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Antiaging Properties Found in Poplar Leaf Bud Extract


Leaf buds of poplar trees appear to hold antiaging properties, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The discovery could lead to use of poplar leaf bud extract in skin creams and nutraceuticals.

Poplar leaf buds have antiaging antioxidants

One activity of honey bees is to collect the sticky resin that seeps from the buds and bark of certain trees and to bring it to their hives. This hive substance, called propolis or “bee glue,” has long been valued for its health benefits, and it has been credited with anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and the treatment of colds, arthritis, sunburn, and sinusitis.

Previous research has shown that propolis contains a variety of components, including flavonoids (plant pigments that have antioxidant properties), caffeic acid, chrysin, ferulic acid, and cinnamic acid, among others. Propolis is said to contain 500 times more flavonoids than the average orange.

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Honey bees appear to prefer resin from certain trees, especially the poplar and its leaf buds. To determine whether poplar leaf buds are a good source of antioxidants and may provide antiaging properties, a team of French scientists tested an extract from the buds.

They discovered that poplar bud extract provides moderate antioxidant activity and has an antiaging impact on cells in the laboratory. Using ORAC testing (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), a method of measuring the antioxidant capacities of plant samples, the researchers found the main active compounds were phenolic acids and flavonoid aglycons, which together accounted for about half of the antioxidant activity of the poplar leaf bud extract.

Further testing revealed that poplar leaf bud extract “significantly regulated genes involved in antioxidant defenses, inflammatory response and cell renewal.” Based on these observations, the study’s authors noted their “potential antiaging properties which could be utilized in cosmetic and nutraceutical formulations.”

It may not be long before poplar leaf bud extract is an ingredient in antiaging skin creams and antiaging supplements in a store near you.

Dudonne S et al. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2011; 59(9): 4527; doi: 10.1021/jf104791t