Monday, August 28, 2017

Takip-kuhol (Centella asiatica) - a Panacean home remedy

Dr be V Rotor

Takip kuhol which means literally the operculum of gastropods or snails, grows wild, often as weeds in the garden and field where the soil is moderately damp.  It is easy to raise it in pots such as this sample (At home, QC)

Takip kuhol is a highly regarded plant of many uses; in fact it has a panacean reputation in folk medicine. Ask an herbolario, a bona fide housewife, or a village elderly. And they would say, "Takip kuhol lang ang kailangan diyan." (All you need is Centella asiatica, the scientific name of the plant.) 

Of course they are talking about common ailments, referring to ordinary colds, fever, flu, skin infection, sore throat, boil (pigsa), headache, constipation, blows and bruises.  The herbal may be prepared as decoction (boiled) or fresh.  It may be toasted and served as tea or infusion.*  For external use, the leaves are crushed and applied as ointment or liniment with vaseline or coconut oil. 

In a research conducted, takip-kuhol leaf extract was found to be an antibacterial agent against three common infectious bacteria, which explains the efficacy on the plant against infectious diseases which these bacteria cause.
  • Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria that lives in our intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make us sick and cause diarrhea
  • Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium  frequently found in the human respiratory tract and on the skin. 
  • Salmonella enterica. Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps
Pure extract of Takip-kohol leaves is effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis. Boiled extract is not as effective, especially against E coli. 

Panacea is often referred to as cure-all, which is mythological, Panacea being the Greek goddess of healing. There is no single remedy for all ailments. As a caution, takip kuhol should not be used as a prescription to serious ailments and diseases, specially those that require medical attention.~ 

Botany of Takip-kuhol
Family: Apiaceae
Scientific name: Centella asiaticaa (Linn) Urb
Synonym: Hydrocotyle asiaticaa Linn
Other common names: Gotu kola, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort
 Illustrated life cycle of Centella asiatica;  plant in bloom (Acknowledgement: Wikipedia)

Traditional Use:  Crushed leaves aare commonly consumed by Sri Lankanss as salad or hot beb\verage.  More rewcntly the herb acquired a conssiderable reputation as an aphrodisiacv, a agent that stimulates sexual vitality.


Other properties/actions: Hypotensive, longevity promoter, sclerotic, stimulant, tonic, treatment for abscesses, dysentery, fevers, headaches, high blood pressure, jaundice, leprosy, mental troubles, nervous disorders, rheumatism, skin eruptions, ulcer.

Plant Description:  Slended, creeping plant with stems that root at nodes.  Leaves are rounded to kidney- or heart-shaped at the base.  Flowers are 3 sessile.  Fruits are minute, ovoid, white or green and reticulate. 

             -  Reference: Rotor AV, De Castro D and RM Del Rosario, Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality

*Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time (a process often called steeping). An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid. The process of infusion is distinct from decoction, which involves boiling the plant material, or percolation, in which the water passes through the material as in a coffeemakerWikipedia 

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