Why Folk Remedies Rock
Health and Beauty Properties of Plant Extracts
What do white tea, witch hazel and rose extract—long used as natural aids for preserving youth and well-being—have in common? They all possess potential health and beauty properties that could be simply too good to ignore, say scientists from London’s Kingston University. The researchers, working in collaboration with British beauty brand Neal’s Yard Remedies, tested 21 plant extracts and discovered that their naturally occurring substances may offer new treatments to block the progression of inflammation. The findings are promising as potential treatments for aging skin, as well as more serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, neurodegenerative conditions and cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.
Using human cells as their model, the researchers applied three different concentrations of white tea (freeze-dried powder), witch hazel (dried herb) and rose extract (in a medicinal tincture) to see what effect the mixtures might have on suppressing the rogue enzymes and oxidants that play key roles in cellular inflammation and aging. All three remedies were remarkably effective in keeping inflammation in check.
Whenever inflammation starts—whether as a simple cut to a finger, exposure to the sun, chemicals or pollutants, or irritation due to an arthritic joint—the body begins to produce a protein compound called interleukin 8 that exacerbates the process. The three substances tested appear to successfully interfere with this. White tea displayed the most marked results.