Optimization of Cyclodextrin-Assisted Extraction of Phenolics from Helichrysum italicum for Preparation of Extracts with Anti-Elastase and Anti-Collagenase Properties

Metabolites. 2023 Feb 9;13(2):257. doi: 10.3390/metabo13020257.


Helichrysum italicum is a plant traditionally used for skin-related disorders that is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in cosmetic products. In this work, a "green" ultrasound-assisted extraction method for H. italicum phenolics was developed using skin-friendly cyclodextrins (CDs). Extraction conditions needed for the greatest yield of target compounds (total phenolics, phenolic acids, and flavonoids) were calculated. The composition of the extracts was determined using LC-MS and spectrophotometric methods. Among the tested CDs, 2-hydroxylpropyl-beta-CD (HP-β-CD) was the best suited for extraction of target phenolics and used to prepare two optimized extracts, OPT 1 (the extract with the highest phenolic acid content) and OPT 2 (the extract with the highest total phenol and flavonoid content). The extracts were prepared at 80 °C, using 0.089 g of plant material/g solvent (0.6 mmol of HP-β-CD), with or without addition of 1.95% (w/w) lactic acid. The main metabolite in both extracts was 3,5-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid. It was found that the addition of lactic acid greatly contributes to the extraction of arzanol, a well-known anti-inflammatory agent. IC50 values of the anti-elastase (22.360 ± 0.125 μL extract/mL and 20.067 ± 0.975 for OPT-1 and OPT-2, respectively) and anti-collagenase (12.035 ± 1.029 μL extract/mL and 14.392 ± 0.705 μL extract/mL for OPT-1 and OPT-2, respectively) activities of the extracts surpassed those of the applied positive controls, namely ursolic and gallic acids. This activity deems the prepared extracts promising ingredients for natural cosmetics, appropriate for direct use in cosmetic products, removing the need for the evaporation of conventional solvents.

Keywords: Helichrysum italicum; LC-MS; anti-collagenase activity; anti-elastase activity; arzanol; cyclodextrins; flavonoids; phenolic acids; ultrasound assisted extraction.