Centella asiatica, cosmetic ingredient or herbal medicine?

Article in Dutch, journalistic review, 16 refs; in: Ned Tijds Fytoth, 2018(2):8-10.

EB Ass Centella 2018 2-8-10

Centella asiatica (L.) Urb., better known as Gotu Kola, is a tropical perennial swamp plant in the Apiaceae family. The leaves are often used in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes, in particular for wound healing. The saponin fraction is considered to contain the most important medicinal compounds (asiaticoside and madecassoside) and therefore most research has been directed towards these compounds. For this reason, the EMA-HMPC (Herbal Medicinal Product Committee of the European Medicines Agency) did not create a community herbal monograph on Centella (as a whole plant). The EMA-HMPC assessment report however mentions also traditional use of preparations involving the whole plant. There seems to be a potential for use of the whole plant (internal) in cases of varicous veins, chronic venous insufficiency or stomach ulcers. Extracts of leafs and (even more) of roots have a high antioxidant capacity. Lately, also the application of the herb in Alzheimer’s disease has been subjected to some studies, both in mice models as well as in human trials.

External use of the whole plant showed a very good effect in psoriasis patients, but most external applications concern the saponin fraction. A lot of research supports its use against cellulites and striae; therefore Centella is in Europe mainly known as a component of skin care products. Several veterinary products for wound healing also contain Centella.