Traditional Mexican medicine plant has potential for cosmetics

By Olivia DeSmit

- Last updated on GMT

© Obencem / Getty Images
© Obencem / Getty Images

Related tags Skin Skin care Skin health Acne

A plant in Mexico that is traditionally used for medicine has a cosmetic application, researchers found. The study, published in Separations, details the presence of BIS, a well-renowned cosmetic and dermatologic ingredient, and methoxylated flavones, which have antioxidant functions.

Gymnosperma glutinosum​, known as popote or tezozotla, is a traditional medicine in Puebla, Mexico that can help treat rashes, acne and diarrhea. Previous studies have demonstrated G. glutinosum​ to contain flavonoids, diterpenes and essential oils.

“Under these ethnobotanical studies, this plant that grows in the wild seems to have promising active compounds,” the authors write, “which with adequate procedures implemented for their extraction could provide a high-added value raw material source for natural antioxidant constituents with a high potential for application in cosmetology and dermatology formulations.

“In recent years, different studies have been conducted to incorporate plants or herbal extracts for their therapeutic potential in the market as skincare products.”

Study details

The study utilized a rapid protocol for the extraction and separation of the components of aerial parts of G. glutinosum​, which were collected in a village in Tehuacan, Puebla both in June and December. It was collected twice in case there were differences in the phytochemical compounds based on time of year.

The process included maceration, then extraction via chloroform and methanol. Analyzation including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Chloroform extraction revealed the presence of α-bisabolol (BIS), a sesquiterpene alcohol which can have antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and other biological activities. Currently, BIS is mainly obtained from chamomile, thus, the authors write, “finding new natural sources of bisabolol is essential to specialty pharmacological and cosmetologically industries.”

BIS has been used to treat atopic dermatitis, helping inflamed skin and attenuated pruritus. It’s also been reported to improve skin hydration, brightness, oiliness and facial texture.

In addition to BIS, the authors also found six methoxylated flavones and a group of hydroxy-fatty acids. The methoxylated flavones have previously been demonstrated to have antioxidant, antifungal and antimicrobial activities. According to the authors, these flavones contribute to the medicinal function and are used in traditional medicine in the region due. 

The methoxylated flavones contain antioxidant molecules, which can combat free radicals and if combined with BIS can improve biological activity, “resulting in their use as potential extracts implemented in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and therapeutic formulations,” the authors write.

“For those with a rapid, economical and efficient process of extraction, this extract could be eligible for further studies as ingredients for cosmetic purposes since they present a set of biocompounds with useful photoprotective, moisturizing, and skin-lightening properties.”

Source: Separations
2023, 10​(7), 406; doi: 10.3390/separations10070406
Rapid and Simultaneous Extraction of Bisabolol and Flavonoids from ​Gymnosperma glutinosum and Their Potential Use as Cosmetic Ingredients”
Authors: M.B. Gómez-Patiño, et al.

Related topics Formulation & Science Skin Care

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