Centella asiatica Linn Urban


Hydro cotyle asiatica

Family ► Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat ► In marshy places throughout India up to 200 m.

English ► Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort.

Ayurvedic ► Manduukaparni, Manduukaparnikaa, Maanduuki, Saraswati, Brahma-manduuki.

Siddha/Tamil ► Vallaarai.

Action ► Adaptogen, central nervous system relaxant, peripheral vasodilator, sedative, antibiotic, detoxifier, blood-purifier, laxative, diuretic, emmenagogue. Used as a brain tonic for improving memory and for overcoming mental confusion, stress, fatigue, also used for obstinate skin diseases and leprosy

Key application ► Extracts orally to treat stress-induced stomach and duodenal ulcers; topically to accelerate healing, particularly in cases of chronic postsurgical and post trauma wounds; also to treat second and third degree burns. Patients suffering from venous insufficiency were treated with a titrated extract of the drug. (WHO.)

Used in Indian medicine as a brain tonic and sedative. (Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Major constituents of the plant are: triterpenoid saponins—brahmoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside; alkaloids (hydrocotyline); bitter principles (vel-larin).

Brahmoside, present in the plant, is reported to exhibit tranquilizing and anabolic activity. Raw leaves are eaten or plant decoction is drunk to treat hypertension.

Asiaticoside, extracted from leaves, gave encouraging results in leprosy. It dissolves the waxy covering of Bacillus leprae. Centelloside has also been found useful in leprosy. Asiaticoside reduced the number tubercular lesions in the liver, lungs, nerve ganglia and spleen in experimental animals. Another derivative of asiaticoside, oxyasi-aticoside, inhibits growth of Tubercle bacillus at a concentration of 0.15 ml/ml Asiaticosides are also hyperglycaemic.

The asiatic acid acts against resistant bacteria, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. leprae as well as Gram-positive cocci.

Asiaticosides elevate blood glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. They seem to decrease blood urea nitrogen and acid phosphatase levels. (Pharmacological findings. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Centratherum anthelminticum Kuntze. 137

Boiled leaves are eaten for urinary tract infections, and unfiltered juice for scrofula and syphilis.

Extract of the fresh plant significantly inhibits gastric ulceration by cold restraint stress in rats.

In research, using rats, the herb exhibited protective effect against alcohol-induced and aspirin-induced ulcers. (JExp Biol, 2001, Feb, 39(2), 13742.)

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