained several other ingredients that work against cellulite, such as ascorbic acid, a-bisabolol, caffeine, carnitine, glutathione, papaya extract, and others. So even though the researchers noted marked improvement in severity of cellulite and silhouette shape in test subjects, it is hard to determine how much of the gel’s effect comes from individual ingredient – in this case, gotu kola.
To Sum Up
Few studies were made on the topic of gotu kola and cellulite reduction. These studies have shown that gotu kola is able to reduce cellulite and improve body shape; however, more placebo controlled research is needed to really assess the effects of this herb on cellulite.
How to Take Gotu Kola for Reducing Cellulite
There are many gotu kola supplements available on the market. This herb is often one of the ingredients in anti-cellulite gels, which you apply directly to problem areas.
Most commonly, though, people take gotu kola by mouth in the form of capsules, powders or liquid extracts.
There is currently no recommended dosage of gotu kola for decreasing cellulite. Since there were different kinds of gotu kola supplements and dosages used in research, it is hard to make any recommendations.
The best way to go in such case is to follow the manufacturer’s general instructions, which you will find on the back of the supplement label. Generally speaking, extracts will need smaller doses than capsules or powders made from dried herbs as they tend to be more potent.
Taking Gotu Kola
Gotu kola should not be taken for more than 4 to 6 weeks at a time, followed by 2 weeks break. This is how Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe gotu kola. The reason for this regime is that gotu kola may have damaging effects on the liver if taken continuously for long periods of time.
People with liver damage should stay away from gotu kola supplements altogether. The same goes for women who want to get pregnant. Gotu kola has anti-fertility effects and has been traditionally used as natural contraceptive. If used when pregnant, gotu kola can trigger miscarriage (it stimulates uterus contractions).
Choosing Your Gotu Kola Supplement
Below, you will find an overview of 3 popular gotu kola supplements. They come from highly reputable manufacturers and have several certifications of quality and safety. The main difference between them is form – they are in the form of capsules, bulk powder made from dried leaves and liquid extract.
Brewing tea from dried leaves is another popular way of taking gotu kola. Gotu kola tea is less potent than the other forms and is mainly recommended for people who enjoy drinking it for its relaxing and soothing properties; it is less suitable if you are taking gotu kola for improving cellulite.