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Centella asiatica

As a medicinal plant, Centella has been used and studied for benefits in healing wounds, keloids, burns, leg ulcers, cellulitis, along with a number of other conditions. Read more...

 

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What is Centella?

Centella asiatica has been around for thousands of years used as a medicinal plant. This perennial creeper is found throughout Asia, especially South Asia such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India, and has fan-shaped green leaves. It is widely used in eastern medicine while also having been studied in western medicine as well.

Along with a number of other agents, it has a combination of:

  • asiatic acid

  • madecassic acid

  • madecassoside

  • asiaticoside



 


 


What has Centella been used for?



There are active components of this plant that have been shown to have various benefits in skincare and overall health. Extracts have been studied for wound healing to increase collagen production and add strength to a wound while also accelerating wound healing. As a medicinal plant, it has been used and studied for multiple health benefits including:

  • Healing wounds

  • Keloids

  • Burns

  • Leg ulcers

  • Cellulitis

  • Along with a number of other conditions



Its benefits are attributed to its anti-microbial properties in addition to its ability to prevent collagen and elastin breakdown in the skin.

It is difficult to state with certainty if Centella asiatica is listed on a product label or referred to as a Cica cream if these actually include the extracts referenced in studies. Although there are some studies evaluating the improvement of wrinkles in volunteers, it is unclear if the improvement noted was a result of increased hydration of the skin or actual collagen production.



Is Centella safe to use?



It is considered safe in its use in cosmetic preparations per the FDA as it is well tolerated in topical products. In terms of side effects for topical use, there have been reports of contact dermatitis, burning sensations, and skin irritation. These studies are primarily mice studies with very little research on humans. The other challenge with these studies is that they studied specific extracts of Centella asiatica.


Does Centella have sun protection benefits?



As far as sunscreen potential, the FDA has not approved Centella asiatica for this use. There are limited studies that show a potential benefit for Centella to prevent DNA damage to cells induced by UV radiation. However, from reviewing these studies this is not due to actual blockage of UV to cells. Sunscreens and sunblocks work by blocking, absorbing, or reflecting UV light so that the UV cannot get through to minimize risk to our cells. Centella works in more of an anti-photoaging capacity in that it actually thought to prevent damage from UV to cells by altering protein expression in our cells that produce collagen.




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