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Maple Leaf Complex

Cosmetic applications of glucitol-core containing gallotannins from a proprietary phenolic-enriched red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves extract: inhibition of melanogenesis via down-regulation of tyrosinase and melanogenic gene expression in B16F10 melanoma cells


The red maple (Acer rubrum) is a rich source of phenolic compounds which possess galloyl groups attached to different positions of a 1,5-anhydro-d-glucitol core. While these glucitol-core containing gallotannins (GCGs) have reported antioxidant and antiglycative effects, they have not yet been evaluated for their cosmetic applications. Herein, the anti-tyrosinase and anti-melanogenic effects of a proprietary phenolic-enriched red maple leaves extract [Maplifa™; contains ca. 45% ginnalin A (GA) along with other GCGs] were investigated using enzyme and cellular assays. The GCGs showed anti-tyrosinase activity with IC50 values ranging from 101.4 to 1047.3 μM and their mechanism of tyrosinase inhibition (using GA as a Electronic supplementary material representative GCG) was evaluated by chelating and computational/modeling studies. GA reduced melanin content in murine melanoma B16F10 cells by 79.1 and 56.7% (at non-toxic concentrations of 25 and 50 μM, respectively), and its mechanisms of anti-melanogenic effects were evaluated by using methods including fluorescent probe (DCFDA), real-time PCR, and western blot experiments. These data indicated that GA was able to: (1) reduce the levels of reactive oxygen species, (2) down-regulate the expression of MITF, TYR, TRP-1, and TRP-2 gene levels in a timedependent manner, and (3) significantly reduce protein expression of the TRP-2 gene. Therefore, the anti-melanogenic effects of red maple GCGs warrant further investigation of this proprietary natural product extract for potential cosmetic applications.

Source: Hang Ma, Jialin Xu, Nicholas A. DaSilva, Ling Wang, Zhengxi Wei, Liangran Guo, Shelby L. Johnson, Wei Lu, Jun Xu, Qiong Gu, and Navindra P. Seeram.“Cosmetic applications of glucitol-core containing gallotannins from a proprietary phenolic-enriched red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves extract: inhibition of melanogenesis via down-regulation of tyrosinase and melanogenic gene expression in B16F10 melanoma cells” Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2017).

Cytoprotective effects of a proprietary red maple leaf extract and its major polyphenol, ginnalin A, against hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal induced oxidative stress in human keratinocytes


Phytochemicals from functional foods are common ingredients in dietary supplements and cosmetic products for anti-skin aging effects due to their antioxidant activities. A proprietary red maple (Acer rubrum) leaf extract (Maplifa™) and its major phenolic compound, ginnalin A (GA), have been reported to show antioxidant, anti-melanogenesis, and anti-glycation effects but their protective effects against oxidative stress in human skin cells remain unknown. Herein, we investigated the cytoprotective effects of Maplifa™ and GA against hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and methylglyoxal (MGO)-induced oxidative stress in human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells). H2O2 and MGO (both at 400 μM) induced toxicity in HaCaT cells and reduced their viability to 59.2 and 61.6%, respectively. Treatment of Maplifa™ (50 μg mL-1) and GA (50 μM) increased the viability of H2O2- and MGO-treated cells by 22.0 and 15.5%, respectively. Maplifa™ and GA also showed cytoprotective effects by reducing H2O2-induced apoptosis in HaCaT cells by 8.0 and 7.2%, respectively. The anti-apoptotic effect of Maplifa™ was further supported by the decreased levels of apoptosis associated enzymes including caspases-3/7 and -8 in HaCaT cells by 49.5 and 19.0%, respectively. In addition, Maplifa™ (50 μg mL-1) and GA (50 μM) reduced H2O2- and MGO-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) by 84.1 and 56.8%, respectively. Furthermore, flow cytometry analysis showed that Maplifa™ and GA reduced MGO-induced total cellular ROS production while increasing mitochondria-derived ROS production in HaCaT cells. The cytoprotective effects of Maplifa™ and GA in human keratinocytes support their potential utilization for cosmetic and/or dermatological applications.

Source: Chang Liu, Hao Guo, Joel A Dain, Yinsheng Wan, Xing-Hua Gao, Hong-Duo Chen, Navindra P Seeram, and Hang Ma. “Cytoprotective effects of a proprietary red maple leaf extract and its major polyphenol, ginnalin A, against hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal induced oxidative stress in human keratinocytes” Food and Function. (2020): 11(6):5105-5114.  

Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu plum) Fruit Extract

A Split-face Double-blind Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial of the Efficacy of Kakadu Plum Extract for Reduction of Periorbital Wrinkles


Background: Periorbital wrinkles result from both intrinsic and extrinsic aging. To combat aging and treat wrinkles, antioxidants play an important role by decreasing oxidative stress. Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) extract is well known for its great amount of vitamin C as main ingredient which can scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and give anti-aging effects.

Objective: To study effectiveness and satisfaction of Kakadu plum extract to reduce periorbital wrinkles

Method: 17 volunteers, both male and female of age between 25 and 60 years old who willingly wanted to get rid of their periorbital wrinkles were collected to participate in split-face double-blinded placebo-controlled trial for 8 weeks. 10% Terminalia ferdinandiana extract cream and placebo cream were instructed to apply twice daily to periorbital area for 8 weeks. Various parameters such as wrinkle evaluation by dermatologists, elasticity and hydration of the skin around the eyes (crow’s feet area and undereye area) were assessed at the start, 4thand 8th week respectively.

Result: Statistically significant results of better skin elasticity (p-value <0.001 at crow’s feet, p-value=0.029 at undereye) and better skin hydration (p-value=0.001 at crow’s feet, p-value=0.012 at undereye) were shown for Terminalia ferdinandiana extract treated side. No side effects were observed.

Conclusion: This study statistically demonstrated that Kakadu plum extract reduced periorbital wrinkles more than placebo cream when it is applied topically with no harmful side effects. So, 10% Terminalia ferdinandiana could be safe and effective to reduce periorbital wrinkles.

Source: May Thinn Kyi, M.D. “A Split-face Double-blind Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial of the Efficacy of Kakadu Plum Extract for Reduction of Periorbital Wrinkles” The 15th RSU National Graduate Research Conference/Health Science Articles Vol 15 No (2563).

Aloe Barbadensis

Aloe Vera: A Short Review


Aloe vera is a natural product that is now a day frequently used in the field of cosmetology. Though there are various indications for its use, controlled trials are needed to determine its real efficacy. The aloe vera plant, its properties, mechanism of action and clinical uses are briefly reviewed in this article.

Active components with its properties: Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.*

  1. Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
  2. Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
  3. Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
  4. Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate, and the most common polysaccharides are called glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. Acemannan, a prominent glucomannan has also been found. Recently, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera gel.*
  5. Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
  6. Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
  7. Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
  8. Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.

Mechanism of actions

  1. Healing properties: Glucomannan, a mannose-rich polysaccharide, and gibberellin, a growth hormone, interacts with growth factor receptors on the fibroblast, thereby stimulating its activity and proliferation, which in turn significantly increases collagen synthesis after topical and oral Aloe vera.* Aloe gel not only increased collagen content of the wound but also changed collagen composition (more type III) and increased the degree of collagen cross linking. Due to this, it accelerated wound contraction and increased the breaking strength of resulting scar tissue.* An increased synthesis of hyaluronic acid and dermatan sulfate in the granulation tissue of a healing wound following oral or topical treatment has been reported.*
  2. Effects on skin exposure to UV and gamma radiation: Aloe vera gel has been reported to have a protective effect against radiation damage to the skin.* Exact role is not known, but following the administration of aloe vera gel, an antioxidant protein, metallothionein, is generated in the skin, which scavenges hydroxyl radicals and prevents suppression of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the skin. It reduces the production and release of skin keratinocyte-derived immunosuppressive cytokines such as interleukin-10 (IL-10) and hence prevents UV-induced suppression of delayed type hypersensitivity.*
  3. Anti-inflammatory action: Aloe vera inhibits the cyclooxygenase pathway and reduces prostaglandin E2 production from arachidonic acid. Recently, the novel anti-inflammatory compound called C-glucosyl chromone was isolated from gel extracts.*
  4. Effects on the immune system: Alprogen inhibit calcium influx into mast cells, thereby inhibiting the antigen-antibody-mediated release of histamine and leukotriene from mast cells.* In a study on mice that had previously been implanted with murine sarcoma cells, acemannan stimulates the synthesis and release of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor from macrophages in mice, which in turn initiated an immune attack that resulted in necrosis and regression of the cancerous cells.* Several low-molecular-weight compounds are also capable of inhibiting the release of reactive oxygen free radicals from activated human neutrophils.*
  5. Laxative effects: Anthraquinones present in latex are a potent laxative. It increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis.*
  6. Antiviral and antitumor activity: These actions may be due to indirect or direct effects. Indirect effect is due to stimulation of the immune system and direct effect is due to anthraquinones. The anthraquinone aloin inactivates various enveloped viruses such as herpes simplex, varicella zoster and influenza.* In recent studies, a polysaccharide fraction has shown to inhibit the binding of benzopyrene to primary rat hepatocytes, thereby preventing the formation of potentially cancer-initiating benzopyrene-DNA adducts. An induction of glutathione S-transferase and an inhibition of the tumor-promoting effects of phorbol myristic acetate has also been reported which suggest a possible benefit of using aloe gel in cancer chemoprevention.*
  7. Moisturizing and anti-aging effect: Mucopolysaccharides help in binding moisture into the skin. Aloe stimulates fibroblast which produces the collagen and elastin fibers making the skin more elastic and less wrinkled. It also has cohesive effects on the superficial flaking epidermal cells by sticking them together, which softens the skin. The amino acids also soften hardened skin cells and zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores. Its moisturizing effects has also been studied in treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure where aloe vera gel gloves improved the skin integrity, decreases appearance of fine wrinkle and decreases erythema.* It also has anti-acne effect.
  8. Antiseptic effect: Aloe vera contains 6 antiseptic agents: Lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulfur. They all have inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Clinical uses: The clinical use of aloe vera is supported mostly by anecdotal data. Though most of these uses are interesting, controlled trials are essential to determine its effectiveness in all the following diseases.*

A. Uses based on scientific evidence: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.

Conditions: Seborrheic dermatitis,* psoriasis vulgaris,* genital herpes,* skin burns,* diabetes (type 2),* HIV infection,* cancer prevention,* ulcerative colitis* wound healing (results of aloe on wound healing are mixed with some studies reporting positive results* and others showing no benefit* or potential worsening* ), pressure ulcers,* mucositis,* radiation dermatitis,* acne vulgaris,* lichen planus,* frostbite,* aphthous stomatitis,* and constipation.*

Source: Amar Surjushe, Resham Vasani, and  D G Saple. “Aloe Vera: A Short Review” Indian Journal of Dermatology. (2008): 53(4): 163–166.

The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review


Background: Aloe vera is an herbaceous and perennial plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family and used for many medicinal purposes. The present study aimed to systematically review clinical trials regarding the effect of Aloe vera on the prevention and healing of skin wounds.

Methods: To identify all related published studies, we searched SID, IRANDOC, Google Scholar, PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and ScienceDirect databases in both the English and Persian languages from 1990 to 2016. The keywords used were Aloe vera, wound healing, and prevention. All clinical trials using Aloe vera gel, cream, or derivatives that included a control group with placebo or comparison with other treatments were included in the study. The PRISMA checklist (2009) was used to conduct the review.

Results: In total, 23 trials that met the inclusion criteria were studied. The results of the studies showed that Aloe vera has been used to prevent skin ulcers and to treat burn wounds, postoperative wounds, cracked nipples, genital herpes, psoriasis, and chronic wounds including pressure ulcers.

Conclusion: Considering the properties of Aloe vera and its compounds, it can be used to retain skin moisture and integrity and to prevent ulcers. It seems that the application of Aloe vera, as a complementary treatment along with current methods, can improve wound healing and promote the health of society.

Source: Davood Hekmatpou, Fatemeh Mehrabi, Kobra Rahzani, and Atefeh Aminiyan. “The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review” Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences (2019): 44(1):1-9.

Rosa Rubiginosa

Therapeutic Applications of Rose Hips from Different Rosa Species


Rosa species, rose hips, are widespread wild plants that have been traditionally used as medicinal compounds for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. The therapeutic potential of these plants is based on its antioxidant effects caused by or associated with its phytochemical composition, which includes ascorbic acid, phenolic compounds and healthy fatty acids among others. Over the last few years, medicinal interest in rose hips has increased as a consequence of recent research that has studied its potential application as a treatment for several diseases including skin disorders, hepatotoxicity, renal disturbances, diarrhoea, inflammatory disorders, arthritis, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, obesity and cancer. In this review, the role of different species of Rosa in the prevention of treatment of various disorders related to oxidative stress, is examined, focusing on new therapeutic approaches from a molecular point of view.

3.10. Skin Disorders and Aging

One of the most common skin disorders is atopic dermatitis (AD), a chronic inflammatory disorder that mainly affects children. Treatments for skin lesions associated with this disease are focused on a suppressed inflammatory response, but most therapies are just temporal because of the side effects associated to long time exposure.* In order to improve quality-of-life for thousands of infants worldwide, new anti-AD drugs are needed, in order to find a definitive solution to this problem without deleterious effects. 

Topical application of extracts from Rosa multiflora root extracts improved AD-like injury in mice.* Anti-AD activity of Rosa multiflora seems to be related to its anti-inflammatory properties, since application of extracts reduced mRNA levels of inflammatory mediators cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS). Moreover, rose hip treatment avoided allergic response derived from AD by decreasing blood eosinophil ratio and plasmatic IgE levels. Finally, Rosa multiflora showed an interesting regulatory effect of Th2-immune response, as serum levels of Th2 were significantly decreased after treatment. Nowadays, the most effective anti-AD drugs are those focused on suppressing Th2-polarized immune system*, so these findings suggest a promising future for Rosa multiflora in atopic dermatitis treatment. Of the different components that can be found in Rosa multiflora roots, the most likely candidate to act against AD is the condensed tannin RM-3. RM-3 is the most abundant phytochemical in Rosa multiflora root extract, and Park et al.* proved that this isolated tannin reproduced the effects previously observed for the whole extract.

Skin aging is due to the majority contribution of two factors: on the one hand, chronic aging associated with time, and on the other hand, the commonly so called photoaging caused by UV exposition. The combination of both conditions results in a loss of functionality of skin barrier and in the acquisition of unsightly features such as dryness, wrinkles and spots.* The previously discussed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of rose hip make it a promising aid in reducing these skin aging signs.

Fuji et al.* investigated the effect of quercetin isolated from Rosa canina on melanogenesis in B16 mouse melanoma cells. Melanin is responsible for the pigmentation of human skin, hair and eyes, but its excessive biosynthesis leads to skin disorders like age spots or melanoma.* The key enzyme in this process is tyrosinase, and quercetin from Rosa canina was found to be capable of inhibiting its activity and consequently reduced melanin content of mouse melanoma cells. Interestingly, this reduction in melanin content was not related to a decrease in cell viability, a key point for their potential application in the cosmetic industry. Later, the oral administration of rose hip extracts to brown guinea pigs decreased skin pigmentation, proving their melanogenesis inhibitor effects in vivo and suggesting the potential use of Rosa canina as a skin-lightening agent in cosmetic.* 

Phetcharat et al.* tested the activity of a commercially available Rosa canina powder upon aging-related effects. They carried out a randomized, double-blind controlled clinical trial on healthy middle-aged male and female volunteers and studied the effect of rose hip powder on (1) skin wrinkles and (2) red blood cells longevity. Regarding the first part of their study, rose hip powder reduced the depths of crow’s-feet wrinkles, increased moisture content of forehead and improved skin elasticity. On the other hand, Rosa canina powder reduced red cell membrane disintegration and, as a result, increased cell longevity. The anti-aging effects of Rosa canina are related to its antioxidant properties, as certain phytochemicals are able to scavenge reactive oxygen species produced by UV-radiation and so reduce skin damage. Vitamin C might have a dual role in skin protection since as well as its antioxidant effect; it is directly involved in skin and collagen formation. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effect of some components of Rosa caninais also related to protection from UV-induced inflammation and damage. Finally, antioxidant compounds and poly-unsaturated fatty acids are the major contributors to Rosa canina effects on increasing red cell longevity, as both prevent cell membrane damage.

Part of the anti-aging effect of rose hip is due to its activity as PPAR-α agonist. PPAR-α is involved in inflammatory processes, since its activation leads to an inhibition of pro-inflammatory genes expression like matrix metalloproteases (MMP). The normal function of MMP has been described earlier, which consists of degrading components of extracellular matrix.* Consequently, MMPs also play a key role in photoaging, whose synthesis is increased after UV exposure.* Results from Jeon et al.* agreed with this hypothesis: they observed that Rosa multiflora extracts act as PPAR-α agonist which induced a decrease in MPP expression levels, ameliorating photoaging-related effects on murine skin.

Oxidative stress is not the only thing responsible for skin damage, as psychological stress induces deleterious effects on skin barrier, as well. Some of the reported effects are a delay in skin barrier function recovery, an increase in the number and activity of natural killer cells and an increase in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α or IL-β.* Evidences of the anxiolytic effect of rose hip have been previously discussed,* but these data provide a new perspective on the beneficial effect of Rosaspecies for skin health. Relaxing properties of Rosa damascena oil inhalation resulted in a decrease in transepidermial water loss, a common skin damage feature induced by chronic stress.*

Source: Inés Mármol, Cristina Sánchez-de-Diego, Nerea Jiménez-Moreno, Carmen Ancín-Azpilicueta, and María Jesús Rodríguez-Yoldi. “Therapeutic Applications of Rose Hips from Different Rosa Species” International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2017): 18(6): 1137.

Psoralea Corylifolia (Babchi)

Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects


Objective: The study was undertaken to compare the skin care related activities of retinol and bakuchiol, a potential alternative to retinoids. Retinol is a pivotal regulator of differentiation and growth of developing as well as adult skin. Retinoic acid is the major physiologically active metabolite of retinol regulating gene expression through retinoic acid receptor - dependant and independent pathways.

Methods: Comparative gene expression profiling of both substances in the EpiDerm FT full thickness skin substitute model was undertaken. Furthermore, type I, III and IV collagen, as well as aquaporin 3 expression was analyzed by ELISA and/or histochemistry in human dermal fibroblasts and/or Epiderm FT skin substitutes.

Results: Bakuchiol is a meroterpene phenol abundant in seeds and leaves of the plant Psoralea corylifolia. We present evidence that bakuchiol, having no structural resemblance to retinoids, can function as a functional analogue of retinol. Volcano plots showed great overall similarity of retinol and bakuchiol effects on the gene expression profile. This similarity was confirmed by the side-by-side comparison of the modulation of individual genes, as well as on the protein level by ELISA and histochemistry. Retinol-like functionality was further confirmed for the upregulation of types I and IV collagen in DNA microarray study and also show stimulation of type III collagen in the mature fibroblast model. Bakuchiol was also formulated into a finished skin care product and was tested in clinical case study by twice-a-day facial application. The results showed that, after 12 weeks treatment, significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage was observed, without usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects.

Conclusion: Based on these data, we propose that bakuchiol can function as an anti-ageing compound through retinol-like regulation of gene expression.

Source: R. K. Chaudhuri and K. Bojanowski. “Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects” International Journal Cosmetic Sciences (2014): 36(3):221-30.

Psoralea corylifolia Linn.—“Kushtanashini”


Plants have been the basis of many traditional medicines throughout the world for thousands of years and continue to provide new remedies to mankind. Plants have been one of the important sources of medicines since the beginning of human civilization. The recent resurgence of plant remedies resulted from several factors, such as effectiveness of plant medicines and lesser side effects compared with modern medicines. Psoralea corylifolia, commonly known as babchi, is a popular herb, which has since long been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its magical effects to cure various skin diseases. This plant is also pharmacologically studied for its chemoprotective, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiinflammatory properties. This review attempts to highlight the available literature on P. corylifolia with respect to its ethnobotany, pharmacognostic characteristics, traditional uses, chemical constituents, and summary of its various pharmacologic activities and clinical effects. Other aspects, such as toxicology and precautions are also discussed. This will be helpful to create interest toward babchi and may be useful in developing new formulations with more therapeutic and economical value.

Clinical Studies

A clinical trial was carried out on 30 patients having vitiligo by the local application of an Ayurvedic preparation containing P. corylifolia as the main ingredient, along with oral administration of Gandhaka rasayana. Early cases of vitiligo showed maximum improvement within 1–10 months, whereas chronic cases having vitiligo of lip showed a poor response. Oral administration of 8-methoxypsoralen along with exposure of the patient to sunlight for 5–30 min daily for 1–7 weeks gave very encouraging results. Results of another trial showed that the use of psoralen along with its chemical derivatives, namely, trioxalen, supplemented with exposure to sunlight is a more effective treatment for psoriasis. In one study, 49 patients underwent 6 months of Psoralea corylifolia treatment. Of these patients, 14% were cured and another 19% regained pigmentation on at least two-thirds of the affected skin.* A clinical trial was conducted in 76 patients in the age group 16–24 years with grade II and III acne vulgaris. They were advised to apply a topical preparation, Clarina cream, along with herbal Purim tablets containing P. corylifolia as one of the ingredients. Results revealed that patients with grade II acne had an excellent response in 56.25% and good response in 43.75%. Patients with grade III acne had an excellent response in 38.30% and good response in 56.66%. Thus, the combination of the 2 preparations is effective.*

Source: P. S. Khushboo, V. M. Jadhav, V. J. Kadam, and N. S. Sathe. “Psoralea corylifolia Linn—“Kushtanashini”” Pharmacognosy Review (2010): 4(7): 69–76.

Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria)

Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases


Skin is an organ providing contact with the environment and protecting the human body from unfavourable external factors. Skin inflammation, reflected adversely in its functioning and appearance, also unfavourably affects the psyche, the condition of which is important during treatment of chronic skin diseases. The use of plants in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases results from their influence on different stages of inflammation. The paper presents results of the study regarding the anti-inflammatory activity of the plant raw material related to its influence on skin. The mechanism of action, therapeutic indications and side effects of medicinal plants used for treatment of inflammatory diseases of the skin are described.

Matricaria recutita L. (German chamomile) is the most known and commonly used medicinal plant. It has flower heads with white internal linguiform flowers and the external tubular – yellow, typical of the Asteraceae family. It contains the essential oil (the major components of which are α-bisabolol and its oxides A, B and C, matricin, which is converted to chamazulene by distillation and en-yn-dicycloethers) and flavone derivatives: apigenin, luteolin, and apigenin-7-glucoside.*

Extracts of matricaria flower exhibited anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of prostaglandins and leukotrienes synthesis in vitro. α-Bisabolol and apigenin inhibited cyclooxygenase and 5-lipooxygenase activity, chamazulene inhibited only 5-lipooxygenase.* A dry extract of matricaria flower, applied locally, inhibited croton oil-induced oedema in vivo, comparably to benzydamine (anti-inflammatory synthetic drug).* Intradermal application of liposomal apigenin-7-glucoside inhibited skin inflammations induced in rats. Topical application of either the total chamomile extract or the flavonoid fraction only was very effective in reducing inflammation in a mouse model for croton oil-induced dermatitis. Apigenin and luteolin were more active than indometacin and phenylbutazone (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory synthetic drugs). Activity decreased in the following order: apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, myricetin, apigenin-7-glucoside, rutin.*

In the pharmacological study in humans, ointment containing matricaria flower extract was more effective than 0.1% hydrocortisone (anti-inflammatory synthetic drug) in reduced chemically-induced toxic dermatitis. Creams containing matricaria flower extract reduced UV-induced erythema.* In clinical studies, anti-inflammatory activity of ointment containing matricaria flower extract (treatment of patients suffering from inflammatory dermatoses on hands, forearms and lower legs) was comparable to that of 0.25% hydrocortisone, and superior to 0.75% fluocortin butyl ester and 5% bufexamac (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory synthetic drugs).* In another clinical study, after 2 weeks of treatment of patients with medium-degree atopic eczema, effectiveness of creams containing matricaria flower extract was superior to that of 0.5% hydrocortisone cream with respect to the symptoms of pruritus, erythema and desquamation.*

The essential oil of chamomile and α-bisabolol demonstrated bactericidal and fungicidal activity in vitro(mainly against Gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureusBacillus subtilis and fungi Candida albicans).*

Matricaria flower is externally used for skin inflammations and irritations, bacterial skin diseases, nappy rash and cradle cap, eczema, wounds (infected and poorly healing), abscesses, frostbite, and insect bites.* Matricaria flower is used for baths, compresses or rinses and poultice.* Rare cases of contact allergy have been reported.*

Source: Renata Dawid-Pać. “Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases” Advances in Dermatology and Allergology. (2013): 30(3): 170–177.

Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (Review)


Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. It is a member of Asteraceae/Compositae family and represented by two common varieties viz. German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its medicinal properties. Chamomile preparations are commonly used for many human ailments such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. Essential oils of chamomile are used extensively in cosmetics and aromatherapy. Many different preparations of chamomile have been developed, the most popular of which is in the form of herbal tea consumed more than one million cups per day. In this review we describe the use of chamomile in traditional medicine with regard to evaluating its curative and preventive properties, highlight recent findings for its development as a therapeutic agent promoting human health.

5.1 Anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties

The flowers of chamomile contain 1–2% volatile oils including alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene and other flavonoids which possess anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties (12, 19, 35, 36). A study in human volunteers demonstrated that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below the skin surface into the deeper skin layers (37). This is important for their use as topical antiphlogistic (anti-inflammatory) agents. One of chamomile’s anti-inflammatory activities involve the inhibition of LPS-induced prostaglandin E(2) release and attenuation of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) enzyme activity without affecting the constitutive form, COX-1 (38).

5.6 Eczema

Topical applications of chamomile have been shown to be moderately effective in the treatment of atopic eczema (50). It was found to be about 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream (51). Roman chamomile of the Manzana type (Kamillosan (R)) may ease discomfort associated with eczema when applied as a cream containing chamomile extract. The Manzana type of chamomile is rich in active ingredients and does not exhibit chamomile-related allergenic potential. In a partially double-blind, randomized study carried out as a half-side comparison, Kamillosan(R) cream was compared with 0.5% hydrocortisone cream and a placebo consisting only of vehicle cream in patients suffering from medium-degree atopic eczema (52). After 2 weeks of treatment, Kamillosan(R) cream showed a slight superiority over 0.5% hydrocortisone and a marginal difference as compared to placebo. Further research is needed to evaluate the usefulness of topical chamomile in managing eczema.

5.18 Wound healing

The efficacy of topical use of chamomile to enhance wound healing was evaluated in a double-blind trial on 14 patients who underwent dermabrasion of tattoos. The effects on drying and epithelialization were observed, and chamomile was judged to be statistically efficacious in producing wound drying and in speeding epithelialization (80). Antimicrobial activity of the extract against various microorganisms was also assessed. The test group, on day 15, exhibited a greater reduction in the wound area when compared with the controls (61 % versus 48%), faster epithelialization and a significantly higher wound-breaking strength. In addition, wet and dry granulation tissue weight and hydroxyproline content were significantly higher. The increased rate of wound contraction, together with the increased wound-breaking strength, hydroxyproline content and histological observations, support the use of M. recutita in wound management (81). Recent studies suggest that chamomile caused complete wound healing faster than corticosteroids (82). However, further studies are needed before it can be considered for clinical use.

Source: Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future” Molecular Medicine Reports (2010): 3(6): 895–901.


Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions


Glycerol is a trihydroxy alcohol that has been included for many years in topical dermatological preparations. In addition, endogenous glycerol plays a role in skin hydration, cutaneous elasticity and epidermal barrier repair. The aquaporin-3 transport channel and lipid metabolism in the pilosebaceous unit have been evidenced as potential pathways for endogenous delivery of glycerol and for its metabolism in the skin. Multiple effects of glycerol on the skin have been reported. The diverse actions of the polyol glycerol on the epidermis include improvement of stratum corneum hydration, skin barrier function and skin mechanical properties, inhibition of the stratum corneum lipid phase transition, protection against irritating stimuli, enhancement of desmosomal degradation, and acceleration of wound-healing processes. Even an antimicrobial effect has been demonstrated. Topical application of glycerol-containing products improves skin properties in diseases characterized by xerosis and impaired epidermal barrier function, such as atopic dermatitis. The increase of epidermal hydration by glycerol is critical in skin conditions aggravated by dry and cold environmental conditions, e.g. winter xerosis. This paper provides a review on effects of glycerol on the skin, the mechanisms of its action, and the potential applications of glycerol in dermatology.

Source; J. W. Fluhr, R. Darlenski, and C. Surber. “Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions” British Journal of Dermatology (2008): 159(1):23-34.

The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study


Introduction: Moisturizing products are commonly used to improve hydration in skin dryness conditions. However, some topical hydrating products could have negative effects on skin barrier function. In addition, hydrating effects of moisturizers are not commonly evaluated up to 24 hours after a single application. Hyaluronic acid (HA) and glycerin are very well-known substances able to improve skin hydration. Centella asiaticaextract (CAE) could exert lenitive, anti-inflammatory and reepithelialization actions. Furthermore, CAE could inhibit hyaluronidase enzyme activity, therefore prolonging the effect of HA. A fluid containing HA 1%, glycerin 5% and stem cells CAE has been recently developed (Jaluronius CS [JCS] fluid).

Study aim: To evaluate and compare the 24-hour effects of JCS fluid on skin hydration and on transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in healthy subjects in comparison with the control site.

Subjects and methods: Twenty healthy women, mean age 40 years, were enrolled in an intra-subject (right vs left), randomized, assessor-blinded, controlled, 1-day trial. The primary end points were the skin hydration and TEWL, evaluated at the volar surface of the forearm and in standardized conditions (temperature- and humidity-controlled room: 23°C and 30% of humidity) using a corneometer and a vapometer device at baseline, 1, 8 and 24 hours after JCS fluid application. Measurements were performed by an operator blinded for the treatments.

Results: Skin hydration after 24 hours was significantly higher (P=0.001; Mann–Whitney U test) in the JCS-treated area in comparison with the control site. JCS induced a significant (P=0.0001) increase in skin hydration at each evaluation time (+59% after 1 hour, +48% after 8 hours and +29% after 24 hours) in comparison with both baseline (P=0.0001) and non-treated control site (P=0.001). TEWL after 24 hours was significantly lower (P=0.049; Mann–Whitney U test) in the JCS-treated area in comparison with the control site (13±4 arbitrary units [AU] vs 16±6 AU). JCS fluid significantly reduced post-stripping TEWL in comparison with baseline after 1, 8 and 24 hours (−52%, −32% and −48%, respectively). In the control site, TEWL was not reduced in comparison with baseline values at each time point’s evaluation.

Conclusion: A single application of JCS significantly improves skin hydration for up to 24 hours at the same time as improving skin barrier function.

Source: Massimo Milani and Adele Sparavigna. The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded studyClinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (2017): 10: 311–315. 

Xanthan gum

Safety Assessment of Microbial Polysaccharide Gums as Used in Cosmetics


The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel assessed the safety of 34 microbial polysaccharide gums for use in cosmetics, finding that these ingredients are safe in cosmetic formulations in the present practices of use and concentration. The microbial polysaccharide gums named in this report have a variety of reported functions in cosmetics, including emulsion stabilizer, film former, binder, viscosity-increasing agent, and skin-conditioning agent. The Panel reviewed available animal and clinical data in making its determination of safety.

Cosmetic Use

The microbial polysaccharide gums named in this report have a variety of reported functions in cosmetics that include emulsion stabilizer, film former, binder, viscosity-increasing agent, and skin-conditioning agent.* The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) collects information from manufacturers on the use of individual ingredients in cosmetics as a function of cosmetic product category in its Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP). The VCRP data obtained from the FDA in 2012,* and data received in response to a survey of the maximum reported use concentration by category conducted by the Personal Care Products Council (Council),* indicate that 19 of the 34 microbial polysaccharide gums named in this safety assessment are currently used in cosmetic formulations. Xanthan gum is used in almost every category of cosmetic product, with 3,470 reported uses. Biosaccharide gum-1, sclerotium gum, and beta-glucan are reported to be used in 346, 193, and 137 cosmetic formulations, respectively. All other in-use ingredients have less than 70 uses. The ingredient with the highest concentration of use is pullulan; it is used at up to 12% in leave-on formulations (ie, tonics, dressings, and other hair-grooming aids) and 17% in “other” oral hygiene products (a breath freshener that dissolved in the mouth*). Both xanthan gum and biosaccharide gum-1 are used at up to 6% in leave-on formulations, and xanthan gum crosspolymer and biosaccharide gum-4 are used at 5% in leave-on formulations. All other in-use ingredients are used at concentrations of ≤3%.

In some cases, reports of uses were received in the VCRP but no concentration of use is available. For example, sodium carboxymethyl dextran is reported to be used in 10 formulations, but no use concentration data were available. In other cases, no reported uses were received in the VCRP, but a use concentration was provided in the industry survey. For example, hydrolyzed sclerotium gum was not reported in the VCRP to be in use, but the industry survey indicated that it is used in leave-on formulations at up to 1%. It should be presumed that hydrolyzed sclerotium gum is used in at least 1 cosmetic formulation.

Rats were fed a diet containing 2% [14C]xanthan gum that was produced by fermentation of uniformly labeled glucose with Xanthomonas campestris.* No accumulation was found in the tissues. A maximum of 15% of the radioactivity was metabolized to carbon dioxide within 100 hours. Fecal analysis indicated that there was no accumulation of the polysaccharide material, except acetate (acetate and pyruvate accounted for only 9.8% of the label in the gum used). In the feces, 98% of the radioactivity was attributed to unchanged or slightly modified polysaccharide. In vitro testing indicated that nonenzymatic hydrolysis and fecal microorganisms were responsible for the in vivo breakdown of xanthan gum (no additional details were provided).

Source: Monice M. Fiume, Bart Heldreth, Wilma F. Bergfeld, Donald V. Belsito, Ronald A. Hill, Curtis D. Klaassen, Daniel C. Liebler, James G. Marks, Jr, Ronald C. Shank, Thomas J. Slaga, Paul W. Snyder, and F. Alan Andersen. “Safety Assessment of Microbial Polysaccharide Gums as Used in Cosmetics” International Journal of Toxicology (2016) Vol 35, Issue 1 suppl.


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