Pegaga/Centella Asiatica

natureCentella Asiatica is one of those phytochemical that has been consume for hundreds years and it is claimed that the plant possess various healing effect and antioxidant properties.    For many years, a lot of commercial and medicinal researches have been focusing their resources on this plant.   Hence, the profiling of this plant is vital.

Centella asiatica is also indigenous to China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Western South Sea Islands, Australia, Madagascar, Southern and Middle Africa, Southern United States and in insular and continental tropical America.
Traditionally, in Madagascar and East Africa, this plant, dried and crushed, has been used in the treatment of leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, syphilis, and as a wound healing agent. The Indian however, traditionally regard this plant as a potent brain tonic and shows remarkable properties in terms of treating senile decay and loss of memory, whilst it is also alleged to enhance verbal articulation. In Chinese folk medicine, a decoction of this herb is used for the treatment of colds, sunstroke, tonsilitis, pleurisy, urinary tract infections, infectious hepatitis, jaundice, and dysentery; as an antidote for arsenic poisoning, toxic mushroom and as an external poultice for snake bites, scabies, traumatic injuries, and herpes zoster. Sometimes considered as a sedative, this plant has been known to be tonic in Malaysia. Today Centella asiatica is the active ingredient of many drugs and cosmetic preparations in Europe, U.S.A. and Japan in the field of skin care.

pegaga centella

Pharmacology of Centella Asiatica

A brief description of the important chemical compounds found in pegaga is as follows:

Firstly, asiatic acid or the glycoside derivative of asiatic acid, asiaticoside is an active compound of c. asiatica, extracted from the plant. Both asiatic acid and asiaticoside are constituents of the marketed dermatological product Madecassol, which is a component of scar removal creams. these triterpene saponins and their sapogenins are mainly responsible for the wound healing and vascular effects. Other components isolated from C. asiatica, such as brahmoside and brahminoside, may be responsible for CNS and uterorelaxant actions, but clinical studiet have not yet confirmed their effectiveness, Centelloside and its derivatives are used in the treatment of venous hypertension. The total pegaga extract contains plant sterols, flavonoids, and other components with as yet no known pharmacological activity.

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Dosage

Pegaga is prescribed by herbalists and traditional healers in several forms, but most common is a typical daily dosage of around 600 mg of dried leaves or infusion. Often, capsules are prescribed that contain between 300-700mg of the powdered herb, to be taken two to three times daily.

roche Nicholas in france produces more than three tonnes of a patented titrated extract of CeA (TECA). Centella extract 940 per cent standardised asiaticoside) is taken either in the form of 10mg capsules – three to nine times a day – or as a topical application with cream at two to four per cent.

Precautions and Safety

In some individuals, pegaga may have a low potential for skin irritation, and has on occasion resulted in contact dermatitis. However, pegaga has as yet no known toxicity in recommended doses. an overdose of ingested pegaga has been known to cause headaches and occasional fainting, and chronic over use may prevent women from becoming pregnant? Pegaga has therefore a great many health benefits, but the dosage and usage must be strictly regulated for safe and effective usage, much like any other medical or therapeutic treatment.

The growing number of herbal preparations on the market, including pegaga, raised the possibility of complications related to improper use of these products, or the lack of medical supervison. It is extremely important that companies or organizations begin to offer detailed patient advice on the use of herbal preparations to avoid many more of these problems.

Development of Standardised Functional Foods from Centella asiatica

Oxidative stress results when the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) overrides the antioxidant capability of the target cell. ROS are very reactive molecules produced when one is exposed to pollution, cigarette smoke, stress, excessive sunlight, toxic compounds and intensive exercise . Reactive oxygen species have been implicated in the development of various diseases including atherosclerosis, liver injury, arthritis, aging, neurodegenerative disease and canser. However, foods containing antioxidants may be used to aid the human body reduce oxidative stress and damages. Much attention has been focused on the use of antioxidants, particularly natural sources, to inhibit peroxidation and protect human body from oxidative damages by free radicals.

In this study, antioxidative activity of various extracts (methanol, water, petroleum ether0 from different parts 9root, leaf, petiole) of different accessions of centella asiatica were evaluated using various assay systems. In additon, efficacy of centella asiatica in reducing oxidative stress in rats is also studied. Results revealed that ethanol and methanol extract of centella asiatica demonstrated high antioxidative activity, in particular CA05, that is comparable to that of aplha-tocoferol and BHT wich the root and leaf exhibiting highest activity.

results involving Spraque Dawley rats showed that, both centella asiatica powder (5%) and extract (0.3%) are effective in reducing the oxidative stress of hydrogen peroxide induced rats, as measured by level of malonaldehyde in the blood. Pegaga treated rats were also found to have lowest blood triglyceride and LDL–cholesterol content compared to the control. Similar trend was also seen with activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase of the rats measured. Findings from this study suggested that the antioxidative activity measured might be due to the presence of phenolic ompounds in particular the flavonoids that were found to be in high concentrations in pegaga. This includes myricetin, quercetin, catechin and rutin that are known to be potent antioxidants. the four flavonoids were then used as biomarkers in developing standardized functional foods, from centella asiatica, which includes herbal drinks, pastille and pasts.

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Healing

In Ayurveda, the Indian science of traditional healing, the pegaga is known as a rejuvenating herb used to improve meditation. It develops the “crown chakra”, the energy center at the top of the head, and is said to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf resembles.

There are three main chemical constituents in the pegaga. The first is asiaticoside, which is a triterpene glycoside, classified as an antibiotic. (It aids in wound healing and has been used in the treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis in India) The second constituent is a pair of chemicals, brahmoside and brahminoside, which are saponin glycosides. (These are diuretic in nature and have a slightly sedative action when taken in large doses). Finally, there is madecassoside, a glycoside that is a stron antiinflammatory agent.

Centella asiatica also became noticed in Western medicine around about the middle of the twentieth century. The alcohol extract of the herb was effective in the treatment of leprosy. During the World War II, the pegaga extract asiaticoside was noted to have wound healing properties, and more recently.

Collagen synthesis has been demonstrated both clinically in vivo and on human manolayer cell cultures as a result of the application of Asiatic acid, and asiaticoside has been found to enhance levels of antioxidants, important in wound healing.

In both in vivo and in vitro models, Asiaticoside promoted angiogenesis, (the formation and differentiation of blood vessels). This condition enhances the supply of oxygen to the wounded tissue, and can foster the accelerated healing of wounds.

In cases of vascular injury, thrombosis, acute myocardial infarction, and other peripheral vascular diseases, a higher number of circulating endothelial cells was detected.

Venous insufficiency – circulatory problems

94 patients suffering from venous insufficiency of the lower limbs were given Titrated extract of CeA (TECA), up to 120mg,/day for two months. A significant difference was shown between the placebo groups and the TECA groups – the conclusion was positive for the treated groups compared to the placebo. The extracts proved to be effective on microcirculation and capillary permeability, and in the treatment of parameters checked for lower limbs and edema.

Studies on asiatic acid have shown a strong inhibition of beta-amyloid – and free radical – induced cell death. It has been postulated that these compounds may be suitable for a treatment of Alzheimer’s disease that protects neurons from beta-amyloid toxicity.

Antiulcer Effect:

Animal studies showed that the extract of CeA inhibited gastric ulceration, induced by cold and restraint stress, in rats. The plant extract, which increased GABA levels in the brain, protected the rats against cold restraint ulceration. It is knnown that GABA and its agonists inhibit the central cholinergic action by affecting the turnover rate of acetylcholine in the rat brain.

Hypertension

Research undertaken on patients suffering from hypertension has shown that extracts of CeA can have a significant positive effect on lowering of blood pressure. These improvements included filtration rate, ankle edema, and ankle circumference. No significant change was observed in control subjects.

Antitumor Properties

The oral administration of the extracts (crude or purified) slowed the development of solid and ascites tumors (causing an accumulation of fluid in the spaces between tissues and organs in the cavity of the abdomen) in mice13 in one study, and a crude extract and purified fractions of CeA showed cytotoxicity against Erlich ascites and Dalton’s lymphoma ascites tumor cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Other studies involving different cancer cell lines showed no significant cytotoxic effects.

Effect on herpes simplex virus type 1 and types 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2)

Combined with various Thai plants, CeA extract showed inhibitory effect on plague formation and also reduced the yield of HSV-1 and HSV-214 in vero cells, originating from an African green monkey kidney cultivated in growth medium and infected by HSV-1 and HSV-2

500 herbal extracts against HSV-2 infection were investigated in another study, using human embryonic muscle skin monolayer culture. CeA was regarded as “highly effective” in controlling virus infection.

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The Science Supporting Titrated Extract of Centella Asiatica

Titrated Extract of Centella Asiatica (TECA) is a reconstituted mixture of three triterpenes extracted from the plant and is being used in Europe in wound healing drugs. TECA has been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures and in increase the tensile strength of tissues.

Paradoxically, centella asiatica appeared relatively late in modern Western medicine, making its entrance in the Codex only in 1884. the first dry extract was not produced until 1941, three years before the triterpenoids were isolated by P.Boiteau in 1944. the active constituents of centella asiatica are pentacyclic triterpenoids which are found as genins (asiatic and madecassic acid) and heterosides (asiaticoside and madecassoside).. The triterpenoidic molecules are particularly interesting due to their regulating and activating functions, which art on the collagen present in numerous organs.

Centella Asiatica

Centella asiatica is a small perennial herbaceous plant, belonging to the Umbelliferae family. Both the leaves and the entire plant can be used therapeutically. The commercial veterinary formulation contains madecassic acid (1.2 mg/ml) and asiaticoside 90.5 to 0.7 mg/ml). the ratio of madecassic acid to asiaticoside varies between 1.5 and 2.3 to 1, depending on the source of the plant used to manufacture the final commercial formulation. In literature it is reported that leaves of Centella asiatica containes quercetin-3-glycoside and kampferol-3-glycoside, these may be removed during the extraction process.

Extract of Centella asiatica is used in veterinary medicine for its wound healing properties and is applied locally to wounds of the skin or mucous membranes.

The major clinical indications for the use of Centella asiatica in human include the treatment of wounds, venous insufficiency of the limbs, certain mycobacterial infections and cellulitis. the product is normally used orally or topically in man. Dosage levels used orally in man are reported to be between 330 to 680 mg of the herb up to 3 times per day.

The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal products

Miracle in your Backyard – Centella Asiatica

Stories and research on all products from natural plants in creating a healthy and beautiful living, at a very costly price -

Centella Asiatica – Don’t mow down your backyard just because it looks messy. Look to see if you have a slender, creeping plant that has small fan-shaped leaves. If so, keep it because this is a plant with great medicinal value. The locals, in fact, have known this all along. That’s why the Malaysia incorporate it as part of their daily diet. Dipped in sambal belacan or other savoury sauces, they eat it raw as ‘ulam‘ the Chinese, on the other hand, call it chin chow and make ‘cooling‘ drinks out of it. The plant grows well in this climate and can be bought fresh at the pasar malam or in jellied form from the supermarkets.

The local name for this widely available herb is pegaga. Its botanical name is Centella Asiatica (Scientific name), a perennial, is known by many names, including Gota Kolu, Valeerai (India) Indian Pennyworth, Pegaga (Malaysia) Pegagan (Indonesia), Brahmi, Chi-hsueh, Ts’ao, Talepetraco. Pegaga is known as Brahmi (bringing knowledge of Brahman) in India, and is used as a blood purifier as well as for treating several other illnesses, Brahmi is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a revitalizing medicine in the nerves and brain, and similarly the herb was used in Eastern medicine to treat psychiatric illnesses such as depression The Sri Lankans noticed that the local elephants had a liking fo Brahmi, and believed that the leaves enhanced longevity.

In Ayurveda, the Indian science of traditional healing, the pegaga is known as a rejuvenating herb used to improve meditation. It develops the “crown chakra”, the energy center at the top of the head, and is said to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which the leaf resembles.

There are three main chemical constituents in the pegaga. The first is asiaticoside, which is a triterpene glycoside, classified as an antibiotic. (It aids in wound healing and has been used in the treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis in India) The second constituent is a pair of chemicals, brahmoside and brahminoside, which are saponin glycosides. (These are diuretic in nature and have a slightly sedative action when taken in large doses). Finally, there is madecassoside, a glycoside that is a stron antiinflammatory agent.

Research – Research on the plant has been extensive. Since proving its efficacy as an antibacterial on leprosy sores and ulcers in 1949. the plant has shown subsequent successes. This led to medicinal preparations in the 1970′s containing its chemical constituents for action against cellulitis, acute inflammation of the skin, wound healing ahd rheumatic inflammation. Pegaga apparently affects various stages of tissue development, including keratinization (the process of replacing skin after sores or ulcers), the synthesis of collagen (the first step in tissue repair), the stimulation of hair and nail growth, and support for the repair of cartilage.

Recent studies have shown that pegaga also has a positive effect on the circulatory system. It seems to improve the flow of blood throughout the body by stregthening the veins and capillaries. Hence, it is particularly useful for people who are inactive or are confined to bed due to illness. The herb has been used to successfully treat phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), varicose veins, as well as leg cramps, swelling of the legs, and ‘heaviness’ or tingling in the legs.

Because the pegaga improves connective tissue, it is helpful in conditions where the tissue gives way like when capillaries collapse (varicose veins). The same connective tissue repair potential can be used where there is extensive scarring (from acne or burns), leading to the conclusion that the herb can be used to treat arthritis, which is connective tissue related.

Aprt from all benefits that the pegaga is known for, the herb, which appears to be nothing short of a pharmaceutical miracle, is also referred to as “food for the brain”, This is because it has mild tranquilizing, anti-anxiety and anti-stree effects which calms the nerves while improving mental functions such as concentration and memory. this makes the pegaga an excellent herb for children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The additional beauty of the pegaga is that it is safe for long term use, even in children.

Rich not only in vitamins – Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Beta Carotene, Traces of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Niacine, but also in minerals like Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron and Sodium. It also has high Potassium and Magnesium. Earl Mindel, America’s leading pharmacist turned herbalist cum nutritionist, ranks pegaga among the best 100 herbs in the world (the “Hot Hundreds” as he calls it) in his book The Herb Bible. Dr. Robert D. Willix Jr. in his Health and Longevity Newsletter calls it a ‘miracle herb” in helping to improve circulation and skin conditions. On the World Health Organization’s list, it is described as “a herb with real potential.’ It is being billed in the West as “herb for the memory” and “herb for the brain,.”