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Composition biochimique extrait d'Ashitaba.

The active molecules found in Ashitaba extract

Ashitaba, meaning "tomorrow's leaf" in Japanese, is consumed as a vegetable in the land of the rising sun. It is believed to enhance the health of those who consume it regularly. In recent years, this plant has gained attention for its properties in combating skin ageing. These properties are attributed to its unique composition. Let's explore together the active molecules present in this plant extract.

Published May 17, 2023, updated on February 8, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

What is Ashitaba?

TheAshitaba, botanically known as Angelica keiskei, is an endemic plant from Japan that belongs to the Apiaceae family, just like Angelica. The Japanese refer to it as "tomorrow's leaf", because when a leaf is cut, it regrows the next day.

Known for nearly 2,000 years, it is renowned in traditional Asian medicine for promoting longevity. It is used in the preparation of stews or salads. It is also dried and consumed as tea.

Over the past few years, Ashitaba has been incorporated into skincare formulations in the field of cosmetology to combat skin ageing. Indeed, the active molecules it contains endow it with interesting properties that allow it to be included in skincare treatments.

What is the biochemical composition of Ashitaba extract?

Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory... theAshitaba is a plant that owes its virtues to the active molecules it contains.

  • Chalcones.

    Chalcones are one of the most abundant bioactive metabolites of Ashitaba, predominantly found in the plant's root bark. These are yellow pigments derived from flavanones through the opening of the heterocycle. They are formed from phenylpropanoid and three molecules of malonyl-CoA. The resulting polyketide is folded by the chalcone synthase enzyme to promote Claisen condensations and subsequent enolisations.

    The 4-hydroxyderricin and the xanthoangelol, are the two most abundant chalcones in this plant. They possess cytotoxic and antidiabetic properties by increasing the activity of AMPK, an enzyme that plays a role in energy balance and reserves. They also have an anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting a protein involved in an inflammatory process.

  • Flavones.

    Flavones are a sub-family of flavonoids. These compounds are found in 42 plant families and are located in both above-ground and underground tissues. They are chalcones with a nucleophilic phenol group positioned near an α,β unsaturated ketone. Following a Michael reaction, a cyclisation occurs, leading to the formation of flavones.

    Flavones are compounds of interest for combating free radicals by stabilising them through a transfer of a hydrogen atom. Furthermore, certain chalcones such as xanthoangelol or 4-hydroxyderricin are capable of inhibiting the activity of the PTP1B protein involved in the inflammatory process. These metabolites also possess antioxidant and chemopreventive effects.

  • Coumarins.

    Coumarins are produced by the addition of a hydroxy group, either ortho or para, to a propanoid side chain of cinnamic acids. The coumarins derived from Ashitaba have cytotoxic, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, and antihypertensive properties.

    anti-inflammatory activities by inhibiting the activity of PTP1B.

  • Other metabolites.

    The Ashitaba plant also contains other active molecules, such as active polyacetylenes, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes, and cyclohexenones.Ashitabaol is a particular sesquiterpene found in Ashitaba seeds, which is believed to have a free radical scavenging activity.

Ashitaba: In which of our treatments can it be found?

Our antioxidant serum cares for dull skin and prevents signs of ageing. The ferulic acid strengthens the cells' resistance against free radicals, thus delaying skin ageing. On the other hand, the Ashitaba extract (INCI: Angelica Keiskei Extract) has been chosen for its richness in flavones and ashitabaol which neutralise free radicals. It promotes cell renewal and helps to delay the appearance of signs of ageing, such as wrinkles, fine lines and loss of elasticity. The chalcones it contains also help to soothe the skin.

Suitable for all skin types, this serum is used daily to protect the skin against free radicals induced by UV rays, pollution and tobacco. It helps to stimulate cellular renewal, thereby slowing the appearance of ageing signs and improves the complexion, which becomes luminous and harmonious.


  • CAESAR L. K. & al. A review of the medicinal uses and pharmacology of Ashitaba. Planta Medica (2016).


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