Increase in echogenicity of echolucent carotid plaques after treatment with total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica: a prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized trial

Angiology. 2001 Oct:52 Suppl 2:S19-25.


The aim of this study was to evaluate whether total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica (TTFCA), was effective in modulating collagen production over 12 months, by producing an increase in echogenicity in echolucent carotid plaques. Part I was a pilot study aimed at evaluating the effects of TTFCA on different types of plaques. Part II was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial aimed at evaluating the effects of TTFCA on hypoechoic-echolucent plaques. The sonographic examination of carotid plaques was made with high-resolution ultrasound. Capturing, digital image processing, and normalization were standardized, interobserver, intrascanner, gain-level variability were standardized using as reference blood (black) for the most echolucent parts of the plaque and the adventitia (white) as the most echogenic part. Normalization of echo texture was obtained and plaque characterization differentiated echo-texture of plaque associated with events and those that did not cause embolization, thrombosis, or cardiovascular events. After identifying plaques at higher risk, patients were treated with TTFCA (oral tablets, 60 mg, thrice daily for 12 months) to evaluate whether this compound, by modulating collagen synthesis, could increase the echogenicity and therefore the stability of echolucent plaques. Part II was aimed at evaluating the effects of TTFCA on hypoechoic-echolucent plaques. Asymptomatic patients with echolucent plaques (GSM<18) were treated with TTFCA (60 mg, oral tablets three times daily for 12 months) or with comparable placebo after informed consent. All patients were also treated with antiplatelet agents. In part 1, at inclusion the GSC in the hypoechoic group was 15 (range, 12-18) while in the hyperechoic group it was 26 (range, 24-31); at 6 months it was increased in the hypoechoic group and at 12 months the increase was significant (19.5; p<0.05). There was a minor increase in GSM in the hyperechoic group (30; ns). In part II in the treatment group there was a significant difference in GSM (increase) at 12 months (p<0.05), improvement in texture (p<0.05) and a nonsignificant decrease in stenosis. No changes were observed in the placebo group. Events were observed in 6.5% of patients in the TTFCA group and in 11% in the control group (p<0.05). In conclusion these observations suggest a positive action of TTFCA on the stabilization of hypoechoic, low-density carotid plaques.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Triterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Ultrasonography


  • Plant Extracts
  • TECA
  • Triterpenes