Researchers at Kingston University and Neal's Yard Remedies have reported that white tea, witch hazel and rose may hold antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits beneficial for treating skin aging and some inflammatory diseases
In "Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells," an article appearing in the Journal of Inflammation, the researchers found that the extracts and products tested have a protective effect on fibroblast cells against hydrogen peroxide induced damage. This approach provides a potential method to evaluate the claims made for plant extracts and the products in which these extracts are found.
To test the extracts, aqueous extracts and formulations of white tea, witch hazel and rose were subjected to assays to measure anti-collagenase, anti-elastase, trolox equivalent and catalase activities. Skin fibroblast cells were employed to determine the effect of each extract/formulation on IL-8 release induced by the addition of hydrogen peroxide. Microscopic examination along with Neutral Red viability testing was employed to ascertain the effects of hydrogen peroxide directly on cell viability.
Using human skin cells as their model, the researchers added three different concentrations of white tea (freeze dried powder), witch hazel (dried herb) and rose extract (in a medicinal tincture form) to see what effect the mixtures might have on suppressing rogue enzymes and oxidants that play a key role in helping inflammation develop, as well as aging the skin.
Considerable anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and antioxidant activities were measured for all extracts with the exception of witch hazel distillate, which showed no activity in the collagenase assay or in the trolox equivalence assay. All of the extracts and products tested elicited a significant decrease in the amount of IL-8 produced by fibroblast cells compared to the control (p < 0.05). None of the test samples exhibited catalase activity or had a significant effect on the spontaneous secretion of IL-8 in the control cells which was further corroborated with the microscopy results and the Neutral Red viability test.