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Fire Tulip, African tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata, it goes by many names, but this ingredient has popped up in a few cosmetic products. One reason for that is the numerous phenols, polyphenols, and flavenoid, as well as caffeic acid it contains.
Traditional Use of Fire Tulip
This native African plant’s flowers are considered an anti-inflammatory and diuretic in folk medicine, and the leaves are often used for urethra inflammation, kidney disease, and as an antidote against animal poison (Semina: Ciências Agrárias). The bark itself has many usages, including as a treatment for skin disease.
The properties vary depending on which part of the plant the ingredients come from, but each part has its own unique uses.
Healing, Antimicrobial, Antioxidants in Fire Tulip
In tests to discover whether this plant truly has wound-healing compounds, researchers found that in addition to reducing inflammation and demonstrating antimicrobial activity, the plant works as an antioxidant (Phytotherapy Research).
In a study demonstrating it’s healing potential, mice’s wounds were treated with Spathodea companulata bark extract, and the ingredient was found to have “substantital healing potential comparable to Cicatrin” (African Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine).
Many tests have focused on the plant’s antimicrobial properties, finding that it had a broad spectrum — albeit weak at the concentration used — antimicrobial activity against four kinds of bacteria and yeast (African Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine).
Extraction methods are crucial to the amount of antioxidants and antibacterial capabilities, depending on whether menthol or ethanol was used (World Applied Sciences Journal).
Spathodea campanulata has also been shown to have potential as a sunscreen agent. By absorbing UV rays in a strong-to-moderate range (International Journal of Green Pharmacy). Scientists hope to one day use it in sunscreens.
Fire tulip, also known as Spathodea campanulata, has been found to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound-healing capabilities. How effectively it works depends both on method of extraction and the part of the plant used. While the wound-healing studies have been more comparative, it would be interesting to see how fire tulip stacks up as an antioxidant against more commonly used ingredients.
If you’re interested in trying something with fire tulip, consider trying…
Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Regenerator Moisturizing Gel-Cream ($68, peterthomasroth.com) with dragon’s blood, niacinamide pc, and fire tulip, this is a cocktail of ingredients that benefit skin.