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Sometimes it just has to dawn on you. We’re talking about sea buckthorn. Or more precisely, sea buckthorn leaves. The ‘sea buckthorn leaves’ research project, in which LOGONA plays a significant role, examines this resource in detail. With astounding results.
The medicinal plant sea buckthorn is currently grown almost in every country in Europe. Shortly before it is harvested, sea buckthorn crops illuminate the countryside with a sea of orange-coloured berries. After the harvest, the plant rows are replete with crop waste such as leaves and branches.
The suspicion that such discarded residue might hold the finest anti-ageing agents was the exciting thought that led five partners to initiate a research project. Together, they set out to discover the active treasures hidden in sea buckthorn leaves and branches. Sea buckthorn berries have been the subject of extensive scientific examination. In light of their high content of bioactive secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, they are a valuable medicinal resource, and sea buckthorn oil is an extremely beneficial cosmetic ingredient. The powers hidden in the inconspicuous sea buckthorn leaves remained largely unknown in this country; however, people in the Far East had apparently been aware of them for centuries. For Genghis Khan, the first great khan of the Mongols, horses were one of the most precious commodities. History relates that he fed them sea buckthorn leaves and branches to keep their coats shiny and to improve their overall health.
The research aim: innovative anti-ageing ingredients
Even preliminary tests to ascertain the content of bioactive secondary metabolites showed that sea buckthorn leaves harbour exceptionally high-quality active ingredients. LOGONA’s research and development department’s interest and expectations were correspondingly high. The quality and combination of sea buckthorn leaf active agents pointed to a wide range of prominent applications. Analysing the active ingredients remains the task of skintegral® at the University of Freiburg’s dermatology clinic.
Within the framework of the project, the LOGONA research and development team was initially responsible for determining which of the many sea buckthorn varieties yielded the most in the extraction of effective anti-ageing ingredients.
Heinz-Jürgen Weiland, head of LOGONA’s research and development department, explains, ‘We began by generating dry leaf products with a standardised content of active ingredients through targeted harvesting and post-harvesting treatment methods – as a raw material base for the extracts to be developed. This was followed by a comprehensive analysis of fresh, frosted and dried leaves.’
Sea buckthorn leaves offer a rich variety of active ingredients. The task was therefore not to obtain one single extract as an active agent, but rather to unlock the entire spectrum of possibilities, for example, through the extraction of biologically active substances that can be used as antibiotic or antioxidative agents. The long-term project will be completed in the course of 2013. Nevertheless, there is already no question that sea buckthorn leaves are a true treasure, replete with active ingredients that bring natural enrichment to the world of cosmetics with exceptional anti-ageing effects.
Heinz-Jürgen Weiland: ‘So far, the results that have been recorded using dried sea buckthorn leaves have far exceeded our expectations. For instance, a dry extract that we developed from sea buckthorn leaves has proven to be extraordinarily rich in antioxidants.’ Antioxidants are key substances that counteract the skin’s ageing processes.
The ecological benefits of the research project
The success of the ‘sea buckthorn leaves’ research project not only lies in making better anti-ageing ingredients available; using sea buckthorn leaves is also a fantastic idea in ecological terms. After all, their cultivation is practically carbon-neutral. It seems that the intrepid idea of working with ‘crop waste’ has given birth to an extremely promising ecological project within ingredient research.
LOGONA natural cosmetics
Our products already make use of the antioxidative effect of sea buckthorn: organic sea buckthorn is one of the central ingredients in the LOGONA Age Protection range, which provides mature skin with everything it needs to look great.