All about Centella Asiatica. Let us introduce you “Tiger herb”
There’s a plant with exotic nicknames like Tiger Herb or Gotu Kola: today we’re going to talk about Centella asiatica: let us take you to the Far East to discover origins, properties and uses of this plant.
Centella asiatica is part of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family (the same one of cumin, anise, coriander and dill). It is a herbaceous, perennial plant, it’s slightly aromatic and climbing and reaches 15 cm in height. It has small, pretty round leaves and white, pink or purple flowers. It prefers to grow in shady, swampy, humid places. It is possible to find it in India, Pakistan, Madagascar, Equatorial Africa and Central America, places where it has been used for its wondrous properties for millennia.
What are the properties and benefits of centella asiatica?
Centella asiatica has been well known in traditional Asian medicine since ancient times for its properties but only recently (since the nineteenth century) it has also been included in the English, Chinese, Dutch, German, French, Italian pharmacopoeias. We can say it: the gotu kola is a universal cure for every disease.
Among its benefits, we have to mention its ability to boost collagen’s production and the formation of new skin thanks to the presence of triterpenoid saponins: these molecules have made it popular in the treatment of skin disorders such as wounds, scratches, burns, psoriasis and eczema. For the same reason it is now used in cosmetics for the treatment of stretch marks, skin aging and cellulite.
In addition to that, more and more studies confirm its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, neuroprotective and its power to improve memory, learning and cognitive activity in general.
How to use centella asiatica?
If supplements and ointments made with centella are widely available on the market, using centella asiatica is a child’s play and our herbal tea is a good example.
For all these reasons, we have chosen to add this plant to our Remedium N.5 – Focus; centella asiatica is good for the body and the mind because of its ability to promote cognitive and memory activities, exactly what we need when we have to face exams or smart working sessions. Pro tip: during your herbal tea ritual you can indulge in a centella asiatica cream to soothe swollen and tired ankles and legs.
In some countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia, centella in its pure form is suggested for its nutritional properties as a leafy vegetable or a beverage; it is in fact rich in carotenoids and group B and C vitamins.
According to a Chinese legend, one day a farmer came across a wounded tiger rolling in a centella meadow. Intrigued, he tore off a handful of leaves and from there he could immediately understand their healing and soothing power, hence the popular name Tiger Herb
In Hindi, the name of this plant is Brahmi, meaning “bearer of Brahman’s wisdom”, a name that emphasizes the neuroprotective and learning-facilitating properties of Centella asiatica.
In Sri Lanka, Centella asiatica is often given to children with nutritional deficiencies in the form of porridge, the famous Kola Kenda, a tasty mix of rice and vegetables.
- Bylka, W., Znajdek-Awiżeń, P., Studzińska-Sroka, E., & Brzezińska, M. (2013). Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 30(1), 46–49. https://doi.org/10.5114/pdia.2013.33378
- Prakash, Ved, N. I. S. H. I. T. A. Jaiswal, and Mrinal Srivastava. “A review on medicinal properties of Centella asiatica.” Asian J Pharm Clin Res 10.10 (2017): 69.
- Chandrika, Udumalagala Gamage, and Peramune AAS Prasad Kumara. “Gotu kola (Centella asiatica): nutritional properties and plausible health benefits.” Advances in food and nutrition research 76 (2015): 125-157.