Cosmetic formulations containing volatile constituents of Artemisia annua L
Artemisia annua L., a plant of the Asteraceae family, indigenous to the South East Asia, is an annual herb/shrub, which has become naturalized or is cultivated as a horticultural or medicinal plant in many parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, America and Australia. It has been used for many centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of fever and malaria because of the presence in leaves and capitula of a unique sesquiterpene endoperoxide called artemisinin. Nowdays A. annua still represents the only source of artemisinin, considered one of the most important drugs for the treatment of malaria and, more recently, it has been shown to be effective also against numerous types of tumors, including breast cancer, human leukemia, colon, and small-cell lung carcinomas . The foliage and inflorescence of A. annua plants also yield an essential oil upon their hydro-distillation which can represent another potential commercially valuable product [2,3]. The aims of our studies were to evaluate the volatile constituents of the essential oil and aromatic waters of A. annua and their use as ingredients of cosmetic preparations. Fresh plant material was hydrodistillated and both essential oil and aromatic waters analysed by GC-MS. Main constituents of the essential oil were germacrene D (21.2%), camphor (17.6%), beta-farnesene (10.2%), beta-caryophyllene (9%), and bicyclogermacrene (4.2%). Aromatic waters, after extraction with n-hexane, showed the presence, among others, of camphor (27.7%), 1,8-cineole (14%), artemisia ketone (10.1%), alpha-terpineol (6.1%), trans-pinocarveol (5.4%), artemisia alcohol (2%). No tujone or other reputed toxic constituents were detected. Based on these results, two cosmetics were formulated: a cream containing the aromatic waters and a foam gel containing the essential oil and aromatic waters. The formulated products were stable after six months storage tests.
References: 1. Efferth, T. (2007) Planta Medica 73: 299–309. 2. Ma, C. et al. (2007)J. Chromatography A 1150:50–53. 3. Tellez, M.R. et al. (1999) Phytochemistry 52: 1035–1040