Local mango leaves have high skin care benefits, says study

Gift from nature: Extracts of mango leaves have high antioxidant, anti-ageing and whitening properties, the study finds. — Bloomberg

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, anti-aging 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 ageing and darkening of skin, respectively.

Of the 36 identified polyphenolic compounds (organic chemicals abundant in plants) found in mango leaves, the study analysed four: mangiferin, gallic acid, kaempferol and quercetin-3-beta-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 antiageing property.”

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 antiageing 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.

While mango has been one of the top three produced and exported crops in the country, most studies centred 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 utilisation 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 used at present to promote safer products for healthier and beautiful skin, ” they added. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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