Unveiling the Powers of Plant Extracts

I. Introduction of plant extract

Plant extracts refer to substances extracted or processed from plants (all or a part of plants) using appropriate solvents or methods. Plant extracts are products formed by directional acquisition and concentration of one or more active ingredients in plants without changing the structure of the active ingredients. According to different ingredients, plant extracts can be divided into glycosides, acids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, terpenes, flavonoids, alkaloids and other categories; according to different product properties, they can be divided into vegetable oils, extracts, powders, lenses and other categories. It is a very important intermediate product with a wide range of applications and can be used in the pharmaceutical industry, food industry, daily chemical industry and other industries.

II. Popular Plant Extracts

- A spotlight on popular plant extracts in the wellness industry (i.e., Centella asiatica extract, aloe vera extract, etc.)

Centella asiatica extract

Centella asiatica, commonly known as Indian pennywort and Asiatic pennywort, is an herbaceous, perennial plant in the flowering plant family Apiaceae, which has a wide range of uses.

Unveiling the Powers of Plant Extracts

1. Antibacterial

Centella asiatica extract contains asiatic acid and madecassic acid, these active saponins acidify the cytoplasm in plant cells, this antibacterial activity protects the plant itself against the attack of mold and yeast,

Experiments show that Centella asiatica extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Propionibacterium acnes.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Asiaticosides have obvious anti-inflammatory effects: reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators (L-1, MMP-1), improve and repair the skin's own barrier function, thereby preventing and correcting skin immune dysfunction.

3. Heal wounds and scars

This effect of Centella asiatica is widely used in dermatology clinical treatment. Madecassoside and Madecassoside are the active ingredients of Centella Asiaticoside in treating burns and healing wounds. They can promote collagen synthesis and new blood vessel formation in the body; stimulate granulation growth and other important functions, so they are beneficial to wound healing. At the same time, asiaticoside has a proliferation effect on epidermal keratinocytes and vascular endothelial cells, and has an inhibitory effect on fibroblasts, so as to promote the formation of granulation tissue in the early stage of wound healing and inhibit scar formation in the late stage of wound healing.

4. Anti-aging

Centella asiatica extract can promote the synthesis of collagen I and III, as well as the secretion of mucopolysaccharides (such as the synthesis of sodium hyaluronate), increase the water retention of the skin, activate and renew skin cells, and soothe the skin.

On the other hand, through DNA array test research, it was found that Centella asiatica extract also has the activation effect of fibroblast gene, which can enhance the vitality of skin basal layer cells, maintain skin elasticity and firmness, and smooth fine wrinkles on the face.

5. Antioxidant

Madecassoside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid all have obvious antioxidant activity. In addition, asiaticoside is also a good inhibitor of apoptosis induction, by reducing the concentration of oxygen free radicals in tissue cells; it has obvious biological effects on cell apoptosis inducing bases on tissue cells.

Aloe vera extract

Aloe vera extract is a colorless, transparent to brown, slightly viscous liquid that turns into yellow fine powder after drying. Aloe extract is the extract of Aloe vera, Aloe sinensis, Aloe saponaria, etc. which have medicinal value in Aloe of Liliaceae. The extraction methods of aloe extract mainly include solvent extraction and ultrasonic extraction, and mainly contain active ingredients such as anthraquinones and polysaccharides. Aloe extract is mainly used in cosmetics, health care products, food and medicine.

Unveiling the Powers of Plant Extracts

Aloe extracts have been approved for the treatment of AIDS in humans. According to researchers, aloe vera contains at least 140 kinds of ingredients, including ingredients that control cell growth and differentiation, anti-infection ingredients, ingredients that stimulate the growth of white blood cells and other immune cells, and ingredients that promote wound healing. Aloe also has the functions of enhancing immunity, promoting intestinal peristalsis, radiation protection, and cardiovascular disease prevention. In addition, aloe vera is also widely used in surgery, ENT, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, cancer treatment, geriatric diseases.

Aloe vera extract is a natural extract, which contains a variety of moisturizing ingredients and nutrients that are beneficial to the human body. Therefore, it has the effects of moisturizing, sun protection, anti-inflammatory, hair care, etc. At the same time, it has significant effects on softening the skin, astringent, preventing acne, preventing rough skin, anti-inflammatory and itching, hair care, and keeping the skin tender and white. Cosmetics made with aloe vera extract include health toothpaste, skin cleansing and skin care products, series of hair products, moisturizing cream and other products.

According to relevant information, aloe vera contains more than 20 kinds of amino acids and trace elements, as well as minerals such as aloe-emodin, strontium, germanium.

III. A Closer Look: The Extraction Process

There are several types of plant extraction methods.

1. Distillation extraction method

Distillation extraction is the extraction method of most essential oils, which requires a large amount of plants. Usually, thousands of kilograms of plants can only extract tens of kilograms of essential oils, but high temperature may change the original smell of plants.

2. Pressing method/cold pressing extraction method

This is currently the most commonly used plant extraction method to extract plants with oily components (peel, seeds, etc.). Squeeze the peel or kernels, add water to the juice, and finally separate the oil from the water by centrifugal force. Cold pressing does not mean a low-temperature environment, but a lower operating temperature (40-60°C) than general high-temperature extraction.

3. Freeze-drying method

Freeze drying is also called sublimation drying. The drying method is to freeze the water-containing material below the freezing point, turn the water into ice, and then turn the ice into vapor under a relatively high vacuum to remove it. Its main advantages are: (1) The dried material maintains the original composition and appearance (2) The heat consumption is less than other drying methods.

4. Solvent extraction method

The essence of the plant is extracted by using the dissolving power of the solvent to obtain a mixture containing solvent and botanical ingredients.

5. Oil bubble extraction method

Soak the plant in vegetable oil to break the oil cells of the plant, and the hot oil will absorb the released essence, and finally filter and purify.

IV. Conclusion

As the idea of returning to nature continues to strengthen, food, medicine, health care products and cosmetics are increasingly trending toward green, natural and pollution-free products. Plant extracts have huge development space and market prospects.

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