History and Traditional Uses : Centella asiatica; a widely available Indian herb has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Centella asiatica also has a historical reputation for boosting mental activity and for helping a variety of systemic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, rheumatism, fever, and nervous disorders. In traditional African system of medicine it has been used for the treatment of leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, syphilis and wound healing. In India for the last 3,000 years of Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for the purposes like boosting memory, wound healing, a mild diuretic, increasing concentration, alertness, as well as anti-anxiety and anti-stress. It has also been used for centuries in the treatment of liver and kidney problems. Today, American and European herbalists use gotu kola for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling, such as scleroderma, psoriatic arthritis, anklylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Gotu Kola was first accepted as a drug in France in the 1880's.
Chemical Constituents : Indian Gotu kola herb contains the following glycosides: indocentelloside, brahmoside, brahminoside, asiaticoside, thankuniside and isothankuniside. The corresponding triterpene acids obtained on hydrolysis of the glycosides are indocentoic, brahmic, asiatic, thankunic and isothankunic. These acids, except the last two, are also present in free form in the plant apart from isobrahmic and betulic acids. The presence of mesoinositol, a new oligosaccharide, ‘centellose’, kaempferol, quercetin and stigmasterol, have also been reported. Also contains a green, strongly volatile oil composed of an unidentified terpene acetate, camphor, cineole, and other essential oils.
Pharmacology : Bacoside A assists in release of nitric oxide that allows the relaxation of the aorta and veins, to allow the blood to flow more freely through the body. Therefore Brahmi is revered for strenghtening the immune system, improving vitality and performance and promoting longevity.
Bacoside B is a protein valued for nourishing the brain cells, as a result Brahmi improves mental clarity, confidence, intelligence and memory recall.
Asiaticosides stimulate the reticuloendothelial system where new blood cells are formed and old ones destroyed, fatty materials are stored, iron is metabolized, and immune responses and inflammation begin. The primary mode of action of Centella appears to be on the various phases of connective tissue development, which are part of the healing process.
Journal Indian Medicinal Association 1978 ; 70:P 177 -180.
Korean Journal Of Gastroenterology 1982; 14 (1) 49 - 56.
Fitoterapia 1991 62 (3) 253 - 57.
Indian Drugs 1986 P 92 -93.
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