The first signs of spring started in February with new shoots of bearberry and lingonberry and new buds on Labrador Tea shrubs. This past week, the first flowers blossomed! Heather flowers.
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) is native to Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands and has been introduced to other regions, including Atlantic North America and my yard...
Preparations of Calluna vulgaris have been used traditionally as anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory treatments for urinary tract disorders and for conditions associated with inflammation, including wounds and rheumatic conditions.
The phytochemical profile of heather flower extract is rich in compounds that have been found to have positive benefits for skin, including chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant; ursolic acid, which has anti-inflammatory action; procyanidins (condensed tannins), which have astringent properties; arbutin, which may reduce hyperpigmentation; and flavonols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflamatory action. The flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin are also important compounds found in heather that have been show to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. One study found that a heather extract inhibited the activity of the elastin-degrading enzyme, elastase, and it was suggested that this activity was due to its procyanadin content.
Dróżdż P, Sentkowska A, Pyrzyńska K. Biophenols and antioxidant activity in wild and cultivated heather. Natural Product Research. 2016: 31:10, 1181-1184, DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2016.1222389
Ghareeb DA, ElAhwany AMD, El-mallawany SM, Saif AA. In vitro screening for anti-acetylcholiesterase, anti-oxidant, anti-glucosidase, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect of three traditional medicinal plants. Biotechnology, Biotechnological Equipment. 2014;28(6):1155-1164. doi:10.1080/13102818.2014.969877.
Yang B and Perugini P. Natural skin care activity from the Arctic. Personal Care Magazine. Sept 6, 2012. https://www.personalcaremagazine.com/story/10231/natural-skin-care-activity-from-the-arctic.