- Local Name: Pegaga
- Scientific name: Hydrocotyle asiatica Linn (Centella asiatica (L.) Urba)
- Characteristic: A creeper and a herbaceous plant with long runners and red flowers
- Parts Used: Leaves and roots
In ancient traditions, pegaga was used to detoxify the blood formula and aid skin condition. Research on pegaga in 1949 indicated the plant’s success in accelerating healing and relieving inflamation on leprosy sores and ulcers. Its other medical uses include treating skin diseases, asthma, hypertension, poor appetite, poor blood circulation, kidney stones, leg cramps, rheumatism and dizziness.
To treat dizziness, boil the leaves with green beans then leave it overnight in the open. Eat the leaves and beans with some sugar the next morning. When the leaves are boiled with onions and drunk, it is effective for treating rheumatism, water boiled with the roots is taken as tonic.
To treat typhoid, pound the leaves finely and apply to the forehead. Water in which the roots have been soaked is used for bathing by mothers after childbirth. The roots when boiled are sometimes used by Malays as a decoction or douche to treat vaginitis and vaginal thrush.
Ayurvedic medicine recommends pegaga for treating asthma, anaemia and other blood disorders, to reduce inflammation and fever. It consider the herb a “balancing” tonic, that increases energy while it relaxes the body, it is held to be effective in combating insomnia and making one calm for yoga and meditation.
According to scientific study, it is also said to improve intelligence and memory retention. The study reveal that tablets made from this plant when taken orally over 12 weeks by mentally retarded children, produced significant capabilities in them Madasiatic acid and brahmic acid have been isolated from the plant also known as pennyworth, jin chian cao ( in Chinese), valarai (Tamil), brahmi (Sanskrit), khulakudi (Hindi) and artaniyya-e-hindi (Arabic). The Malays usually take Pegaga as ulam (raw).