July 2009 Ageless herbal newsletter
asiatica (Gotu kola)
Summing up the benefits of Centella asiatica is difficult; as there are so many, but in short it is wonderful when used to boost circulation, improve the
collagen foundation of the skin, and to fight oxidation - thereby making it a superb ingredient for
anti-aging skin care products as well as improving skin firmness and
The root of the word “collagen” is very apt in two ways. Collagen means, “glue producer” (kola = glue in Greek) – as glue was derived from early times by boiling animal hooves and sinew to make glue. But for us in the skin care and wound healing industry the “glue” idea is also applicable, as collagen is the “glue” that keeps the connective tissue together and healthy collagen is needed for keeping that
Apart from the beauty use of Centella asiatica, it is also of great help when used on post-operation and
trauma scars, as it promotes
healing, yet helps to prevent the formation of excess scar
Its historic use was in the healing of leprosy wounds, as well as
ulcerated skin, wounds, burns and
ulcers. Research has shown that asiaticoside can also help provide treatment for leprosy and skin tuberculosis, as the bacteria are coated in a wax-like substance that the body's immune system cannot penetrate, but this waxy coating is dissolved by centella, thereby allowing the body's immune system to destroy the bacteria.
Centella asiatica extract is an extract of the leaves and roots of the
Hydrocotyle Centella asiatica. It is classed as a biological product and is used as a miscellaneous skin-conditioning agent.
It is also known as extract of hydrocotyle, Fo-ti-tieng extract, gotu kola extract, hydrocotyl extract, hydrocotyle asiatica extract, Asiatic pennywort, Indian pennywort, hydrocotyle, Mandukaparni (Hindi), luei gong gen (Chinese) and is an aromatic creeping perennial that is indigenous to both tropical and subtropical areas and is found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and South Africa.
The word "gotu kola" means "cup-shaped leaf" in Singhalese - the language of Sri Lanka. Gotu kola is NOT related to cola or kola nut and contains no caffeine.
It is such a magnificent herbal ingredient that it can be used in almost any skin care product, as it has a positive effect on nearly any type of skin and skin condition.
It is a trailing herb that loves moist places and has rounded simple leaves; slender stems and inconspicuous flowers form in short clusters.
The herb centella has been used extensively, internally and externally, as a medicine since the 17th century in Africa, India, the Philippines, Java and France.
Pennywort (Centella asiatica) or wild violet as it is also known, is indigenous to Africa, India and Australia.
The ancient Indians ate two leaves a day for anti-aging and for
tired looking skin. They also used it to treat leprosy sores, syphilis, leg ulcers,
slow-healing wounds, venereal sores, tuberculosis, skin lesions and psoriasis.
It is called the tiger herb in India, due to the fact that wounded tigers roll themselves in Centella.
In Africa they used it to cure syphilis and to treat open and
infected wounds. Chinese physicians used it for longevity and to treat fevers, colds and influenza.
This herbal compound has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time, but has become very popular in the past couple of years for both internal use as well as topical application - although the
cosmetic application is relatively new.
In Ayurvedic practice it also has a valuable and sought-after Vayasthapana effect - helping to retard the aging process.
The main active ingredients contained in Centella asiatica are
triterpenes asiatic acid and madecassic
acid, together with triterpenoid ester glycosides - known as asiaticoside and
A volatile oil with p-cymol, b-caryophyllene and farnesene is also found in the plant.
The asiaticosides and triterpenes extracted from the plant have modulating properties on the development and metabolism of connective tissue, improve the
synthesis of collagen and other tissue proteins by modulating the action of fibroblasts in the vein wall, and stimulate collagen remodeling in and around the venous wall.
It is especially the triterpenoids that are thought to stimulate the production of collagen I and assist with
van Wyk, B. and Wink, M. Medical Plants of South Africa, Briza Publications, 2004. ISBN 1 875093
They therefore improve wound
repair, with a better re-epithialisation and a normalization of perivascular connective tissue, thus allowing an improvement of the venous wall tone and elasticity.
It is found that in poor connective tissue conditions, the triterpenes in Centella asiatica are able to
renew the collagen, in quantity and quality, and restore tissue firmness and skin elasticity, improving skin appearance and comfort. Apart from this it also has anti-psoriatic properties.
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, May-June 2000, pages 227-234; Phytomedicine, May 2001, pages 230-235; and Contact Dermatitis, October 1993, pages
These saponins also help prevent excessive scar
formation, by modulating and slowing down the excessive production of collagen (the material that makes up connective tissue), at the wound site and also increases the concentration of antioxidants in
Various studies have supported these actions of Centella, and furthermore have been shown to be effective in
treating surgical wounds, skin grafts, gangrene, traumatic injuries, burns, chronic skin lesions, ulcers and even leprosy wounds. It has great importance in
preventing and correcting venous insufficiency.
Furthermore, it also is helpful to minimize varicose veins, as it appears to enhance blood flow, increasing the tone of the connective tissue sheath that surrounds the veins, and helps to maintain the suppleness of the veins.
van Wyk, B. et al
In a clinical trial it was also shown that asiaticoside significantly
improved wound healing.
- Shukla A, et al: In vitro and in vivo wound healing activity of asiaticoside isolated from Centella asiatica.
- J Ethnopharmacol 1999; 65:1-11.; Bosse JP et al.Clinical study of a new antikeloid agent.
- Ann Plastic Surg 1979; 3:13-21. ; Morisset R et al. Evaluation of the healing activity of Hydrocotyle tincture in the treatment of wounds. Phytother Res 1987;
- Taken internally it appears to exert its anxiolytic and anti-stress activity by depressant action on the central nervous system (CNS), involving an increase in the concentration of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain.
- Improves circulation in veins as well as capillaries.
- Stimulates hair and nail
- Increases vascularisation of connective tissue.
- Helpful in treating
- Furthermore, it also is helpful to minimize varicose veins, as it appears to enhance blood flow, increasing the tone of the connective tissue sheath that surrounds the veins, and helps to maintain the suppleness of the veins.
- Increases the tensile integrity of the dermis (strengthens the skin).
- The asiaticosides and triterpenes have modulating properties on the development and metabolism of connective tissue, improve the synthesis of collagen and other tissue proteins by modulating the action of fibroblasts in the vein wall, and stimulates collagen
remodeling in and around the venous wall.
- They therefore improve wound
repair, with a better re-epithialisation and a normalization of perivascular connective tissue, thus allowing an improvement of the venous wall tone and elasticity.
- It is found that in poor connective tissue conditions, the triterpenes are able to renew the collagen, in quantity and quality, and restore tissue
firmness and skin elasticity, improving skin appearance and comfort.
- Apart from this it also has anti-psoriatic
- The saponins also prevent excessive
scar formation, by modulating and slowing down the excessive production of collagen (the material that makes up connective tissue) at the wound site and also increases the concentration of antioxidants in wounds.
- Various studies have supported these actions of Centella and furthermore have been shown to be effective in treating surgical wounds, skin grafts, gangrene, traumatic injuries, burns,
chronic skin lesions, ulcers and even leprosy wounds.
- It has great importance in preventing and correcting venous insufficiency.
- It helps provide treatment for leprosy and skin tuberculosis, as the bacteria are coated in a wax-like substance that the body's immune system cannot penetrate, but this waxy coating is dissolved by Centella, thereby allowing the body's immune system to destroy the bacteria.
- In a clinical trial it was also shown that asiaticoside
significantly improved wound
- For the above it is clear to see why this herb is so often used for:
- wound healing
- stretch marks
- promoting skin health
- thread veins
- varicose veins and improving circulation in general
- strengthening the arteries and veins
Laboratory tests proved that it contains compounds that exert a balancing effect on connective tissue.
The net effect is improved function and integrity of the collagen matrix and supportive structures, leading to
remarkable wound healing activity.
When Centella asiatica was used in the treatment of patients with
second or third degree burns, the results were excellent. The extract used, prevented or limited the shrinkage and
swelling of the skin, caused by infection, and
inhibited scar formation, increasing healing and
After reading about all the positive effects that Centella asiatica have on your skin and various skin conditions, it is easy to understand why it is found in so many
skin care preparations.
Centella asiatica used in products
- Healing cream
- To assist in wound healing while soothing skin complaints – such as eczema and psoriasis, acne and piles and moisturizing and protecting the skin. This product has shown its effectiveness over a wide range of problems and judging from sales over more than a decade – it is the trusted healing cream to help with all mishaps, allergic reactions, irritated, burning, itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions.
- Face wash
- This face wash will properly clean your face and remove all impurities and environmental pollutants, without drying the skin. It contains eight herbal extracts to help promote a clear, vital and healthy complexion and a younger looking skin.
- Moisturizing day cream
- This day cream is formulated to help fight the signs of aging on various fronts. It helps to reduce free radical damage which, if left unchecked, leads to premature aging. The herbal extracts help to promote cell rejuvenation and regeneration and provide moisture and hydration to the skin.
- Nourishing night cream
- This nourishing night cream penetrates the skin extremely well and does not make the skin feel oily. It contains a host of herbal extracts to help in the fight against premature aging and has added vitamin E as well. Apart from the moisturizing effect and the anti-aging properties it also softens and smoothes the skin.
- Eye gel
- An effective refreshing eye gel to help reduce puffiness and dark rings around the eyes, while fighting wrinkles and lines. This is a very clever combination of herbal extracts and the base formula has its roots in a clinically proven formula.
- Mud face mask
- With this skin treatment product we combined a special selection of herbs in a base of thermal mud with oligoelements. This recommended weekly treatment will boost circulation to the skin, help to fight wrinkles and lines, improve firmness while at the same time improving suppleness and elasticity of the skin.
- Shampoo with rosemary extract + 7 other herbals
- Our shampoo is in a class of its own – and granted – it is far more expensive than cheap supermarket shampoos, but no other shampoo has the active ingredients we have in our shampoo. The rosemary will boost the health of the hair and scalp, while the other seven herbal extracts will help strengthen the hair and make it shine, increase the volume and make it manageable.
- Rosemary hair treatment conditioner
- We have found that this hair conditioner should really be used as a conditioning treatment. This then removes the need to condition the hair every time you wash – and can be used once a month. It is a superb hair tonic and helps in the control of sebum secretion of the scalp. Although not formulated for dandruff – the ingredients will assist with this as well, while supporting the health of the scalp.
- Hand and body lotion
- When formulating this hand and body lotion we created a rich nourishing, protecting and reviving lotion, which will not leave the skin oily or tacky, but will create a well moisturized, hydrated and supple skin. After applying this lotion it will quickly be absorbed by the skin, leaving it silky soft, smooth and well moisturized.
- Stretch mark gel
- Although nothing can remove already formed stretch marks (only surgery can do that) – thousands of satisfied clients confirm that this gel improves the appearance of old stretch marks. The gel will help in PREVENTING stretch marks (a 92% success rate) and is used with great success by expectant mothers and body builders who may form marks when bulking-up. The formula of this gel is based on clinical studies done in France, to which we added other herbal extracts.
- Cellulite gel
- Fighting cellulite is easy with this herbal cellulite gel. It contains a patented extract of Bayberry (Myriceline) and nine other plant extracts and essential oils. The gel will help to get rid of cellulite (which has been clinically proven) and will also help to prevent cellulite from forming. So now it is easy to get your soft body contours back again.
- Apple cider vinegar (liquid) with Centella asiatica
- The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are combined with the therapeutic properties of Centella asiatica. This old folk remedy is still used with great effect by thousands of people daily.
- Digest capsules
- If your digestive system is under-par and you struggle with constipation or you simply need to boost the health of your digestive system then this capsule is for you. Fenugreek is a general digestive tonic and psyllium is a magical bulking agent that will help proper bowel movements, without using a laxative.
- Detox capsules
- Our modern day lifestyle exposes us to many unwanted additive and our diet also places stress on the body. To help the body get rid of toxins and waste materials naturally we combined fennel, basil, celery and parsley to help the body remove these toxins. It peps-up your metabolism and helps the bladder, kidneys and liver to do their work more effectively.
- Urinary and bladder health capsules
- Using an all natural approach, our capsules will help the discomfort and burning urine sensation of urinary tract infection and help clear up foul smelling urine. We combined cranberry, dandelion, uva ursi and vitamin C in a single capsule to effectively fight bladder infections and to stop the burning sensation when urinating.
- Tri- Mushroom blend capsules
- If you need an immune system boost then have a look at our combination of maitake, reishi and shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms have showed to be a great help in boosting the immune system – and form a good nutritional supplement support for HIV/Aids patients and people receiving chemotherapy. Any person with even a slightly compromised immune system may benefit from this supplement.
- Olive leaf extract capsules
- This natural detoxifier helps with a variety of ailments and people with chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, glandular fever (Epstein Barr), and even candida and herpes have found it of value. Olive leaf extract helps to fight bacteria, viruses, retroviruses, and protozoa and yeast strains. Apart from fighting all of these problems it also helps to improve kidney function and fights free radicals.
- Sexual supplement (previously known as Vuka Nkuzi)
- Men normally don’t admit when they have a declining libido although it is a most common problem. We combine in this supplement seven different natural ingredients to boost sexual health – without any side effects often experienced with such medication. After more than a decade, and thousands of regular Vuka Nkuzi clients we still offer this well priced supplement to boost the libido.
- Jojoba oil
- This liquid golden ester not only moisturizes and penetrates the skin but also helps to fight wrinkles and lines while promoting a clear and unblemished skin. Jojoba does not clog the pores but helps to restore skin elasticity and smoothness. It will leave the skin supple and velvety soft without any oiliness and can be used neat on the skin.
- Lavender oil
- This is the most popular essential oil and with good reason. Lavender oil is a superb product to use on burns, insect bites, sunburn, wounds and other skin complaints and irritations. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat (not diluted) on the skin, and is great to help with regeneration and rejuvenation of skin cells. Emotionally it has a calming and soothing effect and is an exceptionally pleasant smelling oil.
- Tea tree oil
- Once used, you will always have a bottle of tea tree essential oil handy. It deals effectively with bacteria, fungi and viruses. Our oil surpasses the “Australian Standard” by having less than 15% 1,8 cineole and more than 30% of Terpinen-4-ol. This powerful essential oil is effective in various ways to fight infections and skin problems.
- Almond oil
- This light and deeply moisturizing oil has a softening effect on the skin and can be used on the face and body. Almond oil has excellent emollient properties and helps to balance water and moisture loss in the skin. It can be used neat on the skin and also makes an excellent massage base.