Thankuni/ Manimuni/ Gotukola/ Mandukparni/ Thanparni

Binomial Name: Centella asiatica

The active components are triterpenic pentacyclic saponins that may vary from 1 to 8%. The principal saponins are:

* Asiatichosids (ester of Asiatic acid and a trisaccharide chain, constituted by ramose and two glucoses)

* Madecasosid (ester of madecasic acid and a trisaccharide chain, constituted by ramose and two glucoses)

* Other minor saponins are centellosid, brahmosid, brahminosid and the centellosaponins B, C and D.

Furthermore, it contains abundant tannins (20 - 25%), essential acid (0.1% with beta-chariophylen, trans-beta-pharnesen and germachrene D), phytosterols (campesterol, sitosterol, stigmasterol), mucilages, resins, free aminoacids (alanine, serine, aminobutyrate, aspartate, glutamate, lysine and treonine), flavonoids (derivates of chercetin and kempferol), an alkaloid (hydrochotine), a bitter component (vallerine), fat acids (linoleic acids, linolnelic, oleic, palmitic and stearic).

The asiatichosid was isolated and purified in 1940 and the first systematic clinical studies were begun in 1945. Pharmaceutical preparations of Centella bare based on pentacyclic and triterpenic derivates of Asian and madecasic acids and acid of asiatichosid.

Most of the clinical studies on Asian Centella have been realized with alcoholic or watery extracts of one of the following extracts: TECA, TTFCA or TTF. The TECA extracts (titular extracts of Asian Centella) and TTFCA (triterpenic total fraction of Asian Centella) are combinations of Asian acid (30%), madecasic (30%) and asiatichosid (40%). The TTF extract (triterpenic total fraction) consists of Asian and madecasic acids (60%) in a relation not clearly defined yet, in combination with asiatichosid (40%).

Pharmacological action:

Healing action: It has been shown in cases of extracts of the drug as well as in the case of asiatichosid. The asiatichosid stimulates the fibroblastic activation with a re-epithelizing effect by stimulating the production of collagen I in vitro, a key protein for the healing of wounds. Apart from showing a stimulation of the collagen synthesis in different cell types, the asiatichosid incrreases the tensile strength of the newly formed skin, furthering the healing of the wounds. It also inhibits the inflammatory process which may provoke hypertrophy in scars and it improves the capillary permeability.

Centella has been used in the prevention of vicious scars (cheloids) after wounds or surgery, and to smooth existing cheloids. It has also been used to improve the healing of wounds and burns and to alleviate the symptoms of sicknesses of the connective tissue, like scleroderma.

The mucopolysaccharides are principal components of the cellular matrix that maintain the vascular integrity. The biochemical action of the Centella extracts is to reduce the levels of lisosomal enzymes related with the degradation of the mucopolysaparides.

Other pharmacological actions observed in experimental animals are anti-ulcer activity, antiviral, immune-modulating and anti-tumor activities.

Mechanism of action:

1) The active components of Centella act on the fibroblasts of the connective tissue of the vascular walls as well as around the vessels, modulating the collagen synthesis.

2) Inhibition of the proliferation of queratinocytes, which explains its usefulness for psoriasis and as a prevention of the formation of cheloid scars.

3) Anti-tumor activity by immune-stimulation.

4) Diuretic.

5) Increases the cerebral levels of gama-amino butyric acid (GABA) which gives it sedative, hypnogen and ansiolytic properties that are dose-dependent.

Its Centella asiatica's anti-inflammatory action on the nervous system which interests me. 

Centella asiatica increases the cerebral levels of GABA, which explains its traditional use as ansiolytic and anti-convulsive.

Centella asiatica has been used for the treatment of the syndrome of concentration deficit and in cases of feeble-mindedness, although its action mechanism in these pathologies is not known.

Centella asiatica

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