Rau má (Centella asiatica), also known as pennywort, is grown throughout Vietnam as a leafy green.
Its leaves are used for preparing a nutritious and refreshing drink, or soups or salads with shrimp or meat.
This leaf has beta-carotene, saponin, alkaloid, saccharide, vitamins B1, B2, B3, C and K, and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
In traditional Vietnamese medicine, rau má is considered to be bitter and good for the liver, spleen and stomach.
It has been used to refresh and detoxify the body, boost the functioning of the liver and facilitate urination.
It is also used to relieve fever and cold, and treat fatigue, sleeplessness, asthma, dysentery, boils and heat rash.
Intake of the pennywort is very good for those with cardiovascular diseases, as it can help relieve swelling, edema, cramp and pain, and improve blood circulation.
Therefore, it is used to treat vein-related diseases.
The pennywort contains triterpenoids, which can help accelerate external wound healing and convey more blood to the wounds.
The triterpenoids can also help ease anxiety: studies show that the number of startle decreases remarkably in those who regularly have rau má.
In addition, intake of rau má can help lengthen life span and prevent the risks of cancer, circulation disorders and high blood pressure.
Although intake of rau má is highly recommended, do not eat it or drink its juice for more than six consecutive weeks, unless you are prescribed by a physician.
In some cases, regular intake of the pennywort may increase the cholesterol level in the blood and blood sugar.
So, those suffering from high cholesterol level in the blood or diabetes should not have so much rau má.
Rau má is not recommended for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Source: The Saigon Times