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Old Home Remedies for Treating Inflammation at the Cellular Level

Tim Boyer's picture
White Tea for Treatment of Inflamation

Old home remedies have anti-aging, healing properties

Researchers believe that they have found that the natural healing properties of some old home remedies such as white tea, witch hazel and rose may have clinical value in treating disease as well as in anti-aging involving skin and beauty care.

Researchers from Kingston University in collaboration with Neal’s Yard Remedies - a maker of skincare, health and beauty products, have recently published in the Journal of Inflammation their results on a study of the protective effects of white tea, witch hazel and rose. Their study involved placing oxidative stress on cultured skin cells and measuring the presence of pro-inflammatory response molecules when a skin cell is damaged.

In many cell types, tissue damage results in the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines such as interleukin-6, -8, (IL-6 and IL-8) and TNF-α that make up part of the inflammation process before a wound heals. In addition, the skin is susceptible to damage from reactive oxidative species (ROS) in the form of hydrogen peroxide. Some of these damaging molecules have collagenase and elastase activities that break down collagen and elastin fibers, which are important structural components of skin. This in turn leads to premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.

Because of hydrogen peroxide’s oxidative-related damaging properties, the researchers used this chemical to induce damage in cultured skin cells in the presence of extracts of white tea, witch hazel and rose. Their goal was to determine what protective effects toward the treatment of inflammation these old home remedies have on skin cells by measuring the hydrogen peroxide-treated cells inflammation response for the presence of IL-8.

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Basically, the tests involved plastic plates consisting of multiple tiny wells within which fibroblast skin cells were cultured. The cells were exposed to both hydrogen peroxide and extracts of the three home remedies separately and then analyzed for IL-8 activity as well as collagenase and elastase activity. Controls were performed to ensure that other culture conditions were not contributing to the cellular responses in the wells.

What the researchers found was that 1% dilutions of extracts of white tea, witch hazel and rose tincture inhibited collagenase and elastase activity by over ten percent. Furthermore, that the white tea and witch hazel demonstrated inhibition of IL-8 production by approximately 85 percent. The rose tincture in comparison performed less well at IL-8 inhibition ranging from 30 to 45 percent. These numbers indicate that the three home remedies are potent effectors in the treatment of inflammation during the initial stages of cell damage.

Microscopic analysis of the cells treated with hydrogen peroxide and the three remedies showed that the cells retained their normal shape and physical condition, whereas cells treated with hydrogen peroxide alone showed signs of significant damage.

The results of the study led the researchers to conclude that for the treatment of inflammation at the cellular level, extracts of white tea, witch hazel and rose tincture have a protective effect on skin cells that are exposed to hydrogen peroxide-induced damage. They also believe that their testing methods are potentially applicable toward testing the claims made of other plant extracts and skincare/beauty products.

Source: Journal of Inflammation 2011, 8:27 doi:10.1186/1476-9255-8-27
Image source of White Tea: Wikipedia

Updated 1/14/2017



I keep witch hazel in the cupboard. It's so inexpensive. If you look at expensive cosmetics for skin care they almost all have witch hazel in the ingredients.