Asian researchers tap into herbal anti-ageing properties

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skin

A joint research project involving teams from Malaysia and South Korea claims to have unlocked the anti-ageing properties of the kacip fatimah herb.

The research teams, from the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) and the Dongguk University (DU) in South Korea combined bio-chemical and chemical engineering research capabilities to show that the herb could make the skin fairer and fight signs of ageing.

The research found that an extract from the herb can be used in skin care products to help stimulate the production of collagen as well as acting as an anti-oxidant – an important active element in anti-ageing formulations.

Reduces melanin production

Headed up by UTM’s Dr. Mohamad Roji Sarmidi and DU’s Prof. Chan Seo-par, the study has also found that the extract could be used to reduce the production of melanin in the skin, which as well as providing whitening properties could also help treat the effects of sunburn.

“The extract was tested in the research lab on the human skin cells and found to be effective in delaying skin ageing and also safe for the skin,”​ said Dr. Roji.

Prof. Chan said he believed that the antioxidant from the extract was more effective than a range of skin beautifying products with similar properties that have been tested.

“We will bring our research findings to the International Cosmetics Festival in Yokohama, Japan, in March,”​ said Prof. Chan.

Big hit in Asia?

The team believes that the all-encompassing anti-ageing properties are likely to appeal to a wide range of cosmetics companies, and in particular businesses that target the Asia Pacific region, thanks to the extract’s skin whitening properties.

Traditionally kacip fatimah has been used in a pill form to help with female fertility and childbirth, and in more recent times has been prescribed to treat fatigue, as well as being included in medical treatments for gonorrhea and dysentery.

The plant itself grows in the shade of tropical forests throughout southeast Asia, and has leaves that reach around 20cm, from which the extract is derived.

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