Centella Asiatica: What Is It And Why Does It Matter for Skincare?

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* 12 min readIngredients

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Centella Asiatica, also known as Gotu Kola, Cica, Madecassoside, or Tiger Grass, is a medicinal herb rich in active compounds. Due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties, Centella has become a coveted ingredient in skincare products. So, why is this herb so popular, and how can you add its many benefits to your skincare routine?

The Origins of Centella and Its Traditional Use

Centella Asiatica originates from the wetlands of Southeast Asia, including India, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia - and it has a long history of traditional use across various cultures.

For instance, in Ayurvedic medicine (an ancient Indian medical system based on ancient writings and a natural and holistic approach to health), Centella asiatica has been recognized for centuries for its rejuvenating and healing properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, Centella Asiatica is also revered for its ability to support healthy circulation and wound healing.1

The rejuvenating and healing properties of Centella Asiatica have a rich heritage. And now, the skincare industry is also embracing these therapeutic characteristics.2-4

Active Compounds and Mechanisms of Centella

Centella or Tiger Grass is rich in three essential active compounds: asiaticoside, madecassoside, and asiatic acid. All of these contribute to Centella's powerful medicinal properties and have been the focus of numerous scientific studies.5-7

For example, asiaticoside (a triterpenoid saponin) has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties and can stimulate the production of collagen and improve the tensile strength of the skin. Madecassoside, on the other hand, exhibits potent antioxidant activity, protecting the skin from free radical damage and promoting skin cell regeneration. Lastly, asiatic acid, a pentacyclic triterpenoid present in Cica, too, has strong anti-aging effects by stimulating the synthesis of collagen and increasing the expression of key proteins involved in maintaining skin elasticity.8-9

Together, these three active compounds in Centella Asiatica or Tiger Grass and their therapeutic benefits make this herb a prized ingredient in skincare formulations aimed at promoting healthy, rejuvenated skin.

The Benefits of Centella for Skin Health

Centella Asiatica offers a range of impressive benefits that can help keep your skin healthy. For instance:

  • Wound healing and scar reduction: Centella or Tiger Grass stimulates the production of collagen, a protein essential for skin regeneration, accelerating the healing process of wounds, cuts, and burns. Its components can also help reduce the appearance of scars by promoting the formation of new tissue and minimizing inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory and soothing properties: Centella possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it highly effective in soothing various skin conditions. For example, it can help alleviate redness, irritation, and inflammation associated with eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
  • Improved skin elasticity and appearance: Centella Asiatica or Cica also promotes the synthesis of collagen and other essential proteins in the skin and can thus enhance skin elasticity and firmness, contributing to a more youthful and revitalized appearance. If you use it regularly, this herb can also improve skin texture, and reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.

Application of Centella in Skincare Products

Due to its powerful properties, Centella or Tiger Grass is a sought-after ingredient in many skincare products. This is why you can find this ingredient in many forms that cater to various preferences.

Centella Asiatica creams are popular because they often include additional moisturizing components that can provide deep hydration. For example, these creams are suitable for daily use and can be applied to your face and body:

Serums (which have more concentrated formulations) can also deliver potent doses of the active ingredients present in Centella or Tiger Grass. These serums are lightweight and fast-absorbing:

Another good option for adding Centella, Cica, or Tiger Grass to your skincare routine is masks. These masks can provide an indulgent and revitalizing experience and calm and soothe your skin. We recommend:

Lastly, Centella ointments are thicker and have more concentrated formulations. As such, they are designed for targeted spot treatment and to deal with specific skin concerns, like wounds, scars, or inflamed areas. The following Cica or Tiger Grass masks can deliver intensive healing:

Recommended Centella Usage and Potential Synergistic Effects

Each Centella product may have specific instructions for usage. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult with a skincare professional for personalized guidance.

Before you incorporate any new skincare product, including Centella Asiatica or Cica-based ones, you should first do a patch test on a small skin area. This will help you determine if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to the product. It's also a good idea to introduce Tiger Grass gradually. Once your skin has adapted, you can increase the frequency or potency of the product if desired.

Centella Asiatica is often used in combination with other skincare ingredients to enhance its benefits. Some ingredients that are commonly paired with Cica or Tiger Grass include:

  • Hyaluronic acid: This hydrating ingredient can complement Centella Asiatica's soothing and rejuvenating properties by providing intense hydration to the skin, promoting plumpness and elasticity.
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, works synergistically with Centella to improve skin texture, regulate sebum production, and reduce the appearance of pores.
  • Vitamin C: The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C complement the herb’s ability to protect the skin from free radicals, brightening your complexion, and promoting collagen synthesis for more skin firmness.
  • Ceramides: These lipid molecules help strengthen the skin's barrier function, and when combined with Centella Asiatica or Tiger Grass, can enhance its moisturizing and protective effects.
  • Vitamin B5 (Panthenol): Vitamin B5 provides hydration and improves skin barrier function. When used in combination with Centella Asiatica, these ingredients can promote healthy and nourished skin and address dryness, irritation, and uneven texture.

In general, combining Centella or Cica with these or other compatible components can potentially amplify the overall benefits and effectiveness of the skincare regimen.

Possible Centella Side Effects and Precautions

Centella Asiatica is generally considered a gentle and well-tolerated ingredient in skincare.

While there are no specific ingredients that are known to have adverse reactions when combined with Tiger Grass, it's recommended to avoid using it in conjunction with harsh or highly acidic ingredients that may cause irritation or disrupt your skin's pH balance.

You should also consult with your dermatologist or skin care professional if you are using prescription medications for skin conditions or have specific concerns or questions about ingredient interactions.

Lastly, if you have known allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients, it's also essential to review the product's ingredient list and avoid combining this component with any known allergens or irritants for your skin. As we covered above, it’s always a good idea to start centella usage with a patch test to determine if you have any adverse reactions to the product.


Centella Asiatica, Cica, or Tiger Grass has a long history of traditional use, and has been recognized for centuries for its rejuvenating and healing properties. Today, the availability of Centella in different forms allows you to choose the product that best suits your skincare routine, preferences, and specific concerns.

Whether it's a cream for daily moisturization, a serum for targeted treatment, a mask for a spa-like experience, or an ointment for localized issues, you can incorporate Tiger Grass into various skincare regimens to harness its exceptional benefits.

Centella Asiatica has emerged as a game-changer in the realm of skincare, particularly due to its potent blend of active compounds which can aid in wound healing and scar reduction, improved skin elasticity and appearance, and has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

So, unlock the power of nature and embrace the wonders of Centella, Tiger Grass, or Cica for healthier, radiant skin. Your journey to a revitalized complexion starts here!

If you enjoy reading about skincare topics, please take a look at our other articles down below! You can also join us at Breakout!


  1. Burlando, B.; Verotta, L.; Cornara, L.; Bottini-Massa, E., Herbal Principles in Cosmetics: Properties and Mechanisms of Action. CRC Press: 2010.
  2. Ferreira, M. S.; Sousa Lobo, J. M.; Almeida, I. F., Sensitive skin: Active ingredients on the spotlight. Inter. J. of Cosmet. Sci 2022, 44 (1), 56-73.
  3. Ahshawat, M. S.; Saraf, S.; Saraf, S., Preparation and characterization of herbal creams for improvement of skin viscoelastic properties. Inter. J. of Cosmet. Sci 2008, 30 (3), 183-193.
  4. Martelli; Berardesca; Martelli, Topical formulation of a new plant extract complex with refirming properties. Clinical and non-invasive evaluation in a double-blind trial. Inter. J. of Cosmet. Sci 2000, 22 (3), 201-206.
  5. Bilbao, I.; Aguirre, A.; Zabala, R.; Gonzalez, R.; Raton, J.; Pérez, J. D., Allergic contact dermatitis from butoxyethyl nicotinic acid and Centella asiatica extract. Contact dermatitis 1995, 33 (6), 435-436.
  6. Zainol, M.; Abd-Hamid, A.; Yusof, S.; Muse, R., Antioxidative activity and total phenolic compounds of leaf, root and petiole of four accessions of Centella asiatica (L.) Urban. Food chemistry 2003, 81 (4), 575-581.
  7. Hussin, M.; Abdul-Hamid, A.; Mohamad, S.; Saari, N.; Ismail, M.; Bejo, M. H., Protective effect of Centella asiatica extract and powder on oxidative stress in rats. Food Chemistry 2007, 100 (2), 535-541.
  8. Maquart, F.-X.; Bellon, G.; Gillery, P.; Wegrowski, Y.; Borel, J.-P., Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by a triterpene extracted from Centella asiatica. Connective tissue research 1990, 24 (2), 107-120.
  9. Lee, J.; Jung, E.; Kim, Y.; Park, J.; Park, J.; Hong, S.; Kim, J.; Hyun, C.; Kim, Y. S.; Park, D., Asiaticoside induces human collagen I synthesis through TGFβ receptor I kinase (TβRI kinase)-independent Smad signaling. Planta medica 2006, 72 (04), 324-328.

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