Medicinal Uses and Indications

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins

The best-documented use of Centella Asiatica is to treat chronic venous insufficiency, a condition closely related to varicose veins. In these conditions, blood pools in the legs, causing aching, pain, heaviness, swelling, fatigue, and unsightly visible veins. Preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled studies indicate that Centella Asiatica extract provides improvement in major venous insufficiency symptoms, reducing swelling, pain, fatigue, sensation of heaviness, and fluid leakage from the veins1,2,3,4,5,6,7.

 

 

Wound healing and skin lesions

Centella Asiatica extracts have been used traditionally for wound healing, and research has been increasingly supportive for these claims8. Centella asiatica contains triterpenoids, mainly asiaticoside and madecassoside that can strengthen the skin, increase blood supply to wounds and boost antioxidant activity within the wound. Asiaticoside has been reported to possess wound healing activity by increasing collagen formation and angiogenesis9,10 restoring elasticity and firmness to the skin11,12.

Healing is more prominent with gel product. It is believed to have an effect on keratinization, which aids in thickening skin in areas of infection13.

Centella Asiatica preparations may also be helpful in decreasing the stretch marks (striae gravidarum) that many women develop during pregnancy. A placebo-controlled study of 100 pregnant women compared application of a cream containing a centella asiatica extract, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and collagen-elastin hydrolysates to placebo14. Application of the compounded cream was associated with less women developing stretch marks than in placebo.

Application of preparations of Centella Asiatica topically may also be beneficial in decreasing the scarring seen during wound healing, appearing to be related to the stimulation of maturation of the scar by the production of type I collagen and the resulting decrease in the inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production15.

Insomnia/Sedation

Centella Asiatica has been traditionally used as a sedative agent in many Eastern cultures, with the effects contributed mainly to the brahmoside and brahminoside constituents16. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study investigated the anxiolytic activity of Centella Asiatica in human subjects17. The authors concluded that these findings suggest that Centella Asiatica has anxiolytic activity in humans and the anxiolytic activity may in part be due to binding to cholecystokinin receptors and cholinergic enhancement.

 

Anxiety

Triterpenoids seem to decrease anxiety and increase mental function in mice. One human study found that people who took Centella Asiatica were less likely to be startled by a new noise than those who took placebo. Since the “startle noise” response can be an indicator of anxiety, researchers theorize that Centella Asiatica might help reduce anxiety symptoms. But the dose used in this study was very high, so it’s impossible to say how Centella Asiatica might be used to treat anxiety.

Memory/Cognitive Function

Several laboratory studies have found that Centella Asiatica extracts help decrease cognitive impairment in rat models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and stimulating property on neuronal dendrites of hippocampal region18. The mechanism of neuroprotection includes enhancement of the phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) and inhibition of ERK/RSK signaling pathway. A small randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in healthy volunteers found that gotu kola extract can improve age-related cognitive decline and positively affect mood19.

 

References

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