communicable diseases and 13/17 of the WHO recognized neglected tropical diseases remain endemic, increasing level of non-communicable diseases and high prevalence of all risk factors; as well as the third highest disaster prone country in the world (World Health Organization, 2014).
The cost of healthcare continues to escalate, the rise of drug prices remains unabated and alternative modes of treatment have been sought out both by the government and non-government sectors. A practical solution to this problem is to tap natural remedies that are already in use by many Filipinos. By scientifically validating these remedies, reliable yet economical ways of treating diseases can be made available to the public at large.
A significant number of modern medicines include synthetic substances but many still contain drugs naturally produced and extracted from plants. Majority of medicines used in the treatment of human diseases and ailments are plant-produces. Our growing inability to afford health care services has reached crisis proportions in our country. The development of prescription medication is a long and expensive process for pharmaceutical manufacturers, in this scenario of our time, the use of organic medicines is needed since manufactured chemical drugs are expensive. We need to rediscover the healing elements from our natural resources, genetically altered so that the antimicrobial agent cannot exert an effect ( Coyle, 2009).
Qiusumbing (1978) discussed in his book the viable plants in the Philippines and its therapeutic indications. One of these medicinal plants is Takip kohol (Centella asiatica). It is used as medicinal herb in Ayuverdic medicine and traditional Chinese
medicine. This herb has been subjected to quite extensive experimental and clinical investigations. It is said to develop the crown chakra, the energy center at the top of the
head, which the leaf is said to balance the right and left hemisphere of the brain, which the leaf is said to resemble. It contains a chemical,asiaticoside which is triterpene glycoside, and classified as an antibiotic. It aids in wound healing and has been used in the treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis. Several scientific reports have documented C.asiatica’s ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with C. asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production (www.google.com.2010). The isolated steroids from the plant have been used to treat leprosy. In addition, preliminary evidence suggest that it may have nontropic effects. C. asiatica is used to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration, and combat aging. C. asiatica also has anti-oxidant properties that works for venous insufficiency. It is used in Thailand for opium detoxification (Singh, et. al,2015).
According to Cuevas(2007), C.asiatica is used in folk medicine to treat a wide range of medical conditions.. It has a positive effect in the treatment of venous insufficiency. The crude leaf extract is used in the areas of healing of tissue and circulatory and venous problems. It shows dramatic results in wound healing of broken tissue, burns, and reducing the formation of scar tissue. It also prevents cellulite from forming. It has been shown to strengthen veins and capillaries and improve the flow of blood. In India, the name “tiger’s grass” is sometimes used due to the fact that wounded Bengal tigers have been known to roll in the plant after a fight. In Sri Lanka, elephants eat the plant which gives it a reputation for providing long life. The following constituents found in the plant are credited with the medicinal properties: Asicatic acid – preventing wrinkles and firming the skin, improving circulation and preventing excessive scar tissue, or keloid formation. Asiaticoside – help wound and lesion healing. Stimulates the formation of fibroblasts the collagen cells that form the mesh which shapes the skin. Asiaticoside also increases blood supply to wounded tissue. It is similar to a steroid in its chemical composition. Madecassic acid – aids in the synthesis of collagen and tissue regeneration, Madecassoisise – strong anti-inflammatory agent, helps blood circulation, (www.greenlifehealth.net/centella_asiatica.June 2014).
Sharma, R. et al (1987), stated that the main active ingredients in C. asiatica are Bacoside A and B. Bacoside A assists in the release of nitric oxide that allows the relaxation of the aorta and veins, to allow the blood to flow more freely through the body. Therefore, it is revered for strengthening the immune system, improving vitality and performance and promoting longevity. Bacoside B is a protein valued for nourishing the brain cells; as a result C. asiatica improves mental clarity, confidence, intelligence and memory recall. Asiaticosides stimulate the reticule endothelial system where new blood cells are formed and old ones destroyed, fatty materials are stored, iron is metabolized and immune responses and inflammation occur or begin. The primary mode of action of C. asiatica appears to be on the various phases of connective tissue development, which are part of the healing process. C. asiatica also increases keratinization, the process of building more skin in areas of infection such as sores and ulcers. Asiaticosides also stimulate the synthesis of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin. Finally, C. asiatica strengthens veins by repairing the connective tissues surrounding veins and decreasing capillary fragility.
There is an abundance of plants with medicinal components as alternative sources of medicines which are available anywhere in La Union particularly in the 20 hectare Botanical Garden of the North in the City of San Fernando and even in the rural areas.
Leaf extracts of the C. asiatica applied topically have been shown to effectively treat second- and third-degree burns, chronic infected skin ulcers, indolent leg ulcers, and perforated leprotic leg lesions, and accelerate healing in post-surgical and post-trauma wounds. Oral administration of crude extracts of C. asiatica have been used to successfully treat peptic and duodenal ulcers, with 93% improvement in subjective symptoms and with healed ulcers in 73% of subjects evidences endoscopically and radiologically. C. asiatica extracts taken orally also significantly improved venous distension and edema in patients suffering from venous insufficiency (Cervenka and Jahodar, 2006).
The plant is considered to be a brain and memory stimulant, and may be used for Alzheimer’s disease and senility. In one study, C. asiatica has been described as possessing central nervous system activity, such as improving intelligence. In addition, the study confirms the cognitive-enhancing and anti-oxidant properties of extracts of the plant in normal rats. These findings are significant since oxidative stress or an impaired endogenous anti-oxidant mechanism is an important factor that had been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive deficits seen in the elderly humans (Veerendra and Gupta, 2012). As such, the plant has been recognized by scientists as a nontropic, cognitive, and neuroprotective with fewer undesirable effects and the same effectiveness as the classic therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia ( Cervenka and Jahodar, 2006).
There is also an evidence for direct inactivation of microorganisms. The presence of tannins in abundant amount is a large influence on the nutritive value of many foods eaten by humans and foodstuffs eaten by animals. Tannins are common in fruits like grapes, persimmon and blueberry; and also teas, chocolate, legumes, forages and grasses(www.ansci.cornell.edu/platns/toxicagants/tannins,2003). External applications promote rapid healing of wounds and inflammation by acting with proteins to form a protective layer such as a the action of comfrey on wounds. Internal actions help with conditions such as diarrhea colitis and peptic ulcers (http://herbsforhealth.about.com.htm.2012).The presence of tannins in C. asiatica leaf extract accounted for its anti-microbial activity.
According to Joseph G. Bergfeld, VaishaliAgme-Ghodke, Rupali N. Agmea and A. D. Sagarb. (2015), C.asiatica is used in folk medicine to treat a wide range of medical conditions.. It has a positive effect in the treatment of venous insufficiency. The crude leaf extract is used in the areas of healing of tissue and circulatory and venous problems. It shows dramatic results in wound healing of broken tissue, burns, and reducing the formation of scar tissue. It also prevents cellulite from forming. It has been shown to strengthen veins and capillaries and improve the flow of blood., (www.greenlifehealth.net/centella_asiatica.June 2014).
Okoye T, (2015) also found out that alkaloids have microbial affects as attributed by the ability of the alkaloids to interact act with DNA. Many alkaloids exhibit marked pharmacological activity and present in some foods used in medicine. Emetine,