Common Name: Gotukola, Mandukaparni,
English Name: Indian pennywort
Botanical Name: Centella asiatica (L.) Urban (Syn. Centella coriacea Nannfd., Hydrocotyle asiatica L., Hydrocotyle lunata Lam., and Trisanthus cochinchinensis Lour.)
Family: Umbelliferae ( Apiaceae)
Description: A perennial herbaceous creeper belonging to the family Umbelliferae is found throughout India growing in moist places. It is found in most tropical and subtropical countries growing in swampy areas, including parts of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and South Africa and South pacific and Eastern Europe. This has a characteristic odour, greyish green colour and bittersweet taste plant that thrives in and around water. It has small fan-shaped green leaves with white or light purple-to-pink or white flowers and it bears small oval fruit. The whole plant is used for medicinal purpose.
Chemical Constituents: C. asiatica has been reported to contain a vast number of compounds belonging to different chemical classes. The major chemical class found in this plant is triterpene saponosides. The major ones are known as asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside, madecassoside, and madasiatic acid, betulinic acid, thankunic acid, and isothankunic acid. Moreover, There are some other triterpenes such as brahmic acid, centellin, centellicin, asiaticin, bayogenin, terminolic acid, centellasapogenol A, centellasaponins A-D, ursolic acid, pomolic acid, 3-epimaslinic acid.
Properties: Aqueous extract of the herb showed significant effects on learning and memory and decreased the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and 5-HT and their metabolites in the brain. It has psychotropic, sedative and anticonvulsant properties. It is also useful in dementia, mental disorders and anxiety. The alcoholic extract of the whole plant showed strong cardioprotective activity. The total triterpenes had antidepressant activity and caused significant reduction of the corticosterone level in serum. Pectin isolated from C. asiatica showed immunostimulating activity. Centella asiatica administered orally to mentally retarded children showed significant increase in behaviour. It has a calming effect on the body and supports the central nervous system.
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