Centella: Characteristics, Properties, and Uses

Although centella is most well-known for reducing cellulitis, it has other multiple benefits, such as treating ulcers or hypertension.
Centella: Characteristics, Properties, and Uses

Last update: 05 November, 2019

Centella is a small plant used in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. However, it’s becoming increasingly popular in the West as well.

Maybe you’ve seen it in herbal shops and asked yourself what’s it for. In this article, we tell you all about centella, a very powerful medicinal plant.

What’s centella?

Some centella plants.

Its scientific name is Hydrocotile asiatica and it originated in India. This curative plant has thousands of medicinal properties. In the East, it’s known as Gotu Kola.

The stalks are thin, its leaves are long, and its roots are beige-colored. Its flowers and small and pink. It’s grown over a period of three months and is harvested by hand.

It’s usually sold in the form of tablets in health food stores. However, some shops also sell it as a plant to make infusions or even as a salad ingredient.

How to use and consume it

It’s been used for approximately 3,000 years to cure different external and internal problems. 

  • For internal use, you can add it to salads or smoothies. In addition, you can also prepare the leaves as a tea.
  • For external use, poultices are recommended. In addition, you can find different natural centella products in stores, such as creams, lotions, and gels.

The health properties of centella

A glass of centella infusion.

The periodical consumption of centella offers the body many benefits. This is due to its multiple properties. Overall, it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and healing properties particularly stand out.

Internal application

The best benefits come from its internal application.

  • It’s very useful in cases of bronchitis.
  • This plant is an excellent remedy to prevent and treat anemia.
  • It strengthens the blood vessels and gives the arterial walls elasticity. That’s why it also helps those who suffer from high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
  • This plant helps treat different mental problems. Ingesting this plant is synonymous with peace of mind. For this reason, it’s recommended for people who suffer from episodes of serious anxiety or nervousness.
  • Additionally, it improves brain capacity by favoring concentration and improving memory.
  • Centella is recommended for women who suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome as well as for those who always feel tired or fatigued as a result of their daily activities.

External application

You can also use it externally to treat dermatitis and cellulitis, for example. Some have even used it to cure leprosy.

You can also buy centella products at health food shops. Thanks to its ability to form collagen fibers and elastin, you can use it to:

  • Cure burns and heal wounds.
  • Reduce wrinkles and stretch marks.
  • Treat ulcers.

Plus, it’s also great for maintaining healthy and strong nails and hair.

Someone with cracking nails.

Given that it’s a spectacular tonic for the blood vessels, centella is also good for treating any symptom related to circulation, such as phlebitis.

Other benefits of centella

A cup of centella infusion.

Of course, this powerful plant has dozens of other properties, and at least some of them deserve to be mentioned. This plant:

  • Treats spots and abscesses.
  • It’s believed that it can eliminate eye infections and fight dryness (although there’s still no scientific evidence to prove it).
  • Accelerates the healing process after surgery.

Centella and cellulitis

Above all its medicinal properties, centella is most well-known for its ability to reduce cellulitisTo enjoy this property, you can take it orally or through an external massage treatment.

There are many substances responsible for making it an effective plant against cellulitis. They include fatty acids, tannins, phytosterols, and mucilages.

This plant stimulates the lymphatic system and enables it to excrete waste through the urine, sweat, and feces. It also activates blood circulation and increases skin irrigation and oxygenation.

  • The treatment is based on ingesting daily tablets or drops and massages with creams or gels that contain centella at least twice a week.
  • This technique isn’t recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
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  • Orhan, I. E. (2012). Centella asiatica (L.) Urban: From traditional medicine to modern medicine with neuroprotective potential. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/946259
  • Sondari, D., Harmami, S. B., Ghozali, M., Randy, A., S., A. A., & Irawan, Y. (2017). Determination of The Active Asiaticoside Content in Centella asiatica as Anti-Cellulite Agent. Indonesian Journal of Cancer Chemoprevention. https://doi.org/10.14499/INDONESIANJCANCHEMOPREV2ISS2PP222-227