How ivy, horse chestnut and butcher's broom protect blood vessels, elastin and hyaluronic acid

  • Extracts from the plants ivy (hedera helix), horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum) and butcher's broom (ruscus aculeatus) are all well known for their vein protecting and circulation enhancing action, which in turn make them valuable actives for the treatment of venous insufficiency, and also cellulite.
  • In this study scientists examined how effective these three herbs and their active chemicals  were in fighting the breakdown of elastin and hyaluronic acid, both very important components of the basic substance that surrounds and protects blood vessels.
  • The study has shown that:
  • Ruscogenin from butcher's broom was very effective in preventing the breakdown of elastin but ineffective in protecting hyaluronic acid
  • Escin from horse chestnut was effective only in protecting hyaluronic acid
  • Oleanolic acid and hederagenin from ivy are effective in preventing the breakdown of elastin as well as hyaluronic acid
  • Of course, hyaluronidase and elastase inhibition are only two of the many different ways in which those three well researched and widely used plants help protect blood vessels and boost circulation / lymphatic drainage.
  • In summary, these results show for one more time the potential for escin, ruscogenin, oleanolic acid and hederagenin in protecting connective tissue, blood vessels and circulation, and consequently helping reduce cellulite.
  • Source: Anti-elastase and anti-hyaluronidase activities of saponins and sapogenins from Hedera helix, Aesculus hippocastanum, and Ruscus aculeatus: factors contributing to their efficacy in the treatment of venous insufficiency.
  • Abstract: Triterpene and steroid saponins and sapogenins of medicinal plants (Aesculus hippocastanum L., Hedera helix L., Ruscus aculeatus L.) are claimed to be effective for the treatment/prevention of venous insufficiency. In this work we evaluated the inhibitory effects of these plant constituents on the activity of elastase and hyaluronidase, the enzyme systems involved in the turnover of the main components of the perivascular amorphous substance. The results evidence that for Hedera helix L., the sapogenins only non-competitively inhibit hyaluronidase activity in a dose-dependent fashion, showing comparable IC50 values (hederagenin IC50 = 280.4 microM; oleanolic acid IC50 = 300.2 microM); both the saponins hederacoside C and alpha-hederin are very weak inhibitors. The same behaviour is observed for serine protease porcine pancreatic elastase: the glycosides are devoid of inhibitory action, while genins are potent competitive inhibitors (oleanolic acid IC50 = 5.1 microM; hederagenin IC50 = 40.6 microM). Constituents from Aesculus hippocastanum L. show inhibitory effects only on hyaluronidase, and this activity is mainly linked to the saponin escin (IC50 = 149.9 microM), less to its genin escinol (IC50 = 1.65 mM). By contrast, ruscogenins from Ruscus aculeatus L., ineffective on hyaluronidase activity, exhibit remarkable anti-elastase activity (IC50 = 119.9 microM; competitive inhibition). The mechanism of elastase inhibition by triterpene and steroid aglycones, with a nitroanilide derivative as substrate, is discussed.

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