Maple trees are commonly associated with the syrup created from their sap, but researchers are now suggesting that a different part of the tree might be even more useful. You can find the full extent of their findings from the meeting of the American Chemical Society on August 20, 2018. But in short, the findings suggest that extracts from the maple leaves could inhibit the elasticity of skin, which could induce tightening of the skin similar to Botox without any dangerous injections.

It may improve skin elasticity

The focus of the research was on elastase, a protein in the skin that breaks down the elastic part of the skin over time. As your skin becomes less elastic, it loses the ability to pull back into place, much like an old rubber band that loses its ability to snap back. Maple leaf extract stops elastase from weakening the elasticity of your skin so that it can better resist the pull of gravity, rubbing, and other outside forces that exert influence on your skin and slowly cause wrinkles.

The study focused on glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs), a particular compound in the leaves. GCGs are phenolic compounds containing multiple galloyl groups. Galloyl groups are shown to reduce the influence of elastase but are even more effective when combined. Maple leaf extract has an especially high concentration of different galloyl compounds, making it a powerful and natural source of these compounds that may prevent wrinkling.

It may treat skin in multiple ways

This wasn’t the only work the team had put into maple leaf extract and its influence on the skin, however. Used in different tests, they also surmised that it could reduce dark patches or discoloration in the skin. It also exhibited what they concluded was anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it could reduce swelling and redness in the skin. As a result of these two things, maple leaf extract could fight wrinkles and reduce freckles and skin damage at the same time.

It is safer than previous treatments

One of the key points of interest in this is that maple leaf extract can reduce the stretchiness of skin, and unlike its competition, it is a relatively safe and completely natural alternative. The closest challenger in the field of anti-aging in this manner is botox. Botox relies on injecting dangerous and possibly lethal bacteria just beneath the surface, however, while maple extract would be applied directly to the skin, likely as an oil or in a compress of some kind.

This makes maple leaf extract the front-runner in fighting wrinkles for eco-friendly or green-minded users. It offers them a conscientious alternative, while any skin enthusiasts will appreciate that it doesn’t have the glaring and inherent risks that botox can. Maple allergies do exist, though allergies to maple pollen, extract, and syrup is all different because they involve different parts of the tree. Still, they are uncommon and vastly safer than the current alternative.

Source of inspiration

The idea for maple leaf extract as an anti-aging chemical came from observations of its use by Native Americans, the team claims. According to Navindra P. Seeram, Ph.D., ” Native Americans used leaves from red maple trees in their traditional system of medicine, so why should we ignore the leaves?” They immediately noted that unlike modern U.S. culture, which only utilized the sap of red maple, Native Americans had a variety of medicinal uses for the tree.

Upon comparing its local use and their own research, Hang Ma, Ph.D. noted: “We wanted to see whether leaf extracts from red maple trees could block the activity of elastase.” As previously noted, they’d observed the extract’s usefulness removing dark patches and redness, so they felt it was the next logical step. Whether the team had an inkling of its uses in anti-aging before noticing its use in Native American medicine or not, of course, is up to speculation.

The treatment caters to a different market

Many modern beauty treatments and their botanical products come from China, India, and what the U.S. would consider exotic source nations. The interesting thing about red maple and most of the maple plants discussed in the research is that they all exist primarily in the United States. This could make them more available in western markets and may influence just how quickly maple extract is added to cosmetic products.

For the time being the researchers have already sought a patent for Maplifa, which is a particular combination of maple sap, and extract from fall and summer leaves. Though the exact ratio of ingredients necessary for the best results may not be finalized yet, they’ve insisted their patent exists so they can market the formula through Verdure Sciences, which will raise awareness of their findings and show the extract’s effectiveness as either a cosmetic or dietary supplement.

Preliminary testing shows that maple leaf extract may not only reduce wrinkling, it may also remove dark spots and reduce inflammation. These are all anti-aging effects and may help to improve your skin’s health and long-term beauty. Maple leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, but the extract is only entering the cosmetic market now and may serve as a vastly safer alternative to Botox treatments while providing a nearly identical effect.

1. Maple Leaf Botox Could Prevent Wrinkles, Medical News Today,

2. Cosmetic applications of glucitol core containing gallotannins…, SlideHeaven,

3. A Maple Leaf to Prevent Wrinkles, Mercola,