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Reduce skin ageing with gotu kola?

Antognoni F, Perellino N, Crippa S, Toso R, Danieli B, Minghetti A et al. 2011. Irbic acid, a dicaffeoylquinic acid derivative from Centella asiatica cell cultures. Fitoterapia. Article in press.

Centella asiatica, commonly known as gotu kola, is an Ayurvedic herb with long standing traditional use in treatment of fevers, bacterial infections, venous insufficiency, mental disorders and skin diseases. Recently this plant has been included in cosmetic preparations for cellulite.

The major known bioactive constituents of the plant include polyacetylenes, triterpenoid saponins (asiaticoside and madecassoside) and sapoogenins. Given the large demand for these, researchers have in the past attempted to overproduce them in laboratories using in vitro culture techniques. Recently researchers attempting to do just that were surprised to find low amounts of these phytochemicals in their products but rather large amounts of caffeoyl derivatives, in particular a product called 3,5-O-dicaffeoyl-4-omalonilquinic acid (renamed irbic acid, for ease of discussion). A major activity of this phytochemical is its strong ability to absorb UV light, particularly in the range of 300 and 330 nm.

This acid has never been identified in gotu kola before leading to the scientists conducting research into its other properties. Irbic acid was found to have a strong free radical scavenging ability and a significant inhibitory influence on collegenase (the enzyme responsible for the degradation of the collagen matrix) activity.

The fact that the molecule helps to protect the skin from UV damage and inhibits collagen breakdown, in addition to its small size and hydrophobicity suggest the possible utilisation of the substance as a topical agent to assist in reducing skin ageing.

Tessa Finney-Brown MNHAA

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Author:Finney-Brown, Tessa
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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