This work follows an ethnobotanical study that took place in the island of Mayotte (France), which pointed out the potential properties of Litchi chinensis Sonn. roots when used to enhance skin health and appearance. Through in vitro testing of a crude methanolic extract, high anti-tyrosinase (skin whitening effect) and antioxidant activities (skin soothing effect) could be measured. HPLC successive bio-guided fractionation steps allowed the purification of one of the compounds responsible for the biological activities. The isolated compound was characterized by UV, IR, MS and 2D-NMR, revealing, for the first time in Litchi chinensis Sonn. roots, an A-type proanthocyanidin and thus revealing a consensus among the traditional use shown by the ethnobotanical study, in vitro biological activities and chemical characterization.
Keywords: DPPH; Litchi chinensis; anti-tyrosinase activity; molecular identification; proanthocyanidins.