MANDUKAPARNI (Centella asiatica)
Mandukaparni is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of ayurveda. It is often confused with brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), as Mandukaparni has synonyms like brahmi, brahma manduki, manduki, ekaparni etc. Infact mandukaparni and brahmi are entirely different plants, though have similar properties. Maharishi Charaka has categorized Mandukaparni as medhya (intellect promoting) or nervine tonic and as vayahstha pana (promotes longevity) and preserves youth. Bhavaprakasa has mentioned it as divya mahousadhi-the divine great drug. Sushruta has cited it as an alleviator of pitta dosha. Charaka has praised it to be an effective remedy for tuberculosis with deviation.
The plant grows in moist places throughout India; it is commonly seen in marshy banks of rivers, streams and ponds and irrigated lawns, fields etc. It is also found in Sri Lanka and Madagascar. The leaves are long-petioled, 1.5-6.5 cm in diameter, more rounded, with toothed margins. The Sanskrit name Mandukaparni refers to the leaves of the plant which resemble the claw of a frog. The flowers, minute, pinkish red, 3-6 in cluster. The fruit 8 mm long, like a grain of barley. The fruit 8 mm long, like a grain of barley. 7-9 ridged.
The botanical name of Mandukaparni is Centella asiatica and it belongs to family Umbelliferae, apiaceae. The glucosides, brahmoside and brahminoside have been isolated with their gennin brahmic acid. The Madagascar variety contains different glycoside known as asiaticoside, which is not found in Sri Lankan variety. But, arelated compound, centelloside and triterpenic acids, centoic and along with centellic acids have been reported (Indian J. Chem. Soc. 1956, 33, 893). The sapogenins and flavonoid components were same in both varieties. A new triterpene acid madasiatic acid – isolated and characterized. Also polyacetylenes (I, II, III, IV and V) and nine other acetylenes isolated. Also, madecassoside and asiaticoside isolated.
Mandukaparni is bitter and astringent in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates all the three doshas, predominantly kapha and pitta. It has a special potency as an intellect promoter. It possesses light attribute. It is used in various mental disorders, heart diseases, skin ailments and is beneficial as a general tonic and rejuvenator.
The whole plant and leaves are used for medicinal purpose. Externally, the paste of the leaves alleviates the discharges and promotes the wound healing. It is extremely beneficial in various skin diseases, especially in acne vulgaris.
Internally, the whole plant juice is regarded as one of the best psychotropic drugs. It is commonly used in anxiety neurosis, mentally retarded children or slow learners. Mandukaparni promotes intelligence and memory and has also calming and tranquillizing effect. It is a well known anti-ageing herb. In mental disorders it imparts significant improvement in both general ability and behavioral pattern. As it boosts the agni, it is beneficial in anorexia as well as in colitis. In cough, bronchial asthma and hoarseness of voice, it bestows mucolytic action and eases the problem by relieving the phlegm. It is beneficial in raktapitta, cardiac debility associated with edema and in fever as it digests ama. It works well as a lactodepurant as well as galactogogue. Various skin affections, chronic non-healing ulcers, glandular swellings and filariasis respond well, to Mandukaparni. As it is a tranquillizing and calming herb, it works well in epilepsy, hysteria, agitation, mental stress and insomnia. Mandukaparni is seldom used in the form of decoction, as heating destroys its properties. Hence, cold infusion is preferred. In dysuria, it is useful as it is diuretic.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Astanga ghrta etc.