Cosmetic potential? Chinese mugwort essence found to have moisturising and antioxidant properties

By Si Ying Thian

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese mugwort essence found to have moisturizing and antioxidant properties © Getty Images
Chinese mugwort essence found to have moisturizing and antioxidant properties © Getty Images

Related tags moisturising Skin care China Antioxidant

Chinese researchers have found that the essence liquid from Chinese mugwort produces a hydration effect and reduces oxidative stress on the skin, demonstrating its potential as a cosmetic ingredient.

Artemisia argyi, also known as Chinese mugwort, is often used as a herbal medicine to treat itchy skin among other diseases.

Researchers hypothesised that its essence liquid (AL), “an aqueous solution taken from A. argyi leaves via supercritical carbon dioxide extraction,​” has moisturizing and antioxidative properties.

Compared with water vapor extraction, AL is made under a lower temperature, which can better protect bioactive substances such as flavonoids, polysaccharides, and phenolic components. Our prior research has demonstrated that the primary constituents of AL are terpenoid compounds, with Cineole, L(-)-Camphor, and (-)-Borneol being the primary components. In addition, we found that AL contained a substantial amount offlavonoids, polysaccharides, and polyphenols components.​”

Most studies on AL centred on its anti-inflammatory properties, but its full potential remains unexplored, they added.

To assess for its moisturizing effects, the study administered the AL treatment on HaCAT cells, a human keratinocyte cell line, on moisturizing-related factors – namely AQP3 and HAS2.

For the antioxidant activity, a DPPH free radical-scavenging experiment was conducted and the expression of antioxidant enzymes – namely GPX1 and SOD1 – was mapped on the H2O2-induced HaCaT cell oxidative stress model.

AL’s skin care benefits

Published on the International Journal of Molecular Sciences​, the key findings elicited a dual mechanism underlying the moisturizing effects of AL: “We surmised that AL could not only exert a moisturizing effect by promoting hydration, but also further enhance its moisturizing effects by augmenting the skin water-locking function.”

Additionally, when the HaCaT cells were induced with H202 stimulation – which was intended to promote oxidative stress on the skin, AL treatment had significantly reduced the cell death by 50%.

The mechanisms underlying that was due to the “supress[ion] of phosphorylated expression of IKK, p65, and AKT; thus, the antioxidant effect of AL may be associated with the NF-KB signaling pathway,” ​and the ability of AL to “reverse the H202-induced damage to antioxidant enzymes SOD2, GPX1 and CAT.​”

The researchers concluded by emphasising AL’s potential as a cosmetic ingredient given its moisturizing and antioxidant properties:

“The current study found that AL treatment elevated the expression of moisturizing related factors such as AQP3 and HAS2 in HaCaT cells by activating the EGFR/STAT3 and EGFR/MAPK signaling pathways. The findings of the DPPH experiment revealed that AL has free radical-scavenging activity.

“AL pretreatment can inhibit the NF-KB signaling pathway and activate the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway, resulting in the activation of antioxidant enzymes, a reduction in ROS generation, and a weakening of the oxidative stress response of HaCaT cells caused by H2O2.”


Source: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

“Moisturizing and Antioxidant Effects of Artemisia argyi Essence Liquid in HaCaT Keratinocytes”

Authors: Wang, Z., et al.

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