Beauty brew

It might not sound like the ultimate anti-aging elixir, but new research 1 shows the humble artichoke could have an ability to help slow down our skin’s aging process.

Scientists looked at what effect cynaropicrin, a bioactive compound found in artichoke, has on skin cells and uncovered some surprising benefits.

They found that the natural chemical was able to activate protective systems in skin cells, which had two main effects.

Firstly the inflammation process in the cells was reduced (inflammation in skin cells can lead to redness and swelling) and secondly the production of ‘oxygen free radicals’ by the skin cells, when they were exposed to environmental stress, was lowered. Oxygen free radicals are thought to be the main culprit behind aging skin and are produced when skin is stressed by things like pollution or solar radiation.

In short, artichoke extract appears to be able to reduce inflammation and aging of the skin, with the scientists behind the study concluding that artichoke extract could have a role to play in reducing skin aging.

 

How to benefit

Artichoke is hugely popular on the continent, but rarely finds itself on dinner plates in the UK. Instead try Natur Boutique’s Organic Artichoke Tea, whose sole ingredient is pure organic artichoke and which is available from Holland and Barrett stores for just £2.99 for a box of 20 tea bags.

 

Please note: Pregnant and breast feeding women should seek advice from their doctors before using artichoke extracts. Artichoke leaf extract should not be taken in the presence of gallstones or other bile duct occlusion, due to its bile stimulating effects.

 

  1. Toxicol Lett.2015 Feb 11;234(2):74-80. Cynaropicrin attenuates UVB-induced oxidative stress via the AhR-Nrf2-Nqo1 pathway. Takei K1Hashimoto-Hachiya A1Takahara M1Tsuji G1Nakahara T2Furue M2.