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Centella asiatica

Centella asiatica                                      Common name: Gotu kola

Family: Apiaceae

Part used: Aerial (dried)

Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (asiaticoside, madecassoside, brahmoside), nutrients (vitamins K & B, Na, Ca, Mg) amino acids, flavonoids (quercitin, kaempferol), volatile oils, alkaloids, bitter principle

Actions: Adaptogen, alterative, detoxifer, relaxant nervine, diuretic, peripheral vasodilator, antibiotic (topically), nervous system tonic, CNS relaxant, anti-rheumatic, vulnerary, venotonic, keratolytic, anti-mycobacerial, anti-inflammatory, bitter, digestive, laxative, connective tissue builder and dermatological builder.

Medical uses: A revitalizing herb that strengthens nervous system function & memory. It is a balancing tonic that brings stimulation to the brain via cerebral blood circulation, while being a relaxing nervine to other areas of the body. It is also used in skin conditions & wound healing by speeding up collagen formation & angiogenesis, and increasing antioxidant levels within the wound in early stages of tissue repair. Promotes the repair of connective tissue including hair and nails.

Clinical applications include treatment of second and third degree burns, cellulite, cirrhosis of the liver, keloids and hypertrophic scars, leprosy, scleroderma, varicose veins and venous insufficiency, and wound repair. Has also been shown in a clinical trial to significantly increase mental function, demonstrating a mild tranquilizing and anti-anxiety action. This can be very useful to enhance memory and cognition in an agitated, distressed patient or patient with Alzheimer’s.

Pharmacology: 

  • Triterpenoid saponins – asiaticoside is a vulnerary, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory also:
  • Stimulates hair and nail growth
  • Increases vascularization of connective tissue
  • Increases the formation of structural glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid
  • Increases tensile strength of the dermis
  • Increases keratinization of the dermis
  • Possesses a balancing effect on connective tissue
  • Brahmoside is a diuretic, CNS depressant and reduces motor activity.

Pharmacy:  Tincture: (1:2, 45%), 3-6ml QD. Dried leaves: 0.6g TID. Infusion: 1 tbsp/cup, infuse 10 min, TID. Poultice. Extract: standardized to contain asiaticoside (40%), 60-120mg QD.

Contraindications: Allergic sensitivity in some patients.

Toxicity:  Side effects: itchiness, contact dermatitis, headaches, photosensitization. Caution: carcinogenic concerns if used long term topically.

Interactions: None known

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