Maple trees give us the famous maple syrup, but, according to a group of researchers from the University of Rhode Island, maple leaves are also useful for the skin. According to the scientists’ study in this regard, presented at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the maple leaf extract might be the secret to a wrinkle-free skin.
After exploring the benefits of sap and syrup from sugar maple and red maple trees and taking into the account the historical use of other parts of the maple trees, the researchers found out the beneficial effects of maple leaves.
“Native Americans used leaves from red maple trees in their traditional system of medicine, so why should we ignore the leaves?” said Navindra P. Seeram, Ph.D., and the study’s leading author.
Maple leaf extract might promote for a wrinkle-free skin
The skin can only keep its elasticity under the presence of some proteins, especially the elastin. However, wrinkles appear when an enzyme known as elastase breaks down the elastin protein.
“We wanted to see whether leaf extracts from red maple trees could block the activity of elastase,” said Hang Ma, Ph.D., and one of the study’s co-authors.
The scientists focused on the glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs) which are the phenolic compounds found in the maple leaves and which proved to block the elastase function.
However, these GCGs compounds can do more than just inhibiting the production of elastase. According to the research, these compounds might also diminish the intensity of dark spots, as well as protect the skin from inflammation.
“You could imagine that this [maple leaf extract] might tighten up human skin like a plant-based Botox, though they would be a topical application, not an injected toxin,” concluded the study’s leading author, Navindra P. Seeram from the University of Rhode Island.