Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyle asiatica
Vernacular names: Sanskrit - Mandukaparni - Brahmi; Hindi - Brahmamanduki - Gotu kola; English - Indian Pennywort; Unani - Khulakudi; Bengali - Tholkuri; Malayalam - Muttil; Gujarati - Karbrahmi; Tamil - Vallarai; Japanese - Tsubokura; Tibetan - Sin-mnar
NOTE: This is one of two main herbs that go by the name of Brahmi in the Ayurvedic texts. The other is Herpestis Monniera. Both have powerful benefits for the mind and are often used interchangeably for this purpose, depending on local availability and personal history of each physician. But Mandukaparni is specifically named for use wherever its additional effects on the urinary tract, skin, immunity, etc are needed as part of the formula.
Whole herb. Every plant has a different therapeutic value and must be prepared in its own way for maximum benefits. Mandukaparni can be found around the world in shaded, watery places.
Traditional Ayurvedic Uses:
Mandukaparni acts as a powerful brain food, and is known for its ability to enhance mind power (Medhya Rasayana effect). It supports and improves all aspects of mental functioning, including comprehension (Dhi), memory (Dhriti) and recollection (Smriti). It is important because it coordinates these three aspects of mind power to develop the full potential of the mind.
Mandukaparni has a very valuable and saught-after Vayasthapana effect, meaning that it helps retard the aging process. It is excellent for both internal and topical application. French scientists recently did some breakthrough research to show it stimulates synthesis of collagen, for powerful anti-aging effects for the skin.
Mandukaparni nourishes the mind-body connection and enhances the psychoneuro immune (PNI) response.
Mandukaparni supports the formation of quality blood (Rakta Dhatu), as well as the bone marrow and nerves (Majja Dhatu).
Doshas: Vata / Pitta / Kapha -
Pharmacological Action: tonic, sedative, alterative, anxiolytic
Clinical Research: Ramaswamy, et al. , Aithal, et al. , Malhotra, et al. and others have all reported on the sedative effects of C. asiatica. The plant extract also has been shown to be effective in anxiety neurosis and peptic ulcer . One interesting six-month study conducted on normal adults showed the herb increased mean RBC count, hemoglobin concentration, blood sugar, serum cholesterol, total serum protein, and vital capacity. Another study showed a significant improvement in memory and behavior pattern when administered to retarded children for a period of twelve weeks. Two glycosides, brahmoside and brahminoside, have been shown to exert sedative and hypoglycemic effects in experimental rats.
Traditional Uses: There is some confusion with regard to the two plants mandukaparni (Centella asiatica) and Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) which have similar appearance, properties, synonyms, and lack of textual descriptions. Careful study of the texts clearly indicate that they are two different plants. Charaka recognizes both as being promoters of mental faculties but assigns Brahmi a more specific role in treating mental diseases--like insanity, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy--while mandukaparni improves mental function through its more general Rasayana effect.
In addition to its intellect-promoting and anxiolytic effects, the plant is also used in chronic cough, eczema, psoriasis, and boils. It is in preparations given for anemia, dyspnea, emaciation, splenic enlargement, rheumatic joint pain, amenorrhea, and blood toxicity.
Indications: anxiety, minor memory loss, mental fatigue, eczema
Ramaswamy, AS et
al., Pharmacological studies on C. asiatica, J Res Ind Med, 4, 160,