Best Gotu Kola Extract (Centella Asiatica)

best gotu kola extract

Gotu kola is one of my favorite superfoods.  Its main active compounds are triterpenoid saponins, which have many benefits including for anxiety, reducing inflammation and improving focus.   It also contains many other health-promoting compounds such as flavonoids, sterols, and fatty acids.

Like with all superfoods though, the way you take gotu kola makes a big difference. Below are the best gotu kola extracts as well as info about the types of gotu kola extract and how to take gotu kola for best results.

Also read: Health Benefits of Gotu Kola


How to Take Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is available as a dry herb, alcohol extract or glycerin extract. Because compounds in the dry herb are not absorbed by the body well, gotu kola extracts are better for health than dried powders.  Alcohol extracts are more potent but glycerin extracts are more gentle on the skin.

If taking gotu kola internally (such as for anxiety or cognitive benefits), choose an alcohol extract.  For topical use, choose a glycerin gotu kola extract.  (1, 2)


Quick Picks:


Best Gotu Kola Extracts

Below are the top picks for gotu kola extract.  You’ll note that there are some gotu kola supplements which have a lot of reviews on places like Amazon.  The popular brands aren’t always the best though.  I only listed gotu kola extracts which are clear about their extraction method and potency.  The best brands of gotu kola will also list where they source the herb.


1. Herbal Terra Organic Gotu Kola Extract

Herbal Terra isn’t a very well-known brand but they make high-quality plant extracts. Their gotu kola extracts are very potent and they only use the leaf part of the plant. They make both an alcohol and alcohol-free extract. They also list where their gotu kola is sourced, which most other brands do not.

There are two versions of this extract: alcohol/glycerin and alcohol-free. The alcohol/glycerin extract uses 10 parts alcohol to 1 part glycerin.  This blend is ideal because it gives you a potent extract which is still gentle on the skin.  Glycerin is also better for extracting certain types of compounds from plants and has a nice taste.

  • Organic
  • Alcohol/glycerin and alcohol-free versions
  • Alcohol/glycerin extract in 10:1 ratio
  • 1:3 menstruum ratio
  • Sourced from Sri Lanka
  • Only leaves used
  • 2 fl. oz. bottle
  • Buy Here


2. Banyan Botanicals Organic Gotu Kola Extract

If you want a very potent gotu kola extract for anxiety or other internal use, then this is a good choice.  It is a very potent alcohol extract with a 1:2 menstruum ratio.  That gives you the equivalent of 500mg of dried herb per 1ml of extract.

Note: Brahmi is another name for gotu kola in Ayurvedic medicine.  It can also refer to Bacopa monnieri though, which is a completely different plant.


3. Greenbush Gotu Kola Extract

The gotu kola extract by Greenbush is completely alcohol-free.  They use glycerin made from coconut oil.  I also like that they are clear about where they source their product (India) and only use the leaf part of the plant and not stems or roots.   Overall, it’s a very high-quality product for use on the skin.

  • Glycerin extract
  • 1:3 menstruum ratio
  • Sourced from India
  • Only leaves
  • 4 fl. oz. bottle
  • Buy Here


4. Secrets of the Tribe Gotu Kola Extract

Secrets of the Tribe is another of my favorite brands for herbal extracts.  They do 3rd party testing and are very transparent about results.  You can write to the company to get test results of your batch of extract.  All ingredients are organic or wild sourced.  However, they don’t specifically list where they source their gotu kola.

This particular gotu kola extract was made with both alcohol and glycerin, which more alcohol than glycerin being used.  The resulting extract is 1:3 menstruum ratio potency.

  • Alcohol and glycerin extract
  • 1:3 menstruum ratio
  • oz. and 4 fl. oz. bottles
  • Whole plant used
  • Buy Here


5. Herb Pharm Organic Gotu Kola Extract

This brand is very reputable and carefully monitors their sources.   It was extracted with only alcohol, so the saponins will be more concentrated.  The menstruum ratio is 1:4, which gives you 175mg dried herb equivalent per 0.7ml.   This ratio isn’t as high as with some other brands.  They also use the entire plant for their extracts instead of just the leaves.

  • Alcohol extract
  • 1:4 menstruum ratio
  • oz. bottle
  • Whole plant used
  • Buy Here


6. Be Plain Centella Serum

This skin serum is made mostly of gotu kola glycerin extract.  It also has some other great ingredients for nurturing the skin.  In particular, it has lactobacillus rice ferment which can help reset the bacteria on your skin (if you don’t know about the microbiome and its effect on health, time to do some research!).

Overall, this is a very gentle product and works wonders for reducing irritated spots on the skin.  It is fairly pricy though for a small amount, so you may not want to use it as a treatment for your entire face.

Get It Here


7. Purito Centella Asiatica Extract

The main ingredients of this serum are gotu kola glycerin extract, Ceramide NP, and peptide.  It is great as a treatment for inflamed and red skin and cystic acne. Because it comes in larger 2 fl. oz. bottles, it is also more affordable than similar products.

Get It Here


8. COSRX Centella Blemish Cream

Where the other gotu kola serums listed above are best for redness, this cream is formulated for acne.  The gotu kola in the cream helps heal skin from acne.  The zinc is also great for hydrating the skin without causing breakouts.  There is also tea tree leaf oil and other essential oils for killing bacteria which cause acne.

Get It Here


Choosing a Gotu Kola Extract

True gotu kola extracts are made by soaking the plant matter in alcohol or glycerin.  This is the most effective way to release the healthy compounds in gotu kola.  Once extracted, the compounds are more easily absorbed in the digestive tract.  Gotu kola extracts are also absorbed through the skin.


Alcohol vs. Glycerin Gotu Kola Extracts

Research shows that alcohol is better at extracting saponins than glycerin.  Further, alcohol extracts have a longer shelf life than glycerin extracts.  Because of this, alcohol gotu kola extracts are more potent than glycerin extracts.   However, alcohol can be harsh on the skin. (3, 4, 5)

If you want to take gotu kola internally, such as for anxiety, then alcohol extracts are the best choice. If you want to use gotu kola for skin benefits, choose an alcohol-free gotu kolu extract.


Menstruum Ratio

When making an extract, menstruum refers to the amount of plant to solvent used.  For example, a menstruum ratio of 1:3 means that 1 part plant was used per 3 parts solvent. A ratio of 1:3 will be stronger than 1:4.

As a general rule, avoid buying gotu kola extracts which don’t list their menstruum ratio.  They might not be very potent.  The best brands will be very clear about their menstruum ratio.


Part of the Gotu Kola Plant Used

While other parts of the plant may contain healthy compounds, it is the leaves of gotu kola that are associated with health benefits.   Some cheap supplements might use the stems or roots of the plant to reduce costs.  These supplements may not be as potent as ones made with just the leaves.


What about Gotu Kola Powder ?

Most cheap gotu kola supplements – especially capsules – contain dried gotu kola leaves.  It is NOT recommended that you take these.

The main issue is that the healthy compounds in gotu kola will not be absorbed well in the gut.  Some brands also use high heat to dry their products, which destroys nutrients.   Antioxidants in gotu kola also break down when exposed to oxygen.  When you grind up the dried leaves, you increase the surface area and oxidation occurs more quickly.  Thus, gotu kola powders will degrade faster than whole herbs.

Note that some products deceptively list their products as an “extract” and may even state formulations such as “10:1 extract.”  This really just means that the gotu kola leaves shrunk by 10x when drying.   If the product does not list alcohol, glycerin or oil, then it is not a true extract.


Can I Put Gotu Kola Extract Directly on My Skin?

Yes, you can use liquid gotu kola extract directly on your skin.  Research shows that gotu kola compounds are readily absorbed through the skin and penetrates to the blood plasma and deep tissues.

Always perform a patch test before putting gotu kola extract on your skin.  To do this, put a small amount on your skin and see if you have a reaction.  You can also mix gotu kola extract with carrier oils to make your own beauty products.

There are also many beauty serums which contain gotu kola.  However, you have to be very careful about which one you choose.  Many only contain a small amount of gotu kola.  To get the best results, you want one which a high percentage of gotu kola extract.  (6, 7)


Gotu Kola Extract Dosage

There is no set dosage for gotu kola extract.  It can also vary depending on the type of extract and potency.  However, most products recommend taking 1-2ml of gotu kola extract 1-3 times per day.  Topical gotu kola serums are usually applied once or twice per day. (8)


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