Botanical name: Centella asiatica Family: Apiaceae (Carrot family)
Synonyms: Centella hirtella, Hydrocotyle asiatica, Hydrocotyle reniformis
Indian Pennywort is a small creeping herb with shovel shaped leaves emerging alternately in clusters at the stem nodes. The runners lie along the ground and the inch long leaves with their scalloped edges rise above on long reddish petioles. The insignificant greenish- to pinkish-white flowers are borne in dense umbels (clusters in which all the flower stalks arise from the same point) on separate stems in the summer. The seeds are pumpkin-shaped nutlets 0.1-0.2 in long. In India it is revered as a medicinal herb, and particularly in Manipur the full plant is eaten as food like a leafy vegetable. Indian Pennywort appears to have originated in the wetlands of Asia. China, India, and Malaya were probably within its original range.
Medicinal uses: Indian Pennywort is revered as one of the great multi-purpose miracle herbs of Oriental medicine. It has been in use for thousands of years and has been employed to treat practically every ailment known to man at one time or place or another. The leaf and root extract has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time but has become very popular in the past couple of years for both internal use as well as topical application - although the cosmetic application is relatively new. In Ayurvedic practice it also has a valuable and sought-after Vayasthapana effect - helping to retard the aging process.< div>
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