Centella Asiatica for Cardiovascular Issues
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the first cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17.5 million people every year, representing more than one-third of all deaths1. Oxidative stress can be one of the main issues behind many of the most common risk factors of cardiovascular diseases such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, hyperlipidemia or diabetes. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been known to address this condition with several herb remedies known for their powerful antioxidant effect like Centella Asiatica.
Oxidative stress can affect lipid metabolism by increasing the risk for atherosclerosis, or by causing a direct damage to cardiac cells through the increased formation of reactive oxygen species. Several treatment options have been suggested to address the potential damage and increased risk for CVDs caused by oxidative stress, including herbal treatment2. Recently several studies found that Centella Asiatica, an herb that was used for centuries by TCM and Ayurvedic medicine with the name of “gotu kola”, may prove effective in reducing oxidative stress and hyperlipidemia in in vivo experiments3.
Centella Asiatica may exert its hypolipidemic effect by converting circulating blood cholesterol into its esters, and regulating its transport by HDL proteins. Reduction of plasma cholesterol levels is coupled by the characteristic antioxidant properties of this herbal remedy, which is able to reduce the reactive oxygen species protecting hepatocytes from DNA damage3.
1. World Health Organization (WHO). “Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/ (Accessed November 2015)
2. Renate Schnabel, Stefan Blankenberg. “Oxidative Stress in Cardiovascular Disease – Successful Translation From Bench to Bedside?” Circulation. 2007; 116: 1338-1340. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.728394
3. Yun Zhao, Ping Shu, Youzhi Zhang, et al., “Effect of Centella asiatica on Oxidative Stress and Lipid Metabolism in Hyperlipidemic Animal Models,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2014, Article ID 154295, 7 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/154295
Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.