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Boswellia serrata and Centella asiatica: learn about these very old and powerful plants.

Here you see, once again, the usual chain of events/people: herbalists and shamans (using the herbs), phytochemists (identifying the active chemicals), and biochemists (purifying the active chemicals and, eventually, clarifying the mechanism of action).

Centella asiatica  (Gotu kola, a.k.a. Hydrocotyle asiatica).

This oriental herb has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries. The active chemicals in the extract are terpenoids, including asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and asiaticoside. Centella asiatica helps wounds heal, by stimulating the production of type I collagen and decreasing the inflammatory reaction and production of myofibroblasts. Triterpenes from gotu cola may also affect various stages of tissue development including keratinization (the process of replacing skin after sores or ulcers), and stimulate the formation of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin. The triterpenes of Centella asiatica are also reported to increase the incorporation of alanine and proline into the structure of collagen, promoting healing of epithelial ulcers, bedsores, and other skin disorders. Centella asiatica positively affects the circulatory system and can improve blood flow throughout the body by strengthening the veins and capillaries.  At Skin Actives, we use Centella asiatica purified and standardized for triterpenes.


Boswellia serrata

Indian frankincense (a.k.a. Indian olibanum, salai guggul) has been used to alleviate arthritis since biblical times.  Our extract of Indian frankincense is standardized for the active triterpenoids, called boswellic acids.

Boswellic acids inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that catalyzes the two first steps in the oxygenation of arachidonic acid and its conversion into leukotrienes, which are involved in inflammation and allergy. Boswellic acids also inhibit elastase from leukocytes, an enzyme that, when leaked to the surrounding medium, can damage tissues through proteolysis of elastin. Boswellia serrata promotes collagen synthesis and is also an inhibitor of hyaluronidase (the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid), preserving the dermal matrix.

Use Boswellia serrata extract for its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory activities; it will help preserve the structure of collagen and elastin and promote collagen synthesis.



Ammon HP., Safayhi H., Mack T., Sabieraj J. (1993) Mechanism of antiinflammatory actions of curcumine and boswellic acids. J Ethnopharmacol., 38:113-9.

 Bonte, F.; Dumas, M.; Chaudagne, C.; Meybeck, A. (1995) Asiaticoside and madecassoside comparative activities on human fibroblast type I and III collagen secretion. Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises, 53:38-42.

Calzavara-Pinton, P, Zane, C, Facchinetti, E. , Capezzera R., and Pedretti, A.(2010) Topical Boswellic acids for treatment of photoaged skin. Dermatological Therapy, 23, Suppl. 1:S28-S32

Cesarone M R; Laurora G; De Sanctis M T; Incandela L; Grimaldi R; Marelli C; Belcaro G (1994) The microcirculatory activity of Centella asiatica in venous insufficiency. A double-blind study. Minerva angiologica. 42: 299-304.

Tenni, R.; Zanaboni, G.; De Agostini, M. P.; Rossi, A.; Bendotti, C.; Cetta, G. (1988) Effect of the triterpenoid fraction of Centella asiatica on macromolecules of the connective matrix in human skin fibroblast cultures. Italian Journal of Biochemistry, 37:69-77.

DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.