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Family Umbelliferae
Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.
Chi-hsueh Ts'ao

Scientific names Common names
Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Hahanghalo (C. Bis.)
Hydrocotyle asiatica L. f. Panggaga (Sub.) 
Hydrocotyle pallida DC. Pispising (Bon.) 
Hydrocotyle thunbergiana Spreng. Tagaditak (Iv.) 
  Gotu kola
  Takip-kohol (Tag.)
  Takip-suso (Tag.) 
  Taingan-daga (Tag.) 
  Tapiñgan-daga (Tag.) 
  Yahong-yahong (S-L. Bis.)
  Indian Hydrocotyle (Engl.) 
  Pennyworth (Engl.) 
  Spade leaf (Engl.)
  Tiger grass (Engl.)
  Chi-hsueh Ts'ao (Chin.) 
Pennyworth is a shared common name between (1) Takip-kohol, centella asiatic, pennywort, asiatic pennywort, and (2) Pennywort, Hydrocotyle vulgaris

Other vernacular names
ASSAMESE : Aghinya, Bor-mani-muni, Manimuni.
BENGALI: Bora thulkari, Brahmi, Peruk.
CHINESE: Ji xue cao, Lei gong cao, Lei gong gen, Lei gong teng, Beng da wan.
DANISH: Asiatisk centella.
FRENCH: Centelle asiatique, Écuelle d'eau, Fausse violette, Hydrocotyle asiatique, Hydrocotyle érigée.
GERMAN: Asiatischer Wassernabel, Indischer Wassernabel.
GUJARATI: Barmi, Brahmi, Khadabrahmi.
HINDI: Bemgsag, Brahma manduki, Brahma manduki, Brahmi, Mandukaparni, Thankuni.
ITALIAN: Erba delle tigri, Idrocotile, Scodella d'acqua.
JAPANESE: Tsubo kusa.
KANNADA: Brahmi soppu, Elavarige soppu, Ondelaga, Vondelaga.
KHMER: Trachiek kranh.
MADURESE: Kos tekosan.
MALAGASY : Talapetraka.
MALAY : Daun kaki kuda, Gagan-gagan, Pegaga, Pegagan, Kerok batok, Rendeng.
MALAYALAM: Codagen, Kodangal, Kudangal, Kudakan, Kutakan, Kutannai, Kutannal, Mandukaparni, Muthil, Muttil.
MARATHI: Brahmi, Karinga.
NEPALESE: Brahambuti, Braahamii, Ghodtaapre, Ghorataap, Kholca ghayn.
ORIYA: Hnahbial, Lambak, Theelkudi.
PUNJABI: Brahmibuti.
RUSSIAN: Gotu kola.
SANSKRIT: Brahmi, Brahma manduki, Brahamamanduki, Divya, Jalneem, Maha aushadhi, Mandukaparni, Manduki, Mandukparni, Nandukparni, Thankuni.
SINHALESE: Gotukola, Heen gotukoda, Hin gotukola.
SPANISH: Centella asiática, Hierba de clavo , Sombrerito.
SUNDANESE: Antanan rambat.
TAMIL: Mantukaparani, Pantakirikkoti, Parni, Saraswathi, Vallaarai, Vallarai, Vallarai elai, Viriyatacicceti, Viriyatecu.
TELUGU: Babassa, Bekaparnamu, Bokkudu, Mandooka brahmi, Mandooki-brahmi, Mandukbrammi, Nacley, Saraswataku, Saraswathi aaku, Saraswati aku, Vellaaraku..
THAI: Bua bok, Phak nok, Phak waen.
VIETNAMESE: Cay rau ma, Rau ma.

General info
Gotu kola— also known as Centella asiatica, Indian pennywort—has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb, as far back as 3000 years ago in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, 2000 years ago in Chinese medicine, in the late 1800s in French pharmacopoeia. Contrary to its name, it contains no cola or caffeine.

Takip-kohol is a prostrate, creeping, sparingly hairy or nearly smooth perennial herb, with delicate and slender stems rooting at the nodes. Leaves are rounded to reniform, 2 to 5 centimeters wide, horizontal, more or less cupped, rounded at the tip, and kidney-shaped or heart-shaped at the base, palmately veined, margins undulate-crenate, the rounded lobes often overlapping. Petioles are erect, 3 to 20 centimeters long. Flowers are dark-purple, axillary, ovate, and about 1 centimeter long. Peduncles occur in pairs or threes, less than 1 centimeter long and usually bear 3 sessile flowers. Fruits are minute, ovoid, white or green, and reticulate, each with 9 subsimilar longitudinal ridges. Carpels are five, cylindric compressed, about 2.5 millimeter long, white or green, reticulate. Ovary is inferior. Stamens are 5, epigynous.

- Found in gardens, thickets, and open, damp grasslands, on rice paddy banks and streams throughout the Philippines.
- Pantropic.

• Leaves yield vellarine (1% in dry plant), an oily, non-volatile liquid, responsible for the odor, and considered to be the chemically active principle of the plant.
• Analysis has described vellarine as an inspissated oil of pale yellowish color, with a bitter, pungent, and persistent taste, with a marked odor of hydrocotyle, subject to variations of heat, humidity, and atmosphere.
• Chemical analysis of the plant shows the presence of vellarine, high vitamin B content in the leaves and roots, and a miscellany of other constituents such as carbohydrates, resins, proteins, ash, alkali, alkaline salts, phosphates, and tannins. The vellarine is obtained principally from the roots.
• Phytochemical studies have shown triterpenoid glycosides, phytosterols, amino acids, free acids, volatile oils and flavonoids.

• Analysis has reported chemical composition as: Resinous and oil substances, 8.9%; tannic acid and sugar, 24.5%; mucilage and extractive, 11.5%; pectin and albuminous matter, 12.5%, ash, mostly as alkaline chlorides, 12.0%.
• Triterpenoid saponins include asiaticoside, centelloside, madecassoside and asiatic acid.

• Leaves are considered tonic, diuretic, emmenagogue, and stimulant.
• Plant has blood pressure-lowering effect.

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.

Rich in Vitamin B, it can be eaten as a salad or vegetable dish.
· In the Philippines, sap of leaves used as curative for sclerotic wounds.
· Decoction of leaves used as diuretic and considered useful for gonorrhea.
· Useful in the treatment of chronic and obstinate eczema. Also prescribed for secondary and tertiary syphilis accompanied by gummatous infiltration and ulceration, in chronic and callous ulcers, as a stimulant in infantile diarrhea and eczema and abscess, and in chronic rheumatism.
· Leaves are toasted and given as infusion in bowel complaints and fevers of children. Also applied as anti-inflammatory to areas of blows and bruises.
· Seeds used for dysentery, fever, and headache.
· Infectious hepatitis, measles, respiratory tract infections - colds, tonsillitis, laryngopharyngitis, bronchitis.
· Fresh material: 60 to 260 gms, dried material: 30 to 60 gms: Take in form of decoction.
· Counterirritant: Pound fresh leaves, mix with vaseline or oil and apply over affected area as poultice.
· Wounds and sore: The sap of the leaves is used on wounds and skin sores. Also, on chaps, scratches and superficial burns.
· In many folkloric systems, used for tuberculosis, syphilis, dysentery, hypertension, venous extremity problems and common cold.
· In India and Fiji, roots used for skin inflammation, to improve blood circulation, to treat bloating, congestion and depression.
· Also considered to be a brain and memory stimulant, used for Alzheimer's disease and senility.
· In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, used for depression and anxiety.
· In Sri Lanka and Madagascar, used for a variety of mental and neurological problems.

· In India and Africa, used for leprosy, hypertension and cancer.
· Worldwide, herb believed to improve memory and enhance concentration.

TECA: TECA, the titrated extract of Centella asiatica is a reconstituted mixture of three triterpenes extracted from the plant. Used extensive in Europe as a wound healing drug, it has been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis and increase tissue tensile strength. It has been found successful in the treatment of burns, scars and wound healing defects.
Anxiolytic: Rat studies have shown decrease in locomotor activity, enhanced maze performance and attenuated started response. This placebo- controlled study suggest Gotu Kola has anxiolytic activity in humans as shown by the ASR (acoustic startle response).
l / Enteric Pathogens: In vitro study on the effect of CA on enteric pathogens. The alcohol extract was bactericidal against V cholera, Shigella spp, and Staph aureus and suggests further studies in its potential as an antidiarrheal drug. (2)
Wound Healing: Study on albino rats showed the leaf extract of CA significantly promoted wound healing and was able to overcome the wound-healing suppression of dexamethasone. (3)
Antioxidant: Study showed CA extract and power may ameliorate H202-induced oxidative stress by decreasing lipid peroxidation.
Immunomodulatory: Study revealed immunomodulatory activity of C asiatica and R nasutus extracts in both non-specific cellular and humoral immune responses. Results suggest a chemoproventive or anticancer potential.
Nerve Regeneration: Study indicates components in CA ethanolic extract may be beneficial for accelerating repair of damaged neurons. In a rat study, centella extract in the drinking water hastened recovery after nerve damage, with increased axonal regeneration and accelerated functional recovery.
Gastroprotecftive / Anti-Ulcer: Fresh juice extract of gotu kola has shown protection against aspirin- and ethanol-induced gastric ulcers with increased gastric mucin secretion and mucosal cell glycoprotein production.
Scleroderma: Single study found gotu kola decreased joint pain and skin hardening and improved finger movement. (19)
Periodontal Healing : Study results indicate that the combined use of extracts of CA and P granatum pericarp significantly reduced the clinical signs of chronic periodontitis. (9)
Larvicidal: Crude extract of leaves of CA showed larvicidal and adult emergence inhibition against
mosquito Cules quinquefasciatus, possibly through various biologically active compounds–phenolics, terpenoids and alkaloids. (10)

Keloid and Scar Management: Oral and topical use have reported benefits on wound and scar management with relief of symptoms, disappearance of inflammation and hastening of scar maturity.
Economy Class Microangiopathy: A study on airline flight
microangiopathy showed significant improvements in microcirculatory function in those utilizing TTFCA (triterpenoid fraction of Centella asiatica) with edema and rate of ankle swelling approaching normal values.
Carotid Artery Plaques: A study on patients taking anti-aggregating medications showed a significant decrease in plaque echolucency in those on TTFCA.
Diabetic Microangiopathy: Diabetes is characterized by blood pooling from decreased venous return and increased skin blood flow. A trial of TTFCA showed a significant reduction in skin blood flow compared to baseline values.
Venous Insufficiency: In a study of 96 patients with venous insufficiency, use of a TECA (triterpenoid extract of C asiatica demonstrated significant clinical improvements in limb heaviness, edema, and venous distention. In a study of 40 patients with severe venous hypertension, a trial of the herbal extract showed a decrease in skin flux and rate of ankle swelling, with improvement in edema, restless limbs and change in skin color.
Anti-Enteropathogens: Study demonstrated the antimicrobial activity of Centella asiatica against enterophathogens. Broad spectrum activity of the herb was observed against a range of enteric pathogens. Against V cholera, Shigella species and S aureus, the
alcoholic extract was bactericidal within 2 hr. (12)
Cognitive Effects: Study findings suggest the potential for Centella asiatica to attenuate age-related decline in cognitive functions in healthy middle age and elderly adults. The mechanism/s underlying these effects require further investigation.(13)
Anti-Convulsant / Neuroprotective: Study results showed the extracts of C asiatic, except the aqueous extract, possess anticonvulsant and neuroprotective activity and suggest a use in the management of epileptic seizures. (14)
Antibacterial: Crude water extract of Asiatic Pennywort, particularly extracted with water, showed promising antibacterial effect against Staphylococcus aureus. (16)
Antioxidant / Lipid Effects / Safety : Study in rats showed no toxic effects to the heart, liver and kidney on long term consumption of C asiatica extract. Results also showed CA extract and powder may ameliorate H2O2-induced oxidative stress by increasing HDL concentration, decreasing TG, LDL, lipid peroxidation. Effects are attributed to antioxidant components and polyphenols substances present.
Anxiolytic / Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the anxiolytic activity of Gotu kola in healthy subjects. Compared with placebo, Gotu kola significantly attenuated acute acoustic response. GK has anxiolytic activity in humans. It remains to be seen whether it has efficacy for use in anxiety syndromes. (20)
Improvement of Behavioral Deficits / Alzheimer's Model: Study evaluated the use of Centella asiatica herb to enhance memory and nerve function. A water extract of CA in a murine model of Alzheimer's disease with high ß-amyloid burden. There was attenuation of ß-amyloid associated behavioral abnormalities in the mouse murine model of AD. The combination of in vitro and animal studies support the C. asiatica potential for clinical benefit in Alzheimer's disease. (21)
Neuritogenic Effect / Human Neuroblastoma Cells: Study showed neurite outgrowth promoting activity of Eca 233. Besides the in vivo neuroprotective effect of ECa 233, study supports further development of ECa 233 for clinical use in neuronal injury or neurodegenerative diseases. (22)
Phagocytosis Effect / Human Neutrophils / Cell-Mediated Immune System Stimulation: Study investigated the effect of an ethanol extract of leaves on neutrophil phagocytic function. CA extract stimulated chemotactic, phagocytic, and intracellular killing potency of human neutrophils. Results showed Ca stimulates cell-mediated immune system by increasing neutrophil phagocytic function. (23)

Toxicity studies
• Alcoholic extracts have shown no toxicity in rats.
• Patients have reported GI upsets and nausea as adverse effects. Rashes have been reported with topical use. Few cases of liver enzyme elevations resolved on discontinuation of the herb use.

Tinctures, capsules, extracts in the cybermarket.

Last Update November 2013

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
Line Drawing / Centella asiatica / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 651./ aterVISTA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / SEEDS / Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. - spadeleaf / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database./ USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study on the Effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on Acoustic Startle Response in Healthy Subject / Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: Dec 2000 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - pp 680-684
An in vitro study of the effect of Centella asiatica [Indian pennywort] on enteric pathogens / Indian J Pharmacol | February 2004 | Vol 36 | Issue 1 | 41-44
Effect of Centella asiatica L (Umbelliferae) on Normal and Dexamethasone-Suppressed Wound Healing in Wistar Albino Rats / The Intern Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, Vol. 5, No. 3, 137-143 (2006) / DOI: 10.1177/1534734606291313
Protective effect of Centella asiatica extract and powder on oxidative stress in rats / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.10.022 / Food Chemistry Vol 100, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 535-541
High Frequency in vitro Multiplication of Centella asiatica: An Important Industrial Medicinal Herb
Immunomodulatory Activities of Centella asiatica and Rhinacanthus nasutus Extracts / Khanittha Punturee et al / Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev, 6, 396-400
Centella asiatica accelerates nerve regeneration upon oral administration and contains multiple active fractions increasing neurite elongation in-vitro / J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;57(9):1221-9.
Adjunctive periodontal treatment with Centella asiatica and Punica granatum extracts. A preliminary study / Int Acad Periodontol. 2003 Oct;5(4):106-15.
Larvicidal and Adult Emergence Inhibition Effect of Centella asiatica Brahmi (Umbelliferae) against Mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera : Culicidae) / African Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol. 8 (2005); 31 - 33 / ISSN 1119 – 5096

Centella asiatica / Monograph / Alternative Medicine Review Volume 12, Number 1 2007
An in vitro study of the effect of Centella asiatica [Indian pennywort] on enteric pathogens / B. Mamtha, K. Kavitha, K. K. Srinivasan, P. G. Shivananda / Indian J Pharmacol | February 2004 | Vol 36 | Issue 1 | 41-44
Comparison on Cognitive Effects of Centella Asiatica in Healthy Middle Age Female and Male Volunteers / Roxana Dev Omar Dev, Suhaila Mohamed et al / European Journal of Scientific Research, No.4 (2009), pp.553-565
The antiepileptic effect of Centella asiatica on the activities of Na + /K + , Mg 2+ and Ca 2+ -ATPases in rat brain during pentylenetetrazol-induced epilepsy / G Visweswari, K Siva Prasad, V Lokanatha, W Rajendra / Indian Journ of Pharmacology, 2010, Vol 42, No 2, Pp 82-86
A study on antibacterial activity of crude extracts of asiatic pennywort and water pennywort against Staphylococcus aureus / Duangkamol Taemchuay et al / KMITL Sci. J. Vol 8, No 2, July - Dec 2008
Efficacy of Centella Asiatica in Reducing Oxidative Stress in Hydrogen Peroxide-induced Sprague Dawley Rats / Hussin, Mahanom / May 2008 / Masters thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Sorting Centella names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Gotu kola / University of Maryland Medical Center
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) on acoustic startle response in healthy subjects. / Bradwejn J, Zhou Y, Koszycki D, Shlik J. / J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000 Dec;20(6):680-4.
Centella asiatica Extract Improves Behavioral Deficits in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease: Investigation of a Possible Mechanism of Action / Amala Soumyanath, Yong-Ping Zhong, Edward Henson, Teri Wadsworth, James Bishop, Bruce G. Gold, and Joseph F. Quinn / International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Volume 2012 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/381974
Neuritogenic effect of standardized extract of Centella asiatica ECa233 on human neuroblastoma cells
Oraphan Wanakhachornkrai, Varisa Pongrakhananon, Preedakorn Chunhacha, Aree Wanasuntronwong, Anusara Vattanajun, Boonyong Tantisira, Pithi Chanvorachote* and Mayuree H Tantisira* /
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:204 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-204
An in vitro study of Effect of Centella asiatica on Phagocytosis by Human Neutrophils / *Ravindra G. Mali, and Basavraj C. Hatapakki / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Nanotechnology Volume 1 • Issue 3 • October - December 2008

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