Gotu Kola


Plant extracts

Gotu Kola at a glance

  • Star ingredient of South Korean cica creams
  • Has potent antioxidant properties and is a rich source of amino acids
  • Good hydrating ingredient to soothe compromised skin
  • Used for culinary and medical purposes in Asia

Gotu Kola description

Gotu kola is a perennial herb that grows primarily in Asia, and may be listed on labels as _Centella asiatica_, asiatic acid, hydrocotyl. For years, it’s had both culinary and medicinal uses, but like many traditional plant extracts, it’s gaining popularity as a skin care ingredient. _Centella asiatica_ first gained popularity in South Korea, where it’s the star ingredient in moisturisers known as “cica creams.” “Cica” is a shortening of the term Centella asiatica, and these creams are well known for their soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. It has multiple benefits for skin thanks to its active compounds, including madecassoside, which serves as an antioxidant. _Centella asiatica_ itself also has been shown to have potent antioxidant properties and to be a rich source of amino acids, and there’s additional research showing that it’s a good hydrating ingredient to soothe upset or compromised skin. Concentrations of 5% show notable improvement in skin’s moisture content, although lower amounts also have value for skin, including soothing and antioxidant benefits. For example, amounts between 0.2–0.5% help maintain hydration and improve skin’s barrier by encouraging ceramide NS, one of the “mortar substances” that keep skin’s surface smooth and intact.

Gotu Kola references

  • Phytomedicine, April 2018, pages 110–119
  • Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, August 2017, pages 311–315
  • Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jan-Feb 2016, pages 27–33
  • Postepy Dermatologii I, February 2013, pages 46–49
  • Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2010, pages 546–556

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated