What are the Most Common Gotu Kola Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Susan Elliott
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 February 2020
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Gotu Kola is a plant that grows in India, Eastern Europe, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. It commonly grows in swampy tropical areas. There are some people allergic to gotu kola, but its side effects are rare. Side effects generally occur when the medicine is taken internally, but it is possible to have an allergic reaction by coming into contact with the plant. Headaches, light sensitivity, and vertigo can occur when taking large doses or with prolonged use.

The gotu kola plant is a small creeping vine with red flowers and medium green leaves. These leaves are the source of the gotu kola plant's medicinal power. Topical ointments, teas, extracts, poultices, and supplemental pills are all derived from its leaves. It is largely used to treat skin disease, promote mental activity, and to treat high blood pressure, arthritis, fever, and nervous disorders.

Rashes called contact dermatitis may occur with the topical use of gotu kola, and can be anywhere from mild to severe. People who experience severe topical gotu kola side effects may have open sores on the area where the plant came into contact with the skin. Severe rashes may need to be treated by a physician, but mild rashes can be treated at home. Mildly infected areas should be kept dry and periodically washed with soap and water.


Light sensitivity is listed among gotu kola side effects, and is characterized by pain in the eyes from exposure to the light. People who have light sensitivity may experience bad headaches. If light sensitivity becomes a problem, the dose of gotu kola supplements should be decreased.

Another side effect that has been associated with the use of gotu kola is vertigo. People experiencing the sensation of vertigo may have trouble walking, experience headaches, or have ringing in the ears. Vertigo is one of the most serious gotu kola side effects.

It is important to discontinue the use of supplements, teas, extracts, and poultices if any gotu kola side effects are experienced. Anyone considering adding any supplements into the diet should consult a physician first. Pregnant women and women who are nursing should not take gotu kola in any form. These supplements are not recommended for children under the age of two. People who are taking sedatives or are on medication for hypoglycemia should not take gotu kola.


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