Centella asiatica

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                           Centella asiatica (Linnaeus) Urban in Martius, Fl. Bras. 11(1): 287. 1879.
Whole plant of Centella asiatica

Nomenclature and Taxonomy

Centella asiatica is known as Indian pennywort but it is locally called as Ghortapre (Bhojpuri, Chepang, Magar, Nepali, Sunuwar, Tamang, and Tharu), Jasundo, Lemsyu, topre jhar (Gurung), Phirumuk (Lepcha), Lakphesungm (Limbu), Ghortap (Mooshar), Bakucha ghayan (Newari), Yuklamwasun (Rai), Khocha (Raute), Chhimele, Ghumen (Sherpa) in different languages of Nepal. [1] It belongs to family Apiaceae and is given with synonym Hydrocotyle asiatica Linnaeus. [2]

Plant Description

Centella asiatica is a herb with petiolate leaves. Leaf blade is orbicular or reniform, 1–4.5 × 1.5–5 cm, palmate veins 5–7, prominent, both surfaces glabrous or abaxially sparsely pubescent on the veins, base broadly cordate, coarsely toothed. Peduncles are 2–4, clustered axillary, 0.2–1.5 cm; bracts are 2 (rarely 3), ovate, 3–4 × 2.1–3 mm, persistent in fruit. Inflorescences are umbels 3–4-flowered, capitate. Flowers are sessile or subsessile. Petals are white or rose-tinged. Fruit is 2.1–3 × 2.2–3.6 mm. [2]

Ecology and Distribution

Centella asiatica is widespread throughout tropical and subtropical countries worldwide. It is distributed in Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam. It grows in shady, wet, grassy places, river margins of 200–1900 m altitude. [2] In Nepal, it is found throughout the country in moist, open places up to 2800 m. [1]

Phenology and Reproduction

Centella asiatica flowers and fruits most of the year. It propagates by nodal rooting of the prostrate stem. [1]

Economic Value

Centella asiatica is economically important for food and medicine. Its aerial part is cooked as a vegetable and also used as a potherb or salad. Whole plant is used as a medicine. [1]

Phytochemistry and Pharmacology

A paste of Centella asiatica is applied to reduce muscular pain and swelling. It is also used in ringworm, eczema, and pimples; it also treats leprosy, nerve troubles, cuts, and wounds. It also relieves headache, fever and indigestion. Its leaves are diuretic and tonic. Leaf juice purifies blood, induces appetite, and helps in memory improvement. [1]

Centella asiatica exhibits sedative and anxiolytic properties, antidepressant, antiepileptic, cognitive and antioxidant, gastric ulcer, antinociceptive and antiinflammatory, radioprotection activity. [3]

Centella asiatica contains alkaloids, glycosides, terpenoids, steroids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, and reducing sugars. [4]

Diseases and Pathogens

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Manandhar, N. P. (2002). Plants and People of Nepal. Portland, Oregon, USA: Timber Press. p. 144.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 She, M. L. & Watson, M. F. (2005). CENTELLA Linnaeus, Sp. Pl., ed. 2, 2. 1393. 1763. 积雪草属 ji xue cao shu. In Flora of China Editorial Commettee (Eds.), Flora of China Volume 14 [PDF online], p. 18. Retrieved from http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/PDF/PDF14/Centella.pdf
  3. Gohil, K. J., Patel, J. A., & Gajjar, A. K. (2010). Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 72(5), 546–556. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.78519. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/
  4. Arumugam, T., Ayyanar, M., Pillai, Y. J. K. & Sekar, T. (2011). Phytochemical screening and antibacterial activity of leaf and callus extracts of Centella asiatica. A Journal of the Bangladesh Pharmacological Society, 6, 55 - 60. Retrieved from http://www.banglajol.info/index.php/BJP/article/view/8555/6424