Ancient Ayurvedic, African and Chinese medicine have all used centella asiatica for centuries to treat a wide range of health concerns including issues from skin conditions to infertility. This plant has been studied for years and some recent research indicates that centella asiatica can have some significantly positive effects on both your overall health and the health of your skin. Find out more about what centella asiatica is and what benefits this plant has for your health below.
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella asiatica is also commonly referred to as gotu kola, Indian pennywort, brahmi or spade leaf and is a creeping annual plant with tiny reddish-pink flowers. This annual tends to grow in a spherical shape close to the soil and is frequently found in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Centella asiatica, or just centella, contains potent phytochemicals, vitamins A, B, C and D, flavonoids and amino acids, as well as minerals including zinc, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium and sodium.
History of Centella Asiatica
For centuries, centella asiatica has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes including the treatment of skin conditions like minor burns, dermatitis and psoriasis. The leaves and stems of centella asiatica are used in traditional Chinese, African and Ayurvedic medicine. Centella asiatica has been referred to as the “elixir of life” and is mentioned in some folk legends for helping a sage live to more than 200 years. England usually refers to centella asiatica as pennywort and it was used as one of the earliest medicines for leprosy. France recognized centella as a pharmaceutical agent in the 1800s and used this plant to treat diarrhea, dysentery and female health problems like infertility.
Medicinal Benefits of Centella Asiatica
Taken internally, centella asiatica is considered to be an effective treatment for fever, dysentery and hepatitis. Recent research suggests that centella asiatica is also able to reduce or relieve depression and anxiety and can provide a mood boost. Additionally, by increasing blood flow to the brain, centella asiatic is thought to help improve memory function. Studies also indicate that centella asiatica may have a positive effect on Parkinson’s Disease, however the FDA has not yet recognized centella asiatica as a medicine.
Centella asiatica is frequently used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis because it contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Minor wounds and burns also benefit from centella asiatica because it increases blood flow to the affected area, raises the level of antioxidants in the wound and encourages collagen synthesis.
Skin Benefits of Centella Asiatica
Beyond being able to treat skin conditions, centella asiatica has some awesome skin benefits. When applied topically, centella asiatica has a tightening and toning effect on the skin and it is often found in anti-aging creams meant to keep skin firm. Because centella asiatica encourages collagen synthesis, it also helps fight fine lines and wrinkles. Another skin condition that centella asiatica provides positive benefits for is cellulite because in addition to increasing blood flow to the area it also delivers antioxidants to the area, minimizes inflammation and acts as a diuretic. These actions help to smooth and detoxify any areas of the body that are affected by cellulite.
Whether you call it brahmi, centella asiatica or pennywort, this annual plant has significant benefits to your internal health and to your skin. Look for this ingredient in lotions, creams or other products meant to tone and firm to see the anti-aging benefits mentioned above. You can also enjoy centella asiatica in supplement form, or as a tea infusion to achieve a greater level of health both inside and out.