Marula or Sclerocarya birrea is a medium-sized, wild-growing, and hand harvested tree in the rural communities of South Africa. It is unrefined, organic and a nutrient dense plant. The fruits of marula trees are asserted rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and especially omega fatty acids. Marula fruits are claimed to contain about 4 times more vitamin C than the usual citrus fruits.
The oil extracted from marula named the Marula oil is an eminent product of these plants. It is extracted from the seed kernels of marula fruit. It is a natural, cold pressed, and light textured oil which is widely used across South Africa for its various characteristic properties. It has extensive medicinal uses, prevents photo-damage, alleviates the effects of environmental aggressors, and boosts the cellular activity among individuals.
In addition to all of the wonders it can do, the Marula oil is best known to empower the skin cells. The skin care properties of Marula oil are perhaps the finest of all. It guards the skin against harsh and dry conditions. It hydrates the deepest levels of skin cells and repairs it in the best possible manner. It is suitable for almost all types of skins. It offers a soothing and fast absorbing effect. It renders the skin nutritious, luminous, healthy and moist.
Recently, researchers in South Africa have reported Marula extracts to serve as a natural anti-aging alternative. The study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The researchers investigated the anti-aging properties of marula plant extracts and disclosed the ability of the extracts to maintain collagen and elastase.
Extracts from marula stems, leaves, and fruits were collected. The researchers employed acetone, ethanol, and methanol to create different marula extract concentrations. Marula oil was also subjected to assessment during the study. The main components of the extracts were determined using some pure standards. All of the components were screened for their anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities.
Degradation of the components such as elastin and collagen by elastase and collagenase is what accelerates the aging process of the skin cells. Phytochemicals inhibiting the activity of these enzymes or exhibiting the anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities can be developed as anti-aging ingredients.
The results of the studies revealed that the extracts from marula stems exhibited the most powerful anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities. The leaf extract depicted a moderate level of anti-elastase activity, however, marula fruit extract and oil showed a limited amount of anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities.
The ethanolic extract of marula stems was thus declared the most suitable of all the extracts for skin care and health. They suggested the extract to be used as a safe alternative to those expensive skin care treatments and beauty products.
The extract was defatted and concentrated in order to improve its anti-aging abilities and reduce the color intensity. It was revealed to be composed of six major components, out of which the confirmed four are as follow,
- Quinic acid
- Epigallocatechin gallate
- Epicatechin gallate.
The last two components are attributed to the anti-aging properties of the Marula extracts.
Following statistical data represents the findings of the study,
Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that the ethanolic marula stem extract can be used as a powerful anti-aging ingredient. It not only replenishes the skin cells but also offers minimal side effects to the well-being of the individual. Moreover, it rejuvenates and diminishes the emergence of fine lines, wrinkles, redness, and blotchiness. It also recovers and restores skin elasticity for a more radiantly glowing and a young looking skin. Vitamin E too supports the production of collagen and elastin to boost the firmness of the skin. Antioxidants help protect and repair free radical damage from pollution and sun exposure.
Concluding the whole story, marula plant extracts can serve as a powerful anti-aging agent. All pure, organic, and safe to use!