The cherry blossom tree, or Sakura, as it is known in Japan, has a mystical, sacred history, steeped in myth and legends.
The custom of “Hanami” (drinking under a blooming Sakura) is said to have started during the Nara period (710–794). Through the centuries this has given rise to the cherry blossom festivals still honouring the Sakura today.
The flowers are revered in Japan as representing a mythical goddess. Japan’s oldest historical record, the Kojiki (dating from the 700s), describes a beautiful goddess that was the guardian deity of Mount Fuji. The word itself meant “god pedestal”.
‘Sa’ was written as the word ‘god’ (神), and particularly referred to the god of rice paddies. ‘Kura’ represented a pedestal used to honour a god with offerings of food and sake.
Sakura are in bloom for a couple of weeks each spring. Full bloom (mankai) is usually reached within about one week after the opening of the first blossoms. A week later, the blooming peak is over and the blossoms are falling from the trees.
Despite not producing any useful fruit, this beautiful Sakura became a backbone of Japanese culture and is used the world over to represent Japan. In a spiritual sense, the sakura reminds us that life is short and beautiful, just like the cherry blossom that falls from the tree after only a few days.
SAKURA & BEAUTY
It is not surprising that something extremely beautiful from nature, leads to extremely beautiful effects in us. The Sakura has many health and skin care benefits which Japanese and Asian women have been enjoying for centuries.
Due to their short harvest time and shelf life, cherry blossoms are usually preserved with salt, making formulation for topical applications difficult. They have long been used in teas and sweets.
Before finding out how Sakura Cherry Blossom helps us, there are basic ageing processes that need to be understood with specific reference to our skin, and with the understanding that skin ageing has both internal and external causes.
THE AGEING PROCESS
An estimated 80% of facial skin photoaging is caused by sun UV light(i).
UV radiation damages the epidermis and leads to rapid photoaging(ii).
Visible signs of UV damage include wrinkles, a leathery texture, pigmentation, sagging and dryness/dehydration.
Poor diet and lifestyle, especially excess sugar, causes glycation.
Glycation is a process / reaction in the body when sugars attached to proteins or lipids (like collagen and elastin), even DNA. In this process something called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are formed. AGEs are toxins that promote inflammation and ageing of cells(iii).
This process begins when we are about 20 and gradually intensifies. So, while it is a natural process, diets that are high in sugar accelerate glycation, causing more AGEs to form in the skin, and serious diseases like diabetes.
Visible signs of glycation and AGEs include wrinkles, sagging, skin dehydration and irritation, uneven skin tone and discolouration.
JAPANESE CHERRY BLOSSOM COMPOUNDS
We know Sakura flowers are full of bioactive compounds that have positive health benefits on the inner workings of our bodies, not just on our skin.
- Antioxidants lead to anti-inflammatory effects which is good for the entire body.
- Fatty acids aid with neural signal transmission, hormone composition and metabolism.
- Glucosides, molecules that when bound to others act as antioxidants & metabolites.
- Enzymes, substance that brings about all chemical reactions in the body.
Apart from centuries of actual use and historical proof, recent scientific tests have now given evidence to what the cherry blossom is capable of.
Cinnamoyl and flavonol glucosides were isolated from cherry blossom extract, and their effect on AGE production and interaction with fibroblasts and collagen were evaluated.
Cells from various animals and humans were directly treated with varying doses of CBE. Two components, in particular, showed dramatic results: 1-caffeoyl-O-β-D-glucopyranoside and quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside.
Caffeoyl Glucose exhibited the highest suppressive activity against AGE production out of the cinnamoyls, and the suppressive activities of quercetin glucosides where the highest out of the flavanols.
Suppression of Fibroblast Apoptosis & Increased Collagen Formation(iv)
Treatment with cherry blossom extract, especially Caffeoyl Glucose, showed a reduction of fibroblast destruction in cells, as well as the ability to recover collagen formation. It was suggested that the extract may inhibit the neural pathway signals that cause fibroblast apoptosis.
Reduces / Inhibits UV Damage in Skin Cells(v)
The skin anti-aging potential of non-enzymatic softening cherry blossom extract (NES-CBE) was investigated on human keratinocytes (epidermal skin cell).
Certain enzymes (like MMP-1) play a role in degrading collagen (structural components) in the skin matrix, and these enzymes are triggered by UV rays. Cherry blossom extract reduced the levels of MMP-1 in the keratinocytes that had been damaged by UV.
The extract seemed to directly inhibit the signal pathways between enzymes and proteins and so inhibit destruction of cells.
Reduced Cell DNA Damage(vi)
The protective effects of cherry blossom extract against UVB-induced oxidative damage in human keratinocytes, as well as on DNA damage and apoptosis, was investigated on human cultured epidermal cells. Cells were pre-treated with CBE for 24hours, subjected to UVB and then studied against cells un-treated and exposed to UVB.
Treated cells showed an inhibition of excess ROS (reactive chemical) generation – when these are stimulated by UV they lead to sunburn, photoaging, and skin cancer.
Malondialdehyde (MDA) was significantly less in these treated cells – MDA causes oxidation of cells and DNA cell damage.
There was an increase in antioxidant enzyme activity, when compared to cells not treated. Cells treated also showed reduced DNA damage by inhibiting the formation of CPD and 8-OHdG (markers for oxidative DNA stress, inflammation and cell death).
Inhibited Melanin Production(vii)
Parts of the oriental cherry were extracted and specifically tested for their effects on antioxidant and Tyrosinase activity.
Tyrosinase is a key enzyme for melanin production, melanin determines the colour of your skin, hair and eyes. Inhibiting this enzyme causes a skin whitening effect. Laboratory results showed Tyrosinase inhibition in both water and ethanol extraction.
And what does all this mean for YOU?
That you can use our 100% pure organic Sakura Extract beauty supplement Face Blossom® with absolute peace of mind and research-backed confidence.
Our Sakura blossoms are uniquely processed, freeze-dried and finely powdered.
Using a 10:1 extraction means it takes 10 blossoms to make 1 unit of measure.
The powdered extract is then put into a vegan capsule for easy ingestion.
Beauty from the inside out.
Say hello to gorgeous and younger-looking skin: A brighter, smoother, luminescent you.
(i) Lopez-Ojeda, W.; Pandey, A.; Alhajj, M.; Oakley, A.M. Anatomy, Skin (Integument). In StatPearls; StatPearls Publishing: Treasure Island, FL, USA, 2021.
(ii) Gruber, F.; Marchetti-Deschmann, M.; Kremslehner, C.; Schosserer, M. The Skin Epilipidome in Stress, Aging, and Inflammation. Front. Endocrinol. 2020, 11, 607076.
(iv) Shimoda, H., Nakamura, S., Morioka, M., Tanaka, J., Matsuda, H., & Yoshikawa, M. (2011). Effect of Cinnamoyl and Flavonol Glucosides Derived from Cherry Blossom Flowers on the Production of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and AGE-induced Fibroblast Apoptosis. Phytotherapy Research, n/a–n/a. doi:10.1002/ptr.3423
(v) Jung, Y.-A., Lee, J.-Y., Lee, P., Shin, H.-S., & Kim, J.-E. (2021). Inhibition of Solar UV-Induced Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 Expression by Non-Enzymatic Softening Cherry Blossom (Prunus yedoensis) Extract. Plants, 10(5), 1016. doi:10.3390/plants10051016
(vi) Wang, Y., Li, W., Xu, S., Hu, R., Zeng, Q., Liu, Q., … Guan, L. (2019). Protective skin aging effects of cherry blossom extract (Prunus Yedoensis) on oxidative stress and apoptosis in UVB-irradiated HaCaT cells. Cytotechnology. doi:10.1007/s10616-018-0215-7
(vii) Park, J. W., Yuk, H. G., & Lee, S. C. (2012). Antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibitory activities of different parts of oriental cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea). Food Science and Biotechnology, 21(2), 339–343. doi:10.1007/s10068-012-0045-x