Syzygium aqueum, a species in the Myrtaceae family, commonly called the water jambu is native to Malaysia and Indonesia. It is well documented as a medicinal plant, and various parts of the tree have been used in traditional medicine, for instance as an antibiotic. In this study, we show S. aqueum leaf extracts to have a significant composition of phenolic compounds, protective activity against free radicals as well as low pro-oxidant capability. Its ethanolic extract, in particular, is characterized by its excellent radical scavenging activity of EC(50) of 133 μg mL(-1) 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH), 65 μg mL(-1) 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) and 71 μg mL(-1) (Galvinoxyl), low pro-oxidant capabilities and a phenolic content of 585-670 mg GAE g(-1) extract. The extract also displayed other activities, deeming it an ideal cosmetic ingredient. A substantial tyrosinase inhibition activity with an IC(50) of about 60 μg mL(-1) was observed. In addition, the extract was also found to have anti-cellulite activity tested for its ability to cause 98% activation of lipolysis of adipocytes (fat cells) at a concentration of 25 μg mL(-1). In addition, the extract was not cytotoxic to Vero cell lines up to a concentration of 600 μg mL(-1). Although various parts of this plant have been used in traditional medicine, this is the first time it has been shown to have cosmeceutical properties. Therefore, the use of this extract, alone or in combination with other active principles, is of interest to the cosmetic industry.
The rind of rambutan, which is normally discarded was found to contain extremely high antioxidant activity when assessed using several methods. Although having a yield of only 18%, the ethanolic rambutan rind extract had a total phenolic content of 762±10mg GAE/g extract, which is comparable to that of a commercial preparation of grape seed extract. Comparing the extract's pro-oxidant capabilities with vitamin C, α-tocopherol, grape seed and green tea, the rind had the lowest pro-oxidant capacity. In addition, the extract at 100μg/ml was seen to limit oxidant-induced cell death (DPPH at 50μM) by apoptosis to an extent similar to that of grape seed. The extracts were not cytotoxic to normal mouse fibroblast cells or splenocytes while the powderised rind was seen to have heavy metals contents far below the permissible levels for nutraceuticals. Our study for the first time reveals the high phenolic content, low pro-oxidant capacity and strong antioxidant activity of the extract from rind of Nephelium lappaceum. This extract, either alone or in combination with other active principles, can be used in cosmetic, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.