Scientists Discover Anti-Aging Power in an Invasive Weed to Ward Off Wrinkles

Scientists Discover Anti-Aging Power in an Invasive Weed to Ward Off Wrinkles ...

Because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, cocklebur extracts have shown promise in protecting skin and improving wound healing, as well as increasing collagen production, which maintains skin elasticity.

Cocklebur extracts may help to protect the skin, speed wound healing, and diminish wrinkles.

According to new study, the fruit of the cocklebur plant, which is widespread throughout the world and is often considered a dangerous weed, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In laboratory experiments using cells and tissues, researchers found that compounds in the species' spiky fruits reduced UVB damage and speeded wound healing. Additionally, the cocklebur extracts appear to influence collagen production, which helps skin retain its elasticity and prevents wrinkles.

"Cocklebur fruit has the potential to protect the skin and help increase collagen production," said Myongji University Professor Jinah Hwang, who conducted the study. "In this regard, it might be an attractive ingredient for creams or other cosmetic forms."

Song presented the new findings at Discover BMB, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's annual meeting held March 25 to 28 in Seattle.

Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows on clothing, fur, and feathers, and it is considered a dangerous weed in several regions if consumed in large quantities.

Cocklebur is a plant native to Southern Europe, Central Asia, and China that has spread worldwide, often found near roadside ditches and riverbanks. Its distinctive fruits, covered with stiff husks and burrs, have been used for centuries in traditional medicines for headache, stuffy nose, skin pigmentation disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. In recent years, researchers have explored its potential use in medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

Researchers first studied cocklebur fruit extracts and isolated certain compounds that might be beneficial for wound healing and skin protection. They then used cell cultures and a 3D tissue model with properties similar to human skin to investigate how these compounds affect collagen production, wound healing, and damage from UVB radiation.

The researchers found that cocklebur fruit extracts enhanced collagen production, improved wound healing, and had a protective effect against UVB radiation. Fruits grown in South Korea had slightly higher anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, as well as wound healing abilities.

Researchers caution that excessive amounts of cocklebur fruit extract may be harmful, and further investigation is needed to determine how to safely utilize it in cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

"Crocoxyatractyloside, which can damage the liver, is also present in the cocklebur fruit's burrs," said Song. "Cocklebur showed promise as a cosmetic agent by increasing collagen synthesis; however, it showed detrimental results with higher concentrations."

The researchers intend to expand their research into the biological mechanisms involved and conduct experiments in animals as alternatives in order to develop safe and effective cosmetic substitutes for cocklebur fruit extracts.

Discover BMB in a Meeting.

The Korea government subsidized this study with a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (No. NRF-2021R1A2C10 12890).

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