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Centella asiaticaCentella asiatica is a small herbaceous annual plant of the family Apiaceae, the carrot and dill family, native to northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. Common names include Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Antanan, Pegagan, Pegaga, Kula kud and Brahmi (although this last name is shared with Bacopa monnieri and other herbs). It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Botanical synonyms include Hydrocotyle asiatica L. and Trisanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.)
Medicinal uses and StudiesTwo main active constituents in Brahmi are Bacoside A and B. 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. Bacoside B is a protein attributed to nourishing the brain cells. 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 occur or begin. Centella appears to act on the various phases of connective tissue development, which are part of the healing process and increases keratinization which allows it to stimulate healing of ulcers, skin injuries, connective tissue and to decrease capillary fragility. Asiaticosides also stimulate the synthesis of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin.
When eaten raw as a salad leaf, pegaga is thought to help maintain youthfulness. In Thailand cups with gotu kola leaves are used as an afternoon pick me up.A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. This juice is also used as a general tonic for good health. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores. Interestingly, chewing on the plant for several hours induces entheogenic meditation, similar to the effects of salvia divinorum, although this practice is widely considered dangerous, as it can cause temporomandibular joint pains.
Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1979 that a subspecies "Hydrocotyle asiatica minor" allegedly from Sri Lanka also called "Fo ti tieng", contained a longevity factor called 'youth Vitamin X' said to be 'a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands' and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems. However according to master herbalist Michael Moore, it appears that there is no such subspecies and no Vitamin X is known to exist. Nonetheless some of the cerebral circulatory and dermatological actions claimed from centella (as hydrocotyle) have a solid basis.
Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica's ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with Centella asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production
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