Ingredient Focus: Centella Asiatica and Madecassoside!

3:52 PM

A few months ago, I got A’pieu Macasessoside Fluid and quickly fell in love with it. I think in a routine, toners are what excite me the most and this fluid is such a great one (review coming soon) that I got interested in madecassoside and Centella Asiatica. Madecassoside is a molecule issued from Centella Asiatica and that’s why they are linked. In this “ingredient focus” article, I’ll try to explain the properties of Centella Asiatica and madecassoside in a first time, based on what can be found in the scientific literature, and then I’ll show a list of products that contains them. If you see a mistake, don’t hesitate to let me know, we can all do some mistakes :D


Centella asiatica is a medicinal plant that grows in tropical swampy areas mainly in India, Southeast Asia and in wetland regions of the Southeastern US. It was already used as a ‘panacea’ 3000 years ago. It is claimed indeed to possess various healing effects and antioxidant properties (1).
It has been reported to be used in the treatment of asthma, ulcers, lepsory, vein diseases, memory improvement, antidepressant, antibacterial, antifungal, and psoriasis. That said, its main medicinal usage concerns dermatogoly. In traditional medicine, the herb of Centella asiatica has been used for hundreds of years to improve small wounds, scratches, burns, hypertrophic wounds healing, and as an anti-inflammatory agent, particularly in eczema.

The medicinal values of this plant are mainly attributed to the presence of triterpenes like asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. These triterpenes are collectively known as centelloids. Other centelloids include centelloside, brahmoside, brahminoside, thankuniside, sceffoleoside, centellose, brahmic-, and centellic acids (2).

There are multiple in vitro and in vivo studies that show the potential of Centella asiatica in wound healing as well as a few clinical trials. Centella asiatica is effective in improving treatment of small wounds, hypertrophic wounds as well as burns, psoriasis and scleroderma. The mechanism of action involves promoting fibroblast proliferation and increasing the synthesis of collagen and intracellular fibronectin content and also improvement of the tensile strength of newly formed skin as well as inhibiting the inflammatory phase of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Various studies were also conducted to show the antioxidant activity of Centella extract.

The EMA has edited an assessment report on Centell asiatica in 2010 (3) where the non clinical and clinical data of the herbal preparations available in the EU are assessed.
Ointments and creams authorized on the EU market contain 1% of dry extract and cutaneous powders 2% of dry extract (70% v/v ethanolic extract containing asiaticoside (40%), madecassic acid (30%), asiatic acid (30%), madasiatic acid (1%)). Names of commercial preparations are Madecassol® or Centellase®. Interestingly medicinal products containing triterpenic extract from Centella asiatica are authorized in Europe for cutaneous use (powder, cream and ointment) since 1968. They are authorized for the treatment of moderate or benign problems in wound formation such as atonic wounds, hypertrophic scars, keloids in active phase, for the local treatment for cutaneous ulcerations, cutaneous ulcers and cutaneous gangrene.

There is a great review about the use of Centella asiatica in dermatology where these different studies are summarized (4) and this article about the use of Centella in cosmetology if you want to know more (5).

I’ve listed below a few examples to show that Centella asiatica seems to be effective both when taken orally and when applied topically.

-        In a clinical study, C. asiatica extract was shown to be able to shorten the healing process of wounds in diabetic patients. The randomized control study included 200 diabetic patients, treated with two capsules of C. asiatica extract (titrated at 50 mg asiaticoside/capsule) three times a day. Results showed that wound contraction was better than in the placebo group. Moreover, the extract suppresses the formation of scar tissue (6). This is a study to show you the potential of C. asiatica but here it was taken per os.

-        Centella asiatica extract (30% asiatic acid, 30% madecassic acid, and 40% w/w asiaticoside) was showen to increase the collagen synthesis in a dose-dependent fashion. In this study, asiatic acid was found to be the only component responsible for collagen synthesis stimulation. This study was performed in vitro (7).

-        In another study, Centella asiastica extract was shown to increase fibroblast proliferation in a wound chamber model, and asiatic acid, madecassic acid and asiaticoside were also able to stimulate the synthesis of glycosminoglycans, especially hyaluronic acid synthesis. The stimulating effect on collagen synthesis in human skin fibroblasts was demonstrated for asiatic acid, madecassic acid and asiaticoside. However asiaticoside was active at lower doses than Asiatic and madecassic acids (4).

-        When applied topically, 1% ointment, cream and gel with aqueous extract of C. asiatica, three times a day for 24 days on the open wounds in rats, increased cellular proliferation and collagen synthesis at the wound site were observed. Same effects were obtained in guinea pigs with an administration of a 0.2% solution of asiaticoside and in rats using a titrated extract of C. Asiatica (30% Asiatic acid, 30% madecassic acid, 40% asiaticoside) and isolated compounds (4).

-        I also found a clinical trial that used Madecassol® and consisted of a 6-month therapy with madecassol (tablets, ointment, powder) of 54 patients with systemic and focal scleroderma. Ointment was applied in 42 patients and powder in 3. The ointment was preferred in ulcers and scars on fingers and toes and was used twice a day. Madecassol® powder was employed rarely, but primarily for anal and vulval lesions. Madecassol tablets and ointment were shown to be useful and effective to improve the healing process (8).

In summary, Centella asiatica accelerates wound healing by stimulating epithelization. The mechanisms involved seem to be: enhancement of collagen synthesis, stimulation of angiogenesis and antioxidant activity. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.


Madecassoside is a pentacyclic triterpene isolated from Centella asiatica. It is one of the major triterpenes of this plant.

In the scientific literature:

-        Madecassoside isolated from Centella asiatica herbs (9)

o   facilitates burn wound healing in mice when administered per os
o   alleviated infiltration of inflammatory cells as well as enhanced epithelisation resulting from dermal proliferation of fibroblasts
o wound-healing activity that may involve several mechanisms including antioxidative activity, collagen synthesis and angiogenesis.

-        In this in vitro study (10) it was suggested that madecassoside could protect cells from oxidative injury, which was probably achieved by inhibiting cell apoptosis via protection of mitochondria membranes and downregulation of the activation of caspase-3 and p38 MAPK.

-        It was also found that madecassoside was active in burn wound healing, through increasing antioxidative activity and enhancing collagen synthesis, and influencing angiogenesis. After oral administration of this compound at doses 6, 12 and 24 mg/kg to mice facilitatation of wound closure in a time-dependent manner and complete wound closure took place on 20th day in the group receiving 24 mg/kg of madecassoside. A histopathological study showed that madecassoside could alleviate infiltration of inflammatory cells and enhanced epithelization resulting from dermal proliferation of fibroblasts. These results confirm a positive effect of madecassoside on would healing (4).

-       In this in vitro study (11) were examined the effects of madecassoside on UVR-induced melanogenesis. It was shown that madecassoside could have benefits in the inhibition of hyperpigmentation caused by UV irradiation. Madecassoside could therefore have a role to play in skin-pigmentation to prevent the formation of new hyperpigmentation spots.
      The whitening effect of madecassoside was also evaluated in vivo using artificially-tanned skin (twenty three healthy subjects). The subjects applied the test material and the placebo twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening) to the tanned sites for 8 weeks. Compared to the control group, Madecassoside (0.05%) significantly reduced UV-induced melanin index (quantity of melanin) at 8 weeks after topical application. Madecassoside may therefore be an effective inhibitor of hyperpigmentation caused by UV irradiation.

I found a reference where it was said that usually skincare products used madecassoside at a concentration of 0.1-0.2% (12). I don’t know if this is exact.

In summary, Madecassoside facilitate wound healing, alleviate inflammation and has antioxidant properties. Madecassoside may also be an effective inhibitor of hyperpigmentation caused by UV irradiation but more studies are required in this domain.

=> So both Centella asiatica and madecassoside are particularly intersting for acne-prone skin or if your skin is irritated or need a healing boost if you spent too much time out in the sun.  They will help your skin heal faster. Of course, you can also benefit from them even if you don't have particularly troubled skin as they can conteract small daily irritations you may not see with the naked eyes and their antioxidant properties are also always welcomed.

Congrats if you managed to read up here! :p Now I will list some Korean products that contain Centella Asiatica extract and/or madecassoside or the 4 major triterpenes. The list is by no means exhaustive! Click HERE to see the whole table.

Purchase info

  • Jolse
  • Koreadepart
  • W2beauty: Use my code "193008208" to get $5 off your order. 
  • Testerkorea
  • If you're looking for Switzerland-based retailers for K-beauty products, you can purchase from and and TheCuratedSkin for cosrx.  

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    1. Fantastic and so in depth look on Madecassoside and Centella Asiatica in skin care! Thank you!
      I ... read on a couple of websites that Madecassoside is one of the ingredients that will increase collagen type III in the skin. This is supposedly the younger type of collagen, the one that dies away first, babies have lots, teens have plenty, 30-somethings not so much. One company suggested that it was the change in how much coll type III as opposed to type I that made a face look older even if skin was smooth. I'm not sure about this as that last bit was written by a company selling a product meant to stimulate collagen type III.
      Also, collagen type III tends to be made around wound sites - I think. (I'm no scientist, sorry).

      But ever since, I've been interested in Madecassoside as an ingredient and always try to pick up madecassoside masks and the like. So thanks again for the in depth look at it!

      1. Hi! thanks for your comment and additional info. To be honest, I didn't pay attention and specifically looked about the increase in collagen type III so I can't really tell.
        What product containing madecassoside are you using? the innisfree mask?

    2. J'aime beaucoup tes articles K-Beauty ! C'est toujours très instructif et ça donne plein d'idées ! Merci !

      Kédidja |

    3. Great article Karine!! But I am confused - why does A'PIEU Madecassoside Fluid have Centella asiatica as the ingredient instead of Madecassoside?

      1. Hello dear. Thanks a lot!
        The A'pieu Fluid has Centella asiatica but also madecassoside and asiaticoside. I guess they marketed it as "madecassoside" because it's one of the active ingredients of Centella and they wanted to stress that they add the active ingredient of Centella in order to be more potent. But yes, madecassoside is there. Sorry if what I wrote was confusing.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Thank you for creating a list of products! Greatly appreciated it! I will now start my cica adventure!


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