Paula Lennon Ph.D. and Laurent Schubnel - Gattefossé, France performed clinical studies to the efficacy of acmella oleracea extract, showing the powerful activity on wrinkle smoothing and significant reduction of wrinkles, which makes this an important anti-age ingredient for today's consumers, as they are seeking rapid and radical results.

(source: Personal Care Magazine, January 2007); click here to read the full article and scientific publication.


Cosmetic products and treatments can offer a safe alternative to more invasive techniques like Botox and hyaluronic acid injections. Yet the consumer wants visible and fast results – not after three months of twice daily application of a cream, but after a week or even a day of treatment. This was the aim of Gattefossé in its research for a new anti-ageing active: something safe, quick-acting and efficient with visible results. This has been achieved by bringing to cosmetics the powerful anti-ageing properties of Acmella oleracea, a plant that grows in the tropical region of the Indian Ocean. 

Para cress plant 

Acmella oleracea, or para cress plant, grows all year round and can be found in Africa, South America, and Asia. In the Indian Ocean, it is used in food, added to local dishes as a condiment. It’s also widely used in traditional medicine, for e.g. inflammatory conditions, influenza and toothache as it leaves a numb feeling in the mouth when eaten. 
The investigation of the extraordinary potential of this small plant for the personal care market was a challenge, but it has been investigated in vitro and in vivo and showed to have a powerful effect on fine lines or “expression wrinkles”. 

Fine lines and ageing 

Because we smile, frown, laugh and talk, the skin of our faces is subjected daily to thousands of involuntary microcontractions that result in the formation of fine lines. These lines eventually lead to deeper, more visible wrinkles. It is precisely via a myorelaxing mechanism that slows down these microcontractions that Acmella oleracea extract proves its efficacy. 


The anti-ageing properties of an Acmella oleracea extract have been demonstrated and can be attributed principally to a mechanism of myorelaxation, which treats the causes of fine line formation. The results on the skin are an immediate smoothing effect with significant reduction of wrinkles. The consumer’s desire for visible and fast-acting results can finally be met. 

Gatuline Expression, an active based on Acmella oleracea extract, shows powerful myorelaxing activity with immediate results on wrinkle smoothing, bringing the consumer a reliable option for the ultra rapid achievement of smoother skin. 

Below you can find the clinical data and results.

In vivo and in vitro tests - 

Two types of substantiation test, in vitro and in vivo, prove the efficacy of the Acmella oleracea extract. 

Firstly, the myorelaxing activity of the extract was tested on a model reproducing muscle contractions. This model is produced by the co-culture of motor neurones with human muscle cells forming striated muscle fibres which, once innervated, spontaneously contract. The muscle contractions were counted in the presence and absence of Acmella oleracea extract. As such, it was demonstrated that just 0.6% of the extract is enough to obtain complete myorelaxation (Figure 1). The blocking process is fully dependent on the concentration of the tested extract. 

Once complete myorelaxation is obtained, the culture medium is washed to remove the Acmella oleracea extract. The results, which show the progressive return of the muscle contractions, prove the reversibility of the effect. The cells are in no way damaged by the extract. (Fig. 1) The study was then repeated, this time by applying a cream containing Acmella oleracea extract on top of a reconstructed skin (consisting of dermis and epidermis), so as to evaluate its capacity to maintain efficacy after topical application. 

The results (Fig. 2) confirm the stability of the active, which is just as effective once formulated. Its activity is confirmed as dose-dependent and reversible. It is interesting to observe that after 24 hours, some residual efficacy remains when a concentration of 3% Acmella oleracea extract is used, which could suggest a potentially interesting cumulative effect when used daily. 

Clinical studies - The in vivo smoothing efficacy of Acmella oleracea extract has been demonstrated on the fine lines and wrinkles that are present around the eye area, often known as ‘crow’s feet’ wrinkles. These are caused by our many facial expressions. 

Skin smoothing was assessed by topometric analysis using the precise technique of fringe projection. Fringe projection is a purely optical method used to assess the roughness of the skin without the need to apply silicone imprints that can influence results due to contact with the skin. Tests were carried on two panels of volunteers with twice-daily application for 28 days: one panel using a placebo formulation on half of the face and a formulation containing 2% of Acmella oleracea extract on the other half. A second panel using a placebo formulation on half of the face and a formulation containing 5% of Acmella oleracea extract on the other. 

For the first panel, skin roughness was quantified at several stages during the 28 days. The results show that the extract exerts both a powerful and immediate effect. We found that 75% of volunteers reacted immediately to the smoothing effect of Acmella oleracea extract, with a significant visible difference the day after the first application. (Fig. 3) 

The results of the second panel confirmed significant wrinkle reducing activity. With 5% Acmella oleracea extract, more than 83% of volunteers benefitted from a reduction in crow’s feet wrinkles. 

Image analysis, used on the crow’s feet area shows that wrinkle depth is reduced, the skin is smoothed and looks younger (Fig. 4). 

In summary, the substantiation tests prove that Acmella oleracea extract has a powerful and rapid effect on the signs of ageing. The skin is smoothed with a reduction of both fine lines and deeper wrinkles. The ingredient is safe and shows perfect reversibility. 





1 Ramsewak R. S. et al. (1999). Bioactive N-isobutylamides from the flower buds of Spilanthes acmella. Phytochemistry, 51 (6), 729-732. 

2 Ansari, A. H. et al. (1988). Analgesic study of N-isobutyl-4,5-decadienamide isolated from the flowers of Spilanthes acmella (Murr). Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 50 (2), 106. 

3 Yasuda I. et al. (1980). The geometric structure of spilanthol. Chemical Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 28 (7), 2251- 2253.

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