Mandukaparni (Centella Asiatica)
Mandukaparni is also known as manduki in Hindi and Gotu-Kola or Indian Pennywort in English. It is a native plant of Southeast Asia. It is a medicinal plant and its tremendous uses are mentioned in Ayurveda. It is commonly used as a brain food (or brain tonic) in Ayurveda and enhances mind power. The botanical name for mandukaparni is Centella Asiatica. It is also referred as Medhya Rasayana drug in Ayurveda. It is an ancient Indian herb. It is found growing in the shady places.
HOW IT WORKS
Mandukaparni is a traditional medicine used as a phytopharmaceutical that has a neuroprotective effect. (1)
Centella Asiatica contains asiaticoside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid. These pentacyclic triterpenes, constituents of the herb extract are used in the treatment of leprosy, cellulitis, surgical lesions, etc. (2)
These components are pharmacologically active and help in wound healing and as a brain tonic. (3)
THINGS TO KNOW
Mandukaparni is a medicinal herb and the whole plant is used as a medicine. Plant extract is prepared in the form of juice is used. It is also consumed in powder form.
INDICATIONS & USES
- Brain tonic
The whole plant of mandukaparni is used in the form of liquid extract or powder form. Fresh juice of the leaves of the herb is recommended. These days tablets and capsules are also available. The recommended dose as per Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 1.3 is 5 – 10 ml of juice extract. This acts as an excellent brain tonic.
BENEFITS & EFFECTIVENESS
Mandukaparni is an important component of very important drugs of Ayurveda that are used to treat jaundice, gout, arthritis, etc. It is also used to treat anxiety, depression, peptic ulcer, eczema, psoriasis, etc. It enhances the mind power i.e. it has Medhya Rasayana effect. It is known to improve the overall health of the brain such as memory, recollection, and comprehension.
Centella Asiatica has been reported to be neuroprotective in nature. Different enzymatic actions such as enzyme inhibition and prevention of amyloid plaque formation in Alzheimer’s disease have been reported by using this plant. (4)
Mandukaparni is also known to treat Parkinson’s disease. Research articles show that the dopamine neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease can be prevented by mandukaparni. (5)
Mandukaparni has been used since ages to treat leprosy. It contains asiaticoside that acts on the waxy covering of the causative agent of leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae. (6)
Mandukaparni can be used for treating dementia. It can be used as single dose medication without posing any side effects. It is used to manage dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders. (7)
Improves Poor Blood Circulation
Insufficient blood circulation in the legs leads to swelling and puffiness, cramps and pain. It can be caused by a genetic factor, a trauma or due to a blood clot. In recent findings, it has been proved that certain drugs such as mandukaparni can be used to improve blood circulation. (8)
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is the medical term for this disease. Mandukaparni is known to improve the signs and symptoms of this disease by improving microcirculation. (9)
Mandukaparni possesses anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities. The leaf extract of mandukaparni modulates cancer cachexia. (10).
Mandukaparni is recommended in treating skin diseases like dermatoses, skin lesions, burns, scars, scleroderma etc. It is also an important ingredient of cosmetics. (11)
The herb promotes the fibroblast proliferation, increases the synthesis of collagen, increases the intracellular fibronectin content and improves the tensile strength of new skin. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps in healing of scars and keloids. (12)
Research shows that the triterpenes found in mandukaparni increases the metabolism of amino acids such as lysine and proline that build the collagen molecule. This improves the health of skin and provides nutrition to the tissues. (13)
According to Ayurveda, mandukaparni helps in retarding skin aging. It is used in the treatment of photoaging skin, cellulite, and striae. (14)
The enhancement of type I collagen due to the action of asiaticoside and collagen expression due to madecassoside reduces the age of skin and also improves its condition. (15)
SAFETY & TOXICOLOGY
Mandukaparni is a safe traditional medicine yet sedative in nature.
Overdose Side Effects
Over consumption of mandukaparni causes drowsiness. Gotu kola is a sleeping aid and excessive use may lead to excessive sleeping. Daily use of this herb should be accompanied by some agent that reduces the sedative effect. It is advisable to use this herb under a medical supervision only.