In the realm of cosmetology, numerous plants are incorporated into the formulation of skincare products, tailored to various skin and hair types, among others. Ashitaba is one such plant adopted for its benefits. Discover the essentials about this ingredient of Japanese origin.
Ashitaba: What should we know about this plant?
- What is Ashitaba?
- What are the benefits of Ashitaba?
- Ashitaba: How to use it?
- Are there any contraindications and precautions for use to be aware of with Ashitaba?
- In which skincare products can one find Ashitaba?
What is Ashitaba?
TheAshitaba is a plant that carries the botanical name Angelica keiskei. In everyday language, it is referred to as tomorrow's leaf, longevity herb or Japanese Ashitaba due to its ability to rapidly regenerate its harvested foliage. This plant is part of the Apiaceae family, along with the carrot, celery, or parsley. It can be recognised by its dissected green leaves, white flowers, and stems containing a yellow sap. In the 19th century, it was used to treat smallpox.
The rapid growth of Ashibata has shaped its reputation. Indeed, when the leaves are picked in the evening, new ones appear by the next morning. It is due to this characteristic that this plant has become the symbol of longevity in Asian culture.
The extract of this plant is present in the form of brown to green powder. In recent years, Ashitaba has been incorporated into skincare formulations in order to combat skin ageing. Indeed, the active molecules it contains endow it with interesting properties that allow it to be integrated into skincare treatments.
What are the benefits of Ashitaba?
Thanks to its composition rich in flavones and chalcones, Ashitaba extract possesses interesting benefits for our skin.
Anti-ageing: A study conducted in 2019 on yeasts, worms, and flies highlighted a compound found in Ashitaba, the 4,4'-dimethoxychalcone (DMC). This flavonoid is believed to stimulate the process of autophagy, an intracellular protective and cellular recycling mechanism that helps to eliminate waste, dysfunctional cells, and dead cells to prevent their accumulation.
This process would help to maintain cellular homeostasis, reduce skin hyperpigmentation, and combat premature skin ageing. However, autophagy is a process that can become deregulated with advancing age. By promoting it, Ashitaba contributes to the renewal of skin cells. When this phenomenon is sustained, the signs and effects of skin ageing are thus delayed.
Following the external application of DMC, tests on human cells have revealed a slowdown in the senescence process, a physiological process associated with morphological and functional changes in the cell that lead to their ageing.
Antioxidant: Ashitaba also contains antioxidant compounds, notably 2,2'-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS), which have free radical scavenging activities. The antioxidants in Ashitaba thus ensure the protection of skin cells and fight against the signs of skin ageing.
Anti-inflammatory: Studies have suggested that certain chalcones found in the sap extracted from the stems of Ashitaba may possess anti-inflammatory activities. In particular, its inhibitory activity against protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), a protein that can be involved in an inflammatory process and is activated by inflammatory factors, such as TNF-α, has been tested. Thus, Ashitaba extract could help to soothe any potential inflammations caused by injuries, such aswarts, or skin diseases.
Antimicrobial: Studies have suggested that certain chalcones found in the stem of the Ashitaba plant could inhibit microbial proliferation. Indeed, an extract from the Ashitaba root has been shown to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacterium responsible for skin infections. Analysis has identified two chalcones with such properties: xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin.
Ashitaba: How to use it?
In its early days, Ashitaba was incorporated into daily diets, its sap bearing a taste akin to celery. Today, it can be found in dietary supplements. It is also used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to bolster the immune system. Within the pharmaceutical industry, Ashitaba is indicated for the development of drugs for the treatment of diseases related to the digestive system, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer. In the field of cosmetology, it is incorporated into skincare formulas (serums, oils) for its antioxidant properties, to combat the signs of skin ageing.
Are there any contraindications and precautions for use to be aware of with Ashitaba?
Age, health status... are factors that influence the appropriate dose of Ashitaba to observe its effectiveness. As no contraindications are currently mentioned regarding the topical use of this ingredient, trust the instructions visible on the label. However, as a precautionary principle, oral intake of Ashitaba should be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as its effects on pregnant women have not yet been studied.
In which skincare products can one find Ashitaba?
Ashitaba is incorporated into the formulation of skincare products aimed at preventing premature skin ageing. You will find it, for example, in our antioxidant serum withferulic acid andAshitaba extract (INCI: Angelica Keiskei Extract).
Theferulic acid strengthens the resistance of cells against free radicals, delaying skin ageing. Its hydroxy and phenoxy groups provide electrons to deactivate free radicals by making them more stable and less reactive.
On its part, theAshitaba extract promotes cellular renewal and helps to delay the appearance of ageing signs, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity.
Suitable for all skin types, this serum is used daily to protect against free radicals induced by UV rays, pollution and tobacco. It is therefore recommended for various skin types, especially for skin exposed to different oxidation factors. However, it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
CAESAR L. K. & al. A review of the medicinal uses and pharmacology of Ashitaba. Planta Medica (2016).
MADEO F. & al. The flavonoid 4,4′-dimethoxychalcone promotes autophagy-dependent longevity across species. Nature Communications (2019).