As I look at Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Serum ($55) I feel a little overwhelmed by more than 50 ingredients and a little disappointed that the third most dominant is a silicone. Most of the formula is, however, made up of plant extracts, of which the leading role goes to the extract from the bark of a tree called anogeissus latifolia.

According to Origins, anogeissus latifolia is nothing short of miraculous when it comes to eliminating wrinkles and restoring “bounce” to sagging skin. I looked into it and the tree, known as dhaora in India, contains large amounts of tannin and is used for tanning leather. In West Africa, the bark is used to treat skin disorders.

There is a fair bit of research into the components of anogeissus, mostly because it has proved to be a really good anti-bacterial that stops the spread of infectious skin diseases. Useful, but that doesn’t make it an anti-ager. The bark contains nearly no flavonoids (the typical plant-based antioxidants) but is rich in derivatives of ellagic acid. These derivatives are good antioxidants acting as scavengers of free radicals and as protectors of DNA from injury by alkylating agents. What’s more they are anti-inflammatory and research has shown that the ellagic acid derivatives inhibit enzymes that degrade collagen.

So it looks as if Origins might be on to something.  But they aren’t the only ones, Givenchy uses anogeissus, as does Jurlique. This might be why Origins has gone further by claiming that, working the University of Strasbourg, they discovered that anogeissus bark increases the skin’s fibrillin – hence the anti-sagging. I haven’t been able to find a published version of this research.

Many of the other botanicals in Origins Plantscription are oils and I do find the texture of this serum a little oily. Plus there is lavender oil in a relatively high concentration as well as a separate listing for linalool, lavender’s potentially carcinogenic component. Amongst the extracts there is hibiscus abelmoschus, which is mostly used for its musky smell and sapindus mukurossi, typically used to make soap. There seems to be some evidence that guava is antioxidant, but there isn’t a whole lot of research on it. Nor is there for sigesbeckia orientalis (St Paul’s wort). One of the most convincing is polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) contains antioxidant resveratrol.

The only peptide here, the expression line controlling acetyl hexapeptide-8 seems a little of tokenistic throw-in way down towards the end of the ingredients list, along with sodium hyaluronate.

Origins promises that in four weeks Plantscriptions will visibly repair the four signs of aging. We shall see. I’ll report back in a month or so.

Ingredients:

Water/aqua/eue, butylene glycol, dimethicone, glycerin, jojoba esters, anogeissus leiocarpus bark extract, rosa damascena flower oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, pelargonium graveolens flower oil, illicium verum (anise) oil, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot oil), carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, myristica fragrans (nutmeg) kernel oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, litsea cubeba fruit oil, hibiscus abelmoschus extract, geraniol, linalool, cintronellol, limogene, sigesbeckia orientalis extract, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) seed extract, mangifera indica (mango) leaf extract, psidium guajava (guava) fruit extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, centaurium erythraea (centuary) extract, sapindus mukurossi fruit extract, micrococcus lysate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, salicyclic acid, phytosphingosine, glycyrrhetinic acid, sodium hyaluronate, phospholipids, acetyl hexapeptide-8, caesalpinia spinosa gum, methyl trimethicone, zinc pca, caffeine, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, arginine, caprylyl glycol, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, polysilicone-11, hexylene glycol, dicaprylyl carbonate, tromethamine, tocopheryl acetate, carbomer, silica, phenoxyethanol