Limonia acidissima or Hesperethusa crenulata is a common tree in Southeast Asia. It is indigenous to the Republic of Myanmar (formerly Burma) as well as India, Sri Lanka, Java, and Pakistan.
In English, the common names for Limonia acidissima are sandalwood, wood-apple,elephant-apple, monkey fruit, and curd fruit tree.
The plant has a number of different names in different languages including bal or bael in Assamese, bael in Bengali, kaitha in Hindi, belingai in Malaysia, and thanaka in Burmese.
Unique to the Burmese people, thanaka has been used as a cosmetic product for over 2000 years. Mention of thanaka has been traced back to ancient Burmese lyrics, and relics of equipment used by ancient royalty to grind thanaka can be found in museums.
Thanaka trees must age for at least 35 years prior to being harvested.Raw sandalwood is sold in markets in 10-18 cm long branches and logs.
The wood and bark of the tree are ground into a powder on a flat and circular stone slab, known as a kyauk pyin.The slab has a channel around the circumference to collect fluid during grinding. Smaller branches can be ground by hand with a pestle device yielding smaller amounts of the powder.
Thanaka paste is used as an astringent, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-aging, cosmetic and sun protective product. In recent years, some of these properties, which have been assumed for hundreds of years, have been substantiated.
Thanaka contains two active ingredients, coumarin and marmesin. Coumarin accounts for the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, phytochemical, anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties. Wangthong and colleagues performed a series of studies on thanaka bark. Thanaka was found to be a good scavenger of free radicals. This antioxidant activity was used as a proxy for anti-aging capacity. Thanaka was found to have mild anti-tyrosinase activity.
In an assessment of antibacterial activity, thanaka showed only slight antibiotic activity against both Gram-negative Escherichia coliand Gram-positive Staphyloccocus aureus. In comparison to a standard antibiotic dose of clindamycin, the activity was noted to be 10-20-fold less against Escherichia coli and 300-fold less against Staphyloccocus aureus.
Its anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated in vitro by measuring the ability to inhibit nitric oxide production in macrophages. Thanaka significantly reduced the release of nitric oxide, implying significant anti-inflammatory action2 Another study showed coumarin increases collagen and elastin production in the skin, retarding the cutaneous aging process as well.
Marmesin is the component of thanaka responsible for sun protection. In 2004, Joo and colleagues extracted marmesin from thanaka bark and determined its molecular structure. They found that marmesin contains UV-absorbing chromophores, with maximum absorption 335 nm, and concluded that marmesin could be a commercially useful UV-A filtering product.
A rich source of vitamin E, this tree bark is known to help combat free radicals and maintain skin elasticity. Vitamin E is a renowned anti-aging vitamin, so adding Thanaka Extract to your beauty regimen is known to be an added step towards a youthful complexion.
1: Anti-Aging Benefits
Based on its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, you may have guessed by now that pomegranate seed oil is a viable anti-aging ingredient. Antioxidants like vitamin A (or retinol) and vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) work to fight free radicals while fading fine lines and wrinkles.
2: Anti-Inflammation, Pro-Hydration
As an anti-inflammatory, pomegranate seed oil has demonstrated an affinity for reducing redness or dry, flaky skin, especially thanks to the high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid. With its unique molecular structure, pomegranate seed oil is able to deeply penetrate skin and hair to deliver intense hydration.
Thanks to these skin-softening and moisturizing nutrients, pomegranate seed oil may be especially helpful for those who suffer from acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
3: Fades Scars and Brightens Skin
Whether your skin is a bit drier or rougher to the touch than usual, or if you have scarring or hyperpigmentation, pomegranate seed oil may offer salvation.
Studies have shown that pomegranate seed oil can encourage the production of keratinocytes, which help fibroblasts stimulate cell turnover. What this means for your skin is increased barrier function to defend against the effects of UV damage, radiation, water loss, bacteria, and more. Additionally, the naturally high reserves of vitamin C, punicic acid, and phytosterols help stimulate collagen production and cell regeneration to reveal softer, smoother skin.
4: Levels Up Your SPF
Pomegranate seed oil may even be able to boost our daily sun protection efforts. According to a 2001 study, it was found that a traditional sunscreen was made 20% more effective when mixed with pomegranate seed oil. Its anti-inflammatory properties will also help your skin recover from sun damage.
While pomegranate seed oil alone won’t provide you with proper sun protection, it may add an edge to your SPF.
5: Firmer, Bouncier Skin
As we age, depleting collagen levels cause our skin to lose its firmness. Collagen is the key building block in our skin, providing both structure and elasticity – but our bodies’ natural reserves are finite.
Luckily, we can use pomegranate seed oil to slow the aging process, while improving overall firmness and elasticity. This is thanks to its supply of vitamin C, punicic and linoleic acids, while a spectrum of other antioxidants work to improve circulation and brighten the skin. One study even demonstrated that pomegranate seed oil can improve collagen levels!