PH mango leaves have high skin care potentials ‒ study
MANILA, Philippines — The native summertime fruit and major Filipino agricultural export has more than its sweetness to offer.
Extracts of local mango leaves have shown great potential as a cosmetic ingredient with high antioxidant, antiaging and whitening properties, according to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
The study looked into the presence of polyphenolic compounds in the leaves of local mango cultivars (carabao, apple mango, pico, sinaging and sipsipin), along with the antioxidant capacity and inhibitory effect against elastase and tyrosinase—enzymes which cause aging and darkening of skin, respectively. Of the 36 identified polyphenolic compounds (organic chemicals abundant in plants) found in mango leaves, the study analyzed four: mangiferin, gallic acid, kaempferol and quercetin-3-β-D-glucopyranoside.
“All the extracts exhibited greater antioxidant capacity than the standard ascorbic acid (vitamin C), implying greater protection against skin damages due to free radicals,” the researchers said. “Also, all extracts exhibited greater inhibition on elastase than tocopherol, suggesting a greater antiaging property.”
Most potent whiteners
The polyphenolic compounds in the mango leaves, however, did not surpass the inhibitory activity with that of kojic acid—a natural chemical used in cosmetics for skin whitening.
In terms of skin whitening, extracts from young leaves of pico and carabao varieties were most potent in inhibiting tyrosinase.
Meanwhile, extract from apple mango leaves was the most potent inhibitor of elastase, which was about two to four times more potent than the other extracts.
Compared with the standard tocopherol (vitamin E compound commonly found in nuts, oil and vegetables), the mango leaf extracts were 10 times more effective in inhibiting elastase, suggesting a better antiaging property.
The study, titled “Evaluation of the Bioactivities of Natural Phenolics from Mango (Mangifera indica Linn) Leaves for Cosmetic Industry Applications,” was conducted by a research team led by Arsenia Sapin from the UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.
Other members of the team were Maria Katrina Alaon, Fides Marciana Tambalo, Rodney Perez and Arra Gaylon.
Their 10-page paper was published in the April 2021 issue of the Philippine Journal of Science, a publication of the Science and Technology Information Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.
Samples from Bulacan
Sapin and her team investigated the samples of fresh leaves of mango cultivars collected from a farm in San Miguel, Bulacan province.
While mango has been one of the top three produced and exported crops in the country, most studies centered on the industry profitability, mainly on breeding, fruit production and processing.
“Unlike in other countries, very few in the Philippines have explored the potential and utilization of the nonfruit parts of the mango, such as the bark and leaves,” the team said.
Studies on foreign mango cultivars found that their leaves are an excellent source of polyphenolic compounds, which have numerous health benefits such as antioxidation, antidiabetic, anticancer and anti-inflammatory.
For the researchers, the results of their study would not only establish the potential of the local mango cultivars as sources of cosmetic ingredients, but also increase the value of the unpopular mango cultivars.
“This could provide consumers effective nature-based cosmetic ingredients as a replacement to the synthetic ones that are used at present to promote safer products for healthier and beautiful skin,” they added.
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