Botanical Name: Centella asiatica
Species: C. asiatica
Indian Name: Khulakudi or Brahmamanduki
Common Name : PENNYWORT, INDIAN PENNYWORT, ARTAYNIYA-E HINDI, JAL BRAHMI
Part Used : WHOLE PLANT
Grows in the warmer regions of both hemispheres, it is a slender, creeping plant abundant in swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, China, South Africa and in tropical areas of Central and South America.
Centella grows in tropical swampy areas. The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm (0.79 in). The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.
The flowers are white or pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size, less than 3 mm (0.12 in), with five to six corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit. The crop matures in three months, and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.
Flavonoids, glycosides ,saponin glycosides, triterpenoids (asiaticosides)
Adaptogen, alterative, anti-pyretic, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, nervine, tonic, vulnerary
Centella is well known as a tonic in Chinese medicine. It is considered to be bitter, pungent, with cold properties entering the spleen, liver and kidney meridians. It is said to clear heat and promote water metabolism and is a yin tonic.
Centella is known to increase the tensile binding strength of connective tissue and to reduce scar tissue formation associated with wound healing. It has demonstrated wound-healing action in treatment of dermal ulcers, dermal tuberculosis and leprosy. It is also said to promote longevity in a manner similar to Panax ginseng and Ganoderma. It is shown to have action in the immune system to reduce fever, has been use as a â€œblood cleanserâ€. Some ability to act as an anti-microbial has been demonstrated in tests on animals.
It has been used as a trophorestorative, which means it has a sedative action to reduce anxiety, yet helps focus thinking and to promote memory. It is said to calm the mental chatter, promoting calm and clarity. It probably has this action due the adaptogenic action of restoring the normal stress response in maladapted individuals.
Infusion: 1 Tbl/cup H2O BID â€“ TID
Tincture (1:5): 2-5 ml TID
Fluid Extract (1:1.5, 1:3): 1-4 ml TID
Powder Extract: 100 mg â€“ 200 mg TID
Origin, Distribution and Composition:
Indian pennywort is a perennial wild creeper which grows horizontally and is small and smooth. It has slender branches and small internodes. A number of leaves shoot out at each node on the upper. side and numerous roots grow into the soil at each node. The creeper thus has abundant leaf growth and new plants shoot out of various nodes.
In Myanmar cuisine, raw pennywort is used as the main constituent in a salad made also with onions, crushed peanuts, bean powder and seasoned with lime juice and fish sauce.
Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, being the most predominant of all locally available leafy greens, where it is called gotu kola (???? ???). The adjective gotu in Sinhalese, is translated as “an inverted conical shape” (like the shape of a colander) and kola as “leaf”. It is most often prepared as malluma (???????), a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes, such as dhal, and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious and is often the very first leafy green a weaning toddler is introduced to. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola plants, the gotu kola malluma almost always contains grated coconut, diced shallots, lime (or lemon) juice, and sea salt, and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder, turmeric powder, chopped carrots as additional ingredients. The Centella fruit-bearing structures are discarded from the gotu kola malluma due to their intense bitter taste. A variation of the nutritious porridge known as kola kenda is also made with gotu kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Gotu kola kenda is made with well-boiled red rice with some extra liquid, coconut milk first extract, and gotu kola purée. The porridge is accompanied with jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in modern sweet “pennywort” drinks and herbal teas. In addition the leaves are served stir-fried whole in coconut oil, or cooked in coconut milk with garlic or dhal.
In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, and is also mixed into asinan in Bogor.
In Vietnam and Thailand, this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls. In Bangkok, vendors in the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market sell it alongside coconut, roselle, chrysanthemum, orange and other health drinks.
In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.
It is one of the constituents of the Indian summer drink thandaayyee.
In Bangladeshi cuisine mashed centella is eaten with rice.
Centella is widely used in various Indian Regional cuisines. It is known as vallarai in Tamil. It is an important component of unave marunthu concept which translates to food is medicine. Vallarai Kootu is a dish made out of centella and Dal. Vallarai thuvaiyal/thugaiyal, poriyal, spice podi (to be mixed with rice and ghee) and chutney are all various applications of centella in home cooking.
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The leaves of the plant are simple or of one blade, thickish, almost round or kidney-shaped and yellowish green in color. The fruits are small, flat circular and hard. The fresh leaves have an aroma due to the presence of an oily matter called vellarine. The aroma is lost on drying.
The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish green in color, interconnecting one plant to another. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 20 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.
The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit.
The crop matures in three months and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.
Indian pennywort is indigenous to India. It was known to Sanskrit writers from ancient times. This plant is found throughout India both in the plains and hilly tracts upto 2000 metres. It grows abundantly in moist areas and river banks, thriving in shade.
Several other substances have been isolated from the herb, These include an essential oil, a fatty oil, sitosterol, tannin and a resinous substance. The dry plant yields an alkaloid, hydrocotylin. The leaves and roots contain a bitter principle, vellarine, pectic acid and resin. The leaves of the plant have a mixed taste-sweet, sour, astringent and bitter. The cellulose content is very low.
Uses : : It is Tonic, Diuretic and Alterative. It is used in treatment of leporasy and known to ameliorate the symptoms of the disease and improves general health of the patient. It is a brain tonic and stimulates hair growth.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
The herb corrects the disordered processes of nutrition, by which organism ingests, digests, absorbs, utilizes and excretes food substances and restores the normal function of the system. It counteracts inflammation and is a mild purgative. It also increases the secretion and discharge of urine.
All the parts of the creeper are used both for therapeutic and culinary purposes.
The leaves of the Indian pennywort are considered beneficial in improving memory. The powder of the leaves taken with milk in small doses for this purpose helps in correcting the disorders.
Dysentery in Children
The leaves of the plant are an effective remedy in the early stages of dysentery in children. Three or four leaves can be taken with cumin and sugar in addition to applying a paste of the leaves on the navel.
In case of bowel complaints amongst children, half a cup of an infusion of its leaves with fenugreek (methi) can be taken, in a single dose.
The herb is effective in nervous disorders including nervous debility. A powder of the leaves dried in shade and taken in doses of 3 to 6 decigrams, thrice a day’ for adults, is effective. Reduce the dose to 0.75 to 2.5 decigrams for children.
Indian pennywort is effective in female sterility when combined with another herb called chotakulpha, (trichodesma Indicim). The two herbs should be uprooted when matured and dried in the shade for use. An equal quantity of both herbs should be taken, powdered with sugar candy in the ratio 2:1. Three grams of this powder should be taken both in the morning and evening with cow’s milk for 3 consecutive days after menstruation. However, the woman using this recipe should be free from menstrual pain, leucorrhoea, obesity or any such disease. If she has any, these should be treated before going in for this remedy.
The drug is useful in treating elephantiasis of the scrotum and legs, which is marked by gross swelling. The juice extracted from a portion of the fresh plant or the dried stem and leaves of the plant ground with water, should be applied locally to the affected parts. A poultice of the fresh leaves or an ointment made of four grams of the leaf extract with 30 grams of lanoline is equally efficacious.
Indian pennywort is a common household remedy for skin diseases like chronic and persistent eczema, chronic ulcers and syphilitic sores. A fine powder of the dried leaves can be used as a dust in skin eruptions and syphilic ulcers. To check fever associated with these diseases, the juice of the leaves should be taken thrice a day in doses of I to 5 drops.
Dosage: the drug is generally given as a decoction in doses of 30 to 60 ml or as powder in doses of 21 to 6 decigrams thrice a day. The leaves of the plant can be taken in doses of 30 to 60 grams. The juice of the leaves can be taken in doses of 60 to 100 ml and the decoction of the leaves from 120 to 150 ml.
Precautions: It is advisable to take the raw juice of the leaf in small doses as the juice is very potent and an excess intake may lead to coma.
The leaves of Indian pennywort have culinary uses too and can be used for making soup, raw chutney, tea, raw juice and chapatis (mixed with wheat flour).
The information presented hereinÂ is intended for educational purposes only.Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.