Recent and past global studies indicate the therapeutically beneficial role of Centella Asiatica also known as Indian Pennywort ( a valuable medicinal herb ) in the processes of wound healing and inflammation. Outlined below is a summary of the conclusions and results obtained from these studies.
Post – acne scarring or atrophy is a consequence of enzymatic destruction and is potentiated by inflammatory mediators leading to destruction of deeper structures within the dermal compartment ( reticular dermis ) . The extent of inflammation will determine the depth, amount and type of scarring.
Facial and bodily acne scarring causes major cosmetic disability and social anxiety.
Therefore, successful treatment of acne scarring is by examining the pathogenesis of scar formation itself. Various surgical and non – surgical modalities are used for treating scars, but here we will examine the effects of Centella Asiatica on scar tissue.
Types of Scars – a general review:
- Superficial Reticular Scars
- Ice Pick Scars or Boxcar Scars
- Multi – channeled Scars
- Fat Atrophy
- Perifollicular Scarring
Clinical evidence suggests that hydration, vascular stability, wound healing, structural support, collagen remodeling, and reduction of inflammation will all lead to increased rates of treatment success of scar tissue.
Actions of CA ( Centella Asiatica ) as evidenced from various in – vivo and in – vitro studies indicate:
- Wound / Tissue / Scar healing.
Principal terpenoids or saponins, extracted from the CA plant are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and asiaticoside. These pharmacological compounds ( glycosides ) in high doses ( 0.1 – 0.2 % w / w ) act by stimulating the production of collagen 1 through fibroblast proliferation, decreasing the mediators of inflammation, accelerating rates of epithelialization, promoting angiogenesis, improving capillary permeability, enhancing dermal water retention capability and initiating dermal elastin and collagen fiber re – organization along with glycosaminoglycan synthesis. In low doses CAE ( Centella Asiatica Extracts ) increase monocyte chemoattractant protein – 1 (MCP – 1), vascular endothelial growth factor ( VEGF ), and interleukin ( IL ) -1 beta levels in wound exudates. The end result is dermal remodeling, healing of young scar tissue and lessening of old hypertrophic scar tissue and keloids.
- Decreasing Inflammation and Anti – Oxidant Action.
CAE significantly decreases inflammation by potentially inhibiting prostaglandins, a group of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules. This is mainly due to inhibition of key enzymes involved in prostaglandin biosynthesis ( lipoxygenase, phospholipase and cyclooxygenase ). Inhibition of these key enzymes provides the mechanism by which glycosides inhibits the inflammatory process.Valuable compounds found in CAE are alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, triterpenoids, saponins and a host of other phytophenols that all exhibit high anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of NO synthesis.
Phytophenols in CAE display powerful anti – oxidant and cytoprotective activity, which translates biologically into a healthy epidermis, dermis, appendages, dermo – epidermal junction and melanocytes. Melanin stabilization, increased epithelial turnover and keratinization will all result in clearer balanced skin with a normalized pilosebaceous unit ( oil producing glands in the skin ).
- Anti – Microbial Effects.
CAE have potent anti – microbial activity thereby maintaining a balance between healthy and pathogenic microorganisms. This is particularly useful since CAE can potentially reduce P. Acnes populations and lead to faster healing of existing acne lesions and preventing future eruptions.
- Vascular Stability & Capillary Permeability.
CAE have demonstrated through histological evidence, a dermal micro – vascular strengthening effect that in turn aids in the healing of acne lesions at a cellular level by increasing blood flow to the damaged tissue. In addition to vascular stability it selectively increases capillary permeability hence delivering vital nutrients, oxygen and removing inflammatory cellular infiltration hence leading to dramatic healing of the pilosebaceous unit and surrounding tissue.
Treating scars is a long and painful process but by implementing various cosmetic procedures such as laser resurfacing, cosmetic fillers, surgical dermabrasion and / or plastic procedures and combining them with natural remedies will ensure long term success. A multi – prong approach is a favorable one when it comes to treating scar tissue.
Evidence based research suggests that CA might be one of the most beneficial botanicals available to mankind. In fact, I eagerly anticipate long term studies that explore the effects CA on acne prone skin and scar tissue. It will be interesting to see botanical extracts of the Asian or Indian Pennywort in cosmetic preparations as well.
The miracles of nature never cease to amaze. We are now in a time and age when ancient wisdom is fast becoming the safest more natural path to healing. What do you think ?
Happy Halloween!Dr. Ansul