Derived from Centella asiatica, Madecassoside, also referred to as madecassic acid, is a chemical compound used as an ancient herbal remedy in India and other locations as well as in Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries. Mention of this plant has been found in Sanscrit manuscripts, clearly indicating its longtime use for medicinal purposes. Other records indicate that its use in the western world did not begin until the late 1800s with dry extracts coming into existence in the early 1940s.
Part of the parsley family of plants, Centella asiatica is known by a wide assortment of names including gotu kola, pennywort, and brahmi. Madecassic acid is an active ingredient extracted from the stems and leaves of Centella asiatica. While Madecassoside was identified during the late twentieth century, the extraction process was only discovered and implemented in the beginning of the twenty-first century when technological advances in chromatography became more readily available. This process enabled better separation and enhanced purification, two critical elements of the extraction process, leading to higher levels of purity, a necessary aspect allowing for the human skin to tolerate use of this ingredient.
A creeping annual that grows along running water or in marshes, Centella asiatica is used in Asian culinary dishes as well as for medicinal and skin care use. Today, the leaves are still ingested as part of dietary intake or ingested as a dried herb used to flavor the food for the purposes of enhancing memory or relieving anxiety and stress.
Madecassoside, a triterpene contained in the plant’s chemical makeup, has also demonstrated the ability to help control inflammation, moderating its existence. Because of this potent anti-inflammatory capability, Madecassoside has been used to treat psoriasis and similar afflictions or chronic lesions of the skin.
Known for its curative properties, Madecassoside has also demonstrated anti-aging and healing capabilities for the skin. In particular, Madecassoside is noted for stimulating collagen production and synthesis due to the presence of triterpene found in it. It does this by stimulating the fibroblasts that are responsible for creating collagen. This activity helps to strengthen the structure of the skin, making it firmer and more resilient to external damage. Scientific studies have shown that inclusion of Madecassoside in skincare formulas provides access to its glycosides, which increases the synthesis of collagen in the skin.
Collagen is an essential component of the dermis, aiding in maintaining the skin’s natural elasticity and supple nature. Not only does collagen help to keep the skin soft and smooth, but stimulating its production offers reparative capabilities that assist in the healing of wounds. Madecassoside has proven to perform effectively as an antioxidant, fighting off free radicals that can cause so much harm to the skin. This active ingredient efficiently blocks the proteins that are responsible for breaking down the skin tissue, inducing added anti-aging benefits into the skin treated with products containing Madecassoside.
Plus, it helps in maintaining more youthful-looking skin. Due to the anti-aging benefits that it offers, this active ingredient is used not only in formulas for mature skin, but also in formulas designed to induce quicker wound healing, particularly after surgical procedures have taken place. When combined with ascorbic acid, Madecassoside improves the turgidity (elastic nature) of the skin even more so. Although individual results may vary, it is suggested that individuals using skincare formulas containing this active ingredient may not see visible results for as long as six weeks of daily usage. Trace amounts of this substance do not seem to produce the same results as higher levels of it.
Recent studies undertaken to examine the reparative capabilities of Madecassoside have shown that this ingredient is beneficial in reducing the development of keloid scar tissue, minimizing its appearance on the skin. This substance helps to regulate the renewal of epidermal tissues, modifying inflammation and minimizing the development of keloids. Although additional studies are needed to further examine the possibility, it has been suggested that Madecassoside may offer assistance in the prevention of stretch marks, occurring due to fast weight gain or pregnancy.
Topical application is not considered dangerous at the levels that are included in skincare formulations. However, a physician should be consulted prior to using any products for topical application by small children or pregnant women.