Friday, December 5, 2008

Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban

Family : Apiaceae

Synonym(s) : Hydrocotyle asiatica Linn, Hydrocotyle nummularioides Rich, Hydrocotyle pallida DC.&c.

English Name : Indian or Water Pennywort, Marsh Penny, Gotu-Kola and Sneezewort

Origin : India


It is a prostrate, perennial herb. The stem is glabrous, pink and striated, rooting at the nodes. The leaves are fleshy, orbicular-reniform, crenate, base cordate and often lobed and long-petioled. The flowers are red, pink or white, in fascicled umbels. The fruits are oblong, dull brown, laterally compressed; the pericarp hard, thickened, woody and white.


It prefers moist areas, river banks and shady areas throughout India (up to 2000 m); it is also found in Ceylon, Madagascar, South Africa and the tropics and sometimes as a weed.

Parts Used : Leaf, root, plant and its aerial part

Active Ingredients

Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, beta-elemene, niacin, pectin, riboflavin, thiamin(leaf); asiatic acid, asiaticoside, aspartic acid, beta-sitosterol, betulinic acid, brahminoside, brahmoside, glycine, inositol, kaempferol, linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stigmasterol (plant); camphor (essential oil)

Herb Effects

Antiprotozoal, alleviates spasms and sedative (plant); on keratinization and collagen synthesis (stimulates hair and nail growth and provides support for the repair of cartilagen); neutralizes acids in the blood, antiinflammatory, laxative (mild), diuretic, antispasmodic.

Medicinal Use

For healing wounds (plant extract); in tuberculosis and leprosy (plant decoction); improves intellectual capacity, concentration and memory of children, in skin diseases, asthma, bronchitis, gastric problems, leucorrhea, catarrh, as an antidote in cholera; on boils and tumours (plant paste); to cure severe headache, to prevent and cure urinary tract infections and the growth of kidney stones (leaf juice).


Plant decoction taken thrice daily cures skin eruptions.
0.5 – 2 gms dried herb tds for up to one month
External: Brahmi oil is applied externally all over the entire body, including the scalp, to treat nervous disorders.
Dried gotu kola leaf can be made into a tea by adding 1-2 teaspoons to 150 ml of boiling water and allowing it to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Three cups are usually drunk per day.
Tincture can also be used at a dose of 10-20 ml three times per day.
Standardized extracts containing up to 100% total triterpenoids are generally taken as 60 mg once or twice per day.


The raw leaf juice should be consumed in small doses. since it is very potent and an excess may lead to coma. Nausea has been reported at very high levels of intake. It should not be taken internally as a supplement by children under 4 or breast-feeding / pregnant mothers. People taking sedatives should also not use centella as a supplement.


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