Centella: the ultimate "skin herb"
The ayurvedic herb centella asiatica (gotu kola) is already well established as an important skin firming and scar healing natural compound, with both centuries' old traditional use and decades' long modern research confirming it's beneficial effects on the skin.
Fighting glycation and inflammation with gotu kola
Now recent research has shown that a new centella asiatica extract, one that contains not just centella's known key ingredients (asiatic acid, madecassic acid and asiaticoside) but also a polyphenol extract, offers additional anti-inflammatory and anti-glycation benefits, not previously known.
Skin inflammation is such an important cause of skin ageing that "inflammaging" a new composite term has been created to describe it. On the other hand, glycation, i.e. the denaturation / damage of proteins caused by sugars, including the damage of skin collagen and skin elastin, has recently been identified as another key cause of ageing.
This new study has shown that the new, more "holistic" centella asiatica extract that contains both polyphenols and terpenes fighting ageing in three different ways:
- It inhibits glycation
- Fights inflammation
- Thickens the skin's collagen network, consequently firming the skin
Centella is also well known for it's antioxidant activity, which represents a fourth way in which this traditional herb helps fight ageing
Fighting cellulite with a gotu kola cream
Since skin looseness, collagen tissue deformity / fibrosis, collagen glycation and inflammation are all important facets of cellulite, it is is easy to see the potential of centella asiatica on cellulite prevention and reduction.
Additionally, centella asiatica is proven to protect capillaries and blood vessels and support microcirculation. Given that poor circulation / lymphatic drainage is another key aspect of cellulite, it is obvious that centella is the ideal anti-cellulite herb, with multiple actions against all aspects of cellulite. Additionally, there are also encouraging studies that show centella also stimulates lipolysis (fat release from fat cells), so centella may also help with fat accumulation, the main component of cellulite.
A high quality centella asiatica / gotu kola extract, with ~50% terpenes and 50% polyphenols, such as the one mentioned in this study, could be ideal in the fight against skin ageing or cellulite, as an active ingredient in a quality anti-ageing cream or a concentrated anti-cellulite cream, respectively.
- Paper: Anti-inflammaging and antiglycation activity of a novel botanical ingredient from African biodiversity
- Abstract: "Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the topical efficacy of a new purified extract from Madagascar, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica [L.] Urban), both on human explants and on human volunteers, in relation to skin wrinkling and skin protection against ultraviolet light exposure. The extract, with a peculiar content of biologically active molecules, was investigated as a novel anti-inflammaging and antiglycation agent. Its typical terpenes, known as collagen synthesis promoters, represent at least 45% of the extract. It also contains a polyphenolic fraction cooperating to the observed properties. Methods: C. asiatica purified extract was assayed on human skin explants maintained alive, and several parameters were evaluated. Among the most relevant, the thymine dimerization was evaluated by immunostaining. Malondialdehyde formation was evaluated as free-radical scavenging marker by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of interleukin-1a was observed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as well. The product was further evaluated as an antiglycation agent, being glycation quantified by the advanced glycation product carboxymethyl lysine. C. asiatica purified extract was also evaluated as an antiwrinkling agent in a single-blind, placebo-controlled study. Formulated in a simple oil-in-water emulsion, the extent of wrinkling was assessed by skin replicas, skin firmness, skin elasticity, and collagen density measurements. Results: C. asiatica purified extract could protect DNA from ultraviolet light-induced damage, decreasing the thymine photodimerization by over 28% (P<0.05). A reduced (26%, P<0.01) expression of interleukin-1α was also observed, supporting its anti-inflammatory potential. C. asiatica purified extract showed in vitro a total inhibition of carboxymethyl lysine formation induced by the glycating agent methylglyoxal. A clear epidermal densification of collagen network in the papillary dermis was observed. These in vitro data have been confirmed by clinical results. Conclusion: These results qualify C. asiatica purified extract as an antiaging ingredient, addressing skin damage caused by inflammaging and glycation by relying on the synergy of triterpens and polyphenolics."