Gotu Kola: Ayurveda’s Secret to Boost Collagen Production

Known as brahmi in Ayurvedic skin care, this herb can help you glow from the inside out.

In This Article

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein found in the skin, arteries, muscles, tendons, soft tissue and the skin of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

In fact, collagen is the body’s most abundant protein!

As we age, we produce less collagen. This lack of collagen starts to show up in age-related skin concerns and it also affects muscle-joint elasticity and flexibility, arterial health, gut health, respiratory concerns, immunity, energy, and heart issues.

See also Dr. John's Secrets for Youthful Skin

The Ayurvedic Secret to Boosting Natural Collagen Production

Today, bone broth recipes and collagen-rich protein powders and supplements aim to replenish depleted collagen.

There are heaps of expensive collagen-rich skin creams on the market too, but what many are unaware of is that the collagen in these formulas is too big of a molecule to actually penetrate the skin’s phospholipid layer—so they just sit on top of the skin.

In Ayurveda, there are certain herbs that boost the body’s natural production of collagen. One such herb is brahmi (Centella asiatica), also known as gotu kola.

Brahmi has become popular in many skin creams to support healthy skin with natural collagen production, but still, it’s better to feed the body with collagen-boosters from the inside out, rather than from the outside in.

Ben Fuchs, the natural pharmacist who helped me create my Ayurvedic skin care line years ago, once told me that 80% of one’s outer skin health depends on the health of their inner skin, especially the skin that lines the gut.

See also Ayuvedic Inner Skin Health Quiz

The Science Behind Brahmi, or Gotu Kola

Brahmi, which graces LifeSpa’s Royal Glow Facial Moisturizer, contains triterpenoid and asiaticoside compounds that, according to research, help the body naturally synthesize collagen proteins.

Some research has found that brahmi supports the type of healthy collagen production that maintains the health of arteries in the circulatory system.

Similar research findings have revealed that constituents in brahmi stimulate the body’s natural production of brain-cleaning enzymes.

The many beneficial constituents in brahmi (triterpenoids, asiaticosides, brahmosides, and brahminosides) help to explain why brahmi has been called the miracle elixir of life. Not only does it boost the natural production of age-defying collagen, it is also known to boost memory and cognitive function, promote mood stability, and support cardiovascular health and the health of the intestinal and respiratory inner skin.

Brahmi has also been shown to support healthy mucus production in the stomach, which is linked to decreased cell shedding in the intestinal wall and a healthy digestive tract.

I love this herb so much that I grow my own in my garden annually! Brahmi has beautiful, heart-shaped leaves. Every morning while I am picking my greens for breakfast, you will find me nibbling on a few brahmi leaves.

Read more about brahmi’s benefits.

25 thoughts on “Gotu Kola: Ayurveda’s Secret to Boost Collagen Production”

    • Brahmi is generally understood as bacopa monnieri. However, some translators and botany/ayurveda experts have variously identified brahmi as centella asiatica (and other varieties of nearly the same plant).

      Bacopa and gotu kola have somewhat similar uses, but different effects and properties. Gotu kola is generally easier on the body, is best taken raw, with water, even standalone as a vegetable. Bacopa is best cooked into formulas with fat, as it contains many saponins that benefit from the combination. Bacopa is not recommended in cases of vata (of any sort) without combination with vata-stabilizing ingredients, and even then it may still not be recommended. Gotu kola is safe for all doshas, however, with the exception of extreme kapha (which would benefit slightly from bacopa, even standalone). Gotu kola is great for whole-body health, recovery, immunity, repair. Tigers were rumored to rub their wounds on this plant to heal up. It’s not a very strong antimicrobial, but is excellent for helping cells to multiply faster (healthy cells only, of course). Bacopa is more specific to the nervous system.

      The following link refers to the website ayurvedacollege.com. They assess the differences between the two from their experience with the herbs, and give traditional indications with many references.

      http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/Brahmi

      They should not be used interchangeably, as is common in today’s ayurveda. In regards to improving memory and nervous system function, they are both capable, but in different ways, and they’re indicated differently between individuals, and in very different doses/combinations. They will both improve mental power and concentration. They will have much different effects on sleep and mood. (On and on – really too many to list.)

      Hope this helps, Tracy! 🙂

      Reply
  1. Yes, I’m curious about where to get seeds, as well. I’m going to try Brahmi for sleep. Another question: My understanding is that the goal is only to take a herb short-term to address an issue and then get off the herb. However, it seems that there are herbs to take consistently, Brahmi might be one of those herbs. If it is good to take certain herbs consistently, does LifeSpa offer a comprehensive blend to take? I take the Essential Minerals consistently, and while it’s not an herbal blend, I find that it certainly assists all aspects of my body function. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hey Tina. 🙂

      It’s been my experience between gotu kola (C. asiatica) and bacopa (B. monnieri), which are both called brahmi, that gotu kola is the best bet for restful sleep. Bacopa increases vata if used exclusively (outside of a complex formula), and may cause sleep to be restless, especially in those with preexisting signs of nervous system problems. It will at first cause an upheaval or removal of “ama” in the nervous system.

      If taken alone, gotu kola can be used for a long period of time. You can regard this one like a vegetable, in my experience, though like a vegetable it can benefit from the addition of fats or dietary sugars/starches to give it a boost through the system. Many people around the world make drinks of fresh gotu kola, and I imagine the same could be done with dried herb. Consider cold-brewing, overnight room temperature infusion, or a “sun tea” method for preserving gotu kola’s beneficial nutrients.

      For bacopa, I would recommend attempting a traditional preparation method involving gentle cooking of bacopa with ghee. This is called Brahmi Ghrita. The formula is not for everyone, and is very strong even cooked with ghee, if it’s made with patience. There are guides for making it online, though I can’t find the one I remember liking from 4 years ago….

      Alternatively, for bacopa, you can finely powder your own herb, warm some ghee until it’s liquid, and combine the two – maybe 2/3 ghee to 1/3 bacopa powder by volume. Ashwagandha can also be added to ghee like this. Both bacopa and ashwagandha added raw to ghee in this manner will result in a pretty stinky ghee after a week or two – sometimes faster. The smell will not harm, and is usually the result of butyric acid being formed as the plants’ microbes and saponins work on ghee’s fats.

      BUT, also from my experience, and from traditional use of the herb, bacopa should not be taken over a very long period of time. Clever bacopa recipes can be taken for longer, but the length of which the herb can be healthfully taken depends entirely on the individual. I’d say cleansing effects can be expected for most people today, and cycling on and off may be necessary to maximize benefits.

      Hope this helps you or someone else! 🙂

      Reply
  2. I love all your videos and articles. I just started listening to your podcasts yesterday. It’s the one about how to get pregnant etc. I immediately noticed how poor the audio quality is. It sounds like it was recorded in a barrel or some kind of strange echo effect and it’s very distracting. I love the content but hopefully you’ll be able to fix the audio quality.

    Thanks and please keep up the great health info. Bob Lippold

    Reply
  3. John, I haven’t seen you address anything that inhibits the degeneration of telemeres, let alone promote their rebuilding. What ayurvedic treatment, if any, addresses that?

    Reply
  4. Could brahmi be causing “vitreous detachment”? (since it’s supposed to “cleanse” things off the head/brain).
    I had been taking brahmi & neem the last 2 months, then one morning waking up I saw lots of floaters…I’ve got a vitreous detachment in my right eye… 🙁
    It could very well be coincidental, but I’m healthy and also try to learn/do good things for my body. It would be a shame if I caused this for myself…

    Reply
  5. About collagen, for years I suffered from stupidity, luckily I finally got it. I had a joint pain, and the green pharmacy recommended me a collagen powder for 25$ (sounds cheap for a us market but it’s a drag when it’s a sizable % of the salary) she assured me, an old lady with a stick took 2 packs of this and started walking without a stick. I thought wow this is it! Apparently that helps with old age. I decided to research the subject and it turned out it’s because I stopped eating meat! So I resumed eating meat but the pain persisted! after additional research, sulfur solved the problem!

    Reply
  6. Currently taking bone broth collagen powder. Is taking Brahmi which boosts natural collagen production a better idea? Can it replace the bone broth powder, or also taken along with continued use of the the bone broth collagen powder? jm

    Reply
    • Either-Or in my opinion. Gotu kola (c. asiatica, NOT bacopa monnieri) is an exceptional wound healer and tissue regenerator all by itself, on a regular diet. However, the collagen powder should be fine to use at the same time.

      Reply
    • Animal sources of collagen are not a good idea to take- Contaminated with metals, contributing to animal cruelty, too complex to breakdown therefore damages the kidneys and keeps body in a state of acidosis.

      Reply
    • Animal sources of collagen are not a good idea to take- Contaminated with metals, contributing to animal cruelty, too complex to breakdown therefore damages the kidneys and keeps body in a state of acidosis.

      Reply
  7. Do you know of any resources for incorporating Ayurvedic herbs into cooking/recipes rather than taking them as pills or straight powder. Is this a thing? Or is it recommended to take herbs alone?

    Reply
    • Many of our herbs can be added to food or oils or prepared as a tea, which many people like to do. As far as resources for recipes go, our best recommendation is to find a good Ayurvedic Cookbook. Dr. John’s book the 3 Season Diet is a great option to get ideas on how to incorporate herbs into your diet outside of taking the capsules.

      You can also get some seasonal recipes by signing up for our free 3 Season Diet Challenge here: https://lifespa.com/3seasondietchallenge/

      3 Season Diet Book: https://store.lifespa.com/product/3-season-diet/

      Best,
      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply
    • Hi, You could mae it into a nice salad to be eaten with steamed rice or you could extract the juice and make a kanji (soup like thingg g to consume for breakfast. To makeva salad you need the following:
      Bunch of gotukola with stems(no roots)
      3 tblspoons Freshly grated coconut or dessicated coconut
      3 shallots – or red onion cut fine
      1 red chili – cut fine
      Salt to taste and 1/2 lime

      Wash the leaves well and drain the water. Cut it really fine. Mix the rest. Eat with steamed rice, chicken curry, fish curry or lentils. So tasty and good for you. Three times a week to it’s full benefits.
      To make kanji you need the following:
      2 handful of kotukola with stems.
      4 tablespoons of fresh coconut. Or dessicated coconut soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes to imbibe.
      3 handful of raw rice
      2 cloves garlic, slice of ginger

      Method: boil rice and garlic salt in 3 cups of water until done. Blend kotukola, coconut and 1 cup of water until it comes to a fine puree. Strain and take the juice. Add the juice to the rice. Cook 3 minutes just to heat up.(don’t over cook. It will lose it’s bright green color. Drink hot with a piece of jaggery. So yummy.
      Salt to taste

      And other thing is if you like you boil it and drink the water like tea. Could give out slightly bitter taste.
      Take a handful of leaves, stems and roots too. Chop roughly. Add 4 cups of water, salt, 2 shallots and a garlic. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Then simmer for 7 – 8 minutes. Strain and drink hot or cold with a piece of jaggery.

      Reply
  8. Hi Dr. John,
    What is the shake you are referring to in the video. I have been taking Marine Collagen by Truvani for 2 months now to help with the thinning of my hair, but I would love another alternative.

    Reply
  9. Hi,
    Thank you for the wonderful article!
    I’m a bit confused, isn’t Brahmi called botanically Bacopa monnieri?
    Thanx

    Reply
    • Hi Igna,
      LifeSpa has chosen to use the traditional Northern Indian reference for Centella asiatica, which is Brahmi (also known as Gotu Kola). However, in Southern India, Bacopa monnieri is referred to as Brahmi. Due to the variance between Northern and Southern India’s nomenclature, there is also some variance within the Ayurvedic community itself as to which herbs are called by the name Brahmi or Bacopa. Our suggestion is to pay close attention as you do your research to be sure you know which herb is really being discussed.

      Best,

      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply
  10. Wow! That plant Dr John is holding looks like Miner’s Lettuce. Is it the same or similar? I live in the Northwest and I love to forage for Miner’s lettuce which grows everywhere at this time of year

    Reply

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