Centella asiatica

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Locally called mandukparni, Centella asiatica is highly prized in Ayurveda as a medhya (promoter of memory and intellect) and as an agent that prevents ageing (vayahsthapana) from the days of Charaka and Sushruta. Mandukaparni is also used for treatment of epilepsy, mental health disorders (mania, hysteria), insomnia, etc., [45]. A double blind clinical trial in 30 mentally retarded children (age 7- to 18 years) who received the drug for 3 months showed improved cognitive functions [46]. A recent study has also demonstrated improved learning and memory in wistar rats. The extract was found to be effective in preventing cognitive deficits in an intracerebroventricular STZ model of Alzheimer's in rats. Asiatic acid has been patented as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of dementia. Asiatic acid and related synthetic analogs have been shown to protect cultured neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity [47].The alcoholic (50%) extract of the plant has shown enhanced neuropeptide synthesis in the brain. It also induces an increase in brain protein content and acquisition efficiency [48].

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