Skin brightening and antioxidant properties of chamomile extract

Chamomile has deep roots in traditional medicine and house remedies for various internal and external problems. Long before commercial shampoos and conditioners were available our great grand mothers used a chamomile rinse to add shine and brightness to their hair or prepared poultices and infusions from chamomile to apply to wounds and rashes.

Apart from the home made infusions and macerations, chamomile derivatives are commercially available as hydrosol, lipophilic extract and macerations, CO2 extract, hydroglyceric, hydroglycolic and hydroalcoholic extracts.

I recently stumbled upon this very interesting, open access article that studies the chemicals in the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) (I always exchange the German and the Roman to be honest) and I couldn't help sharing it with you.

Chemical Profile and Antioxidant and Tyrosinase Inhibitory Activity of Chamaemelum nobile L. Green Extracts
The request for skin-whitening agents and bioactive principles able to control hyperpigmentation disorders is continuously growing. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is used as a remedy for skin diseases, but little is known about the ability of Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) to act as a skin-whitening agent. With the aim to investigate antioxidant and lightening potential, fresh aerial parts of C. nobile were extracted by maceration, ultrasound-assisted extraction, and solid–liquid dynamic (SLDE-Naviglio) extraction using EtOH/H2O mixtures. Moreover, 32 metabolites (flavonoids, sesquiterpenoids, amides, and polar fatty acids) were identified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Principal component analysis revealed how the extract EtOH/H2O 50% (Naviglio and long maceration), along with the extract EtOH/H2O 60% (maceration) were richest in flavonoids. All extracts were tested by TEAC and DPPH assays, and to determine their in vitro antioxidant activity, the DHR 123 probe–intracellular ROS assay in HaCaT cells, for some extracts, was performed. Moreover, their ability to exert a whitening effect was tested by analyzing their tyrosinase inhibitory activity. The quantitative determination of apigenin, known as a natural tyrosinase inhibitor, was performed by LC-ESI/QTrap/MS/MS using the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) method. These results are promising for selecting an extraction method to obtain a sustainable product rich in bioactives.

I highly recommend that you go and read the whole article but for those of you who don't have the patience to read the whole article (which is 99,99% of the population in these fast paced days) I'll try to summarize a few points (as much as I do not violate the copyright).

The authors have used different extraction methods and different solvent compositions to extract the metabolites from the aerial parts of the plant.

Generally they detected 32 metabilites. Some of them never mentioned or detected before. These metabolites include: (you can see the whole table in the link above)

Helenalin, Apigenin, Hispidulin, 3-Flavonol, Chamazulene carboxylic acid, Nobilin.

All extracts contain phenolic compunds which contribute to most of the medicinal properties of the plant but the content of the phenolics varies based on the extraction method and the solvent composition.

The extracts have antioxidant and skin brightening properties (mainly thanks apigenin). The highest content of the phenolic material and the apigenin were found in the 50% hydroalcoholic extract.

So what?

This is one of the few scientific articles where science and practicality are not two parallel lines never reaching each other (reading scientific articles in which they use solvents such as methanol, chloroform, hexane, acetaldehyde and similar solvents to extract miraculous components from the plants drives me nuts). They are using blends of water and alcohol to extract the chemicals and hence the extracts are indeed applicable and usable. If you decide to create your own extract and infusions (which I know many of you do), choosing a 50% hydroaolcoholic solvent will give you the best results in terms of antioxidant and skin brightening activity.

If you don't believe me go and read the article yourself.

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