Centella is a small trailing herb and the only species of Centella available in India. The stem is glabrous, striated with pink color and has roots at the nodes. It is a low growing evergreen perennial plant that is 20 cm tall. Centella Asiatica spreads quickly through its roots and produces long stolons of about 250 cm long.
This plant forms large carpets of growth and the shape of the flowers are round bunches and pinkish-red in clour. Each flower contains five stamens and two styles while the structure of the fruit is smooth, rib shape and warty. The size of the fruit is about two inches long and the leaves can extend up to 1 inch thick by 6 inches long in size.
Centella Asiatica (Fact Sheet)
|Scientific Name||Centella Asiatica|
|Other Names|| Gotu kola
|Country of Origin||Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, China|
|Plant Height||20 cm tall|
|Length of Leaves||1 inch thick by 6 inches long in size|
|Years Nurtured before Harvesting||3 months|
|Years to Mature|
|Parts of the Plant Used||The Whole plant|
|Color||Evergreen and pinkish-red|
|Best Time to Grow||Summer and monsoon time|
Scientific Name & Other names
The botanical name of this plant is Centella Asiatica and it belongs to Apiaceae family. The other names are Gotu Kola, Mandukparni, Khulakudi, Brahmi, Indian pennywort, Asiatic Pennywort, Brahmi, Man t’ien hsing, Chi-Hsueh ts’ao and spade leaf.
Centella Asiatica grows in the marshy regions of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Iran, northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is available in the bog gardens as well as the ponds of southern states of Florida, Hawaii and USA. The plant grows all over India popular as “elixir of life” as in folk legends it has been mentioned as a herb that helped a sage to live more than 200 years. It is one of the earliest medicines for the treatment of leprosy. France recognized this plant in the 18th century for pharmaceutical purposes for treating dysentery, diarrhoea and infertility.
Vegetative Cultivation & Propagation
Centella grows best in the lowland tropical and subtropical areas and also moist to wet soil under the sun. It provides flowers all the year in damp climatic conditions but during the dry season in monsoon climate, it dies down. The bushy plant with leaves of significant size and petioles are cultivated to eat as a vegetable.
- The field where this plant gets cultivated should be prepared well with the help of one ploughing and two steps of harrowing followed by planting process.
- Mix right proportion of manure adequately in the soil during the time of preparing the field and add NPK fertilizers in the ratio of 100:50:50 kilogram/ha in four split doses.
- As the plant is an irrigated crop, the planting is done in February and March with a spacing of 45*45 cm.
- They can grow as a pure crop in the Mango orchards and other types of large trees.
- Continuous hoeing and weeding are required due to the profuse growth of weeds in the beds.
- During the monsoon season, prevention of water logging in the beds is essential. Fortnightly irrigation is also needed in the dry months and proper drainage is necessary during the rainy season.
Harvesting & Storage
The crop reaches the maturity level within ninety days after planting. The process of accumulation is done with the help of hand cutting when the leaf attains its full size. Harvest the leaves during the sunny season to dry the plan and if the weather conditions are favourable, the first harvesting is done within two to three months after plantation.
The yield of the bushy plants can reach up to 8 tonnes per hectare of fresh leaves with the first harvest and up to 14 tonnes for each subsequent harvesting. The new leaves which are harvested as a vegetable are tied in small bundles and need to store in a cold environment or else the plants will get damaged.
Asiatica produces a green cover in vast surroundings and the flowers attract a good source of pollen for honey bees.
Parts of the plant Used
The entire plant
Medicinal Uses & Health Benefits
- Enhances our memory and clarity
- Allows proper circulation of blood in our body, increases the count of white blood cells and helps to purify the blood
- Acts as a rejuvenating agent to prevent aging
- Very efficient for curing urinary tract disorder
- Handy for the treatment of agitation, hysteria, epilepsy and insomnia
- Cures various skin infections, chronic and swelling ulcers
- Controls high blood pressure and the powder when mixed with coconut oil helps in strengthening the growth of hair
- For refreshment, blend the juice of the leaves with water and sugar and drink it
- For bleeding disorder and treating Jaundice, Centella is a handy herb
- Provides relief for gastrointestinal-related problems and sterility in females
- By applying this herb one can remove the scars related to injuries, chicken-pox or burns
- In Thailand, the patients poisoned due to opium detoxify their body by taking this medicine
- Enhances the immune system of the body
- Acts as a soothing effect and balances the temperature of the body when there is high fever
Possible Side Effects & Precautions
- In some cases, there is a chance of an increase in cholesterol and blood sugar levels especially in people suffering from high cholesterol and diabetes
- Causes miscarriage at the time of pregnancy, so avoid consumption when pregnant
- When breastfeeding, avoid this medicine
- Excess consumption will lead to sensitivity to sunrays and artificial tanning lights
- Oral use may lead to stomach upset and nausea
- May mix with medications that lead to drowsiness and results in increased sedation
- Lessens the impact of insulin, various oral diabetic medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Leads to an increase of sedative effect when taken with cold and cough medicines or when drinking
- Barbiturates, anticonvulsant drugs used for insomnia and drugs like tricyclic antidepressants lead to drowsiness when consumed with this medicine
The leaves of the plant contain asiaticoside, glucoside, acetic acid, centoic acid and people consume it as green leafy vegetables.