Centella: A Medicinal Herb With Scar-Healing Abilities
Founding director of Within, a creative studio and consultancy, botanical watercolor artist @lucinda.law delivers commissioned works, nature-led design projects and botanical art workshops for clients such as Kate Spade, Chanel and Clarins.
Inspired by the beauty and art of nature, Lucinda documents botanical inspirations and brings them into her artworks. Lucinda is our Women of Inspiration of #TWLBeauty Series, and shares our love for botanicals and skincare. A fan of our Elixir V™ Total Recovery Serum for its potent plant extracts like Centella Asiatica, Lucinda counts on this serum to lighten scars and promote wound healing.
The use of plants to treat diseases is as old as the history of mankind, many wild plants and their parts are often incorporated into products for its medical benefits. In recent times, the focus on medicinal plants has increased globally, as advances in research have highlighted the immense potential of medicinal plants.
Not only are plants powerful in your diets, but certain herbs and flowers such as Centella Asiatica have superpowers to fight acne and calm inflammation.
You may not be a herb enthusiast, but you would likely have heard about the ingredient called Centella before. Infused with acne and inflammation creams, serums and masks, the Centella Asiatica extract has snuck its way to becoming a star ingredient in skincare products.
What is Centella Asiatica?
A small plant that grows up to six inches in height, it packs a punch for the benefits it delivers. Known as mandukparni or Indian Pennywort, it has been used as a medicine in traditions of India for thousands of years. In China, the Centella plant is also called gotu kola, believed to be the ‘miracle elixirs of life’.
The Centella plant grows in most parts of the tropics and in rocky, higher elevations. A tasteless, odourless plant that has small fan-shaped green leaves, all of its parts can be used for medicinal purposes. Its flowers are white or light purple/pink and bear a small oval fruit.
What are Centella Asiatica’s medicinal benefits?
The herb is recommended to treat dermatoses and skin lesions such as burns, scars or eczema.
Scar-healing properties of the herb
According to Dr. Teo Wan Lin, consultant dermatologistat Dr. TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she says: “Centella Asiatica can treat wounds effectively, as well as burns and hypertrophic scars. The key components of Centella that is responsible for wound healing are asiaticoside, asiatic acid, madecassic acid and madecassoside. These compounds are able to increase levels of protein, collagen, and peptic hydroxyproline.”
Hydroxyproline occurs in large amounts of collagen, and it plays an important role in ensuring the stability of collagen.
Madecassoside possesses wound-healing activity as it increases collagen formation and angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels. Antioxidative activity is also enhanced with madecassoside, allowing effects of inflammation to be reduced. Adding on to the (long) list of benefits, this compound causes a proliferation of fibroblasts, a type of cell that synthesises collagen and the ‘backbone’ of our tissues.
Asiaticoside improves the tensile strength of the newly formed skin at the wound site, speeding up the healing process of wounds. Inhibition of inflammatory processes is also another ability of asiaticoside, thus preventing the trigger of hypertrophy in scars. A hypertrophic scar has excessive amounts of collagen, giving rise to a raised scar.
The wound is made smaller by wound contraction and rapid increase in surface skin cells facilitated by asiaticoside.
Centella retains skin moisture and prevents water loss
The Centella Asiatica extract significantly improves moisture content on the outermost layer of our skin. Hydrating our skin is important to keep a proper skin barrier.
Components of the herb have a hydrophilic sugar chain that binds well to water, allowing hydration levels to improve. Compounded with the ability to inhibit enzymes that degrade hyaluronic acid, the Centella extract can help to prolong the effect of hyaluronic acid.
We often use moisturizers to keep our hydration levels at optimal levels, but a single application may not be able to provide hydrating effects beyond 24 hours. Yet, the Centella Asiatica extract has been proven to deliver hydration even after 24 hours, and reduce transepidermal water loss, that is the loss of water through the top layer of our skin to the atmosphere.
Elixir-V™ Total Recovery Serum
As the last step of the Dr. TWL Skin Ritual, the Elixir-V™ Total Recovery Serum contains the superpower ingredient Centella Asiatica extract. Work the benefits of the herb by applying 3 drops and tap it evenly across your entire face and neck in an upwards motion.
Tip: A mixture of Vitamin C and madecassoside (from your Centella extract!) is an attractive combination that produces a synergistic effect on your skin.
You can expect significant results from firmness, elasticity and skin hydration, as madecassoside triggers expression of collagen while vitamin C stimulates the production of fibroblasts (builds collagen and the ‘backbone’ of our cells) and inhibits enzymes that degrade collagen. So yes, do infuse them into your routine now!