Ingredient: Gotu Kola/Pennywort/Wild Violet
INCI: Centella Asiatica Extract
Our rating: GOOD
What is Centella Asiatica Extract?
Centella asiatica – also known as gotu kola – is a small green herb acclaimed for its therapeutic properties. An important natural remedy in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, it grows in the wild in the wetlands of Indonesia, East and South Asia and South Pacific.
Benefits of Centella Asiatica Extract:
Centella asiatica is rich in antioxidants that help to fight free radical damage from the sun’s UV rays such as hyperpigmentation and age spots. Saponins in gotu kola are known to positively impact the connective tissue by stimulating skin repair and strengthening the upper layer of the skin.
Chronic inflammation caused by heat, burns, pollution and other environmental factors can lead to premature aging. The body’s defensive mechanism reacts by releasing enzymes which trigger the free radicals to further worsen the inflammation by discharging the Matrix MetalloProteinases (MMPs). MMPs break down collagen and elastin fibers that disrupt, thin and flatten the dermis. Gotu kola contains anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines and prevent the dermis from becoming thin and loose.
The Indian Journal of Medicine describes gotu kola as a “potential herbal cure-all” due to its extensive use in Ayurvedic medicine to treat eczema, psoriasis, lupus and female disorders. Studies show that triterpenoid saponins in the plant (specifically asiaticoside, brahmoside, brahminoside, madecassoside and madecassic or madasiatic acid) accelerate wound healing by boosting antioxidants and increasing the blood supply to the bruised areas. In a 2012 study, centella asiatica concentrate was applied to rats with open skin wounds. The results showed that the formulation inhibited bacterial growth, repaired veins and spurred the growth of new skin cells. It also increased the skin’s “tensile strength” and protective barrier.
Side Effects & Toxicity:
An extremely safe ingredient, centella asiatica has no known toxicity in general use and is shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.
In India, centella asiatica is popularly known as the “tiger’s herb” because wounded tigers have been spotted to rub against it to heal their wounds. For the Chinese, the plant is used as a remedy for colds, fevers and flu. In Sri Lanka, gotu kola is referred to as the “herb of longevity” as the elephants – known for their long lifespan – love to eat its leaves.