Centella Asiatica - a true herbal panacea from the Traditional Chinese Medicine
Centella Asiatica, also known as “Gotu Kola,” is a medicinal herb that has been used for millennia by the Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as African Traditional Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. It is known for its varied therapeutic effects and is also consumed as food because of its high nutritive value. Just like many other herbal remedies, Centella has recently become famous for its numerous therapeutic actions as well as for its safety and lack of toxicity1.
Centella has a wide range of therapeutic applications, both for topical use and as an ingested remedy. One of the most interesting is its activity in strengthening connective tissue, making it useful for healing of external wounds and injuries as well as many other conditions such as scleroderma, hemorrhoids, varicose veins and other venous insufficiencies. Other effects include a potential action as antidepressant and antiepileptic. It is also eaten to improve cognitive function and treat gastritis. It is also quite known for its superior antioxidant properties2.
The substances responsible for the pharmacological action of the Centella Asiatica could be the triterpenoids (including asiaticosides). These saponins may improve wound healing and vascular microcirculation by reducing the formation of collagen and stabilizing connective tissues while strengthening weakened tissues at the same time. Other central effects such as those on the nervous system instead could be caused by brahminoside and brahmoside instead3.
1. Dahanukar SA, Kulkarni RA. “Pharmacology of medicinal plants and natural products.” Indian J Pharmacol 2000;32:S81-S118
2. Gohil KJ, Patel JA, Gajjar AK. “Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica: A potential herbal cure-all.” Indian J Pharm Sci 2010;72:546-56
3. Brinkhaus B, Linder M, Schuppan D, Hahn EG. “Chemical, pharmacological and clinical profile of the East Asian medical plant Centella asiatica.” Phytomed. 2000;7(5):427-448.
Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.