Ursolic acid is known by various other names, such as prunol, urson or malol. There are a number of other acids whose chemical compositions are similar and, hence, they also have similar cosmological as well as pharmacological issues. Such acids include moronic acid, betulinic acid and oleanic acid. Each of these acids is carboxylic acid, which means that among other organic acids, they are found in abundance. Moreover, all the above mentioned acids possess antiviral, antifungal as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
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The toxicity of ursolic acid is extremely low and is basically harmless when it comes in contact with our skin or applied topically to the skin. This particular attribute of ursolic acid makes is very helpful because it can be utilized in an assortment of products. In fact, it has been proven that ursolic acid is safe for both internal as well as external use.
Basically a chemical compound, ursolic acid is present in the waxes of apples. Ursolic acid was identified for the first time in the 1920s when it was discovered in fruit seeds and also in some herbs like thyme and rosemary.
In present times, we are aware that ursolic acid is found in several plants, herbs and fruits, which include numerous common foods that you eat daily. For instance, ursolic acid is found in apples, prunes, lavender, rosemary, basil, peppermint, thyme and cranberries besides many other such substances.
However, when people typically speak of ursolic acid, they actually obtain it from the peels of apples, which are known to enclose the largest amount of this acid in comparison to other foods which contain it. On the other hand, when ursolic acid is used in the form of a supplement, it is generally obtained from the extract of rosemary.
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In addition, ursolic acid can also be found in the form of an additive in an assortment of cosmetics.
In the initial days, people were of the belief that ursolic acid did not possess any therapeutic properties. In spite of this belief, people frequently used ursolic acid in traditional medicine. For the first time, ursolic acid was used in pharmacology was to help in the production of lotions and oils. However, it was never used as an active ingredient in these substances. In due course, after more studies, people discovered the antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of ursolic acid.
Ursolic acid has various applications in cosmetics. For instance, it is widely used for treating as well as preventing irritation of the scalp and also to promote hair growth. In addition, use of ursolic acid may also help to prevent or reduce dandruff. In fact, ursolic acid can enhance blood circulation and this is the reason why it is particularly used for treating problems associated with the scalp.
In the cosmetic industry, ursolic acid is also used as an active ingredient in anti-aging products. Application of products containing ursolic acid helps to create a barrier that keeps away oil from the skin. It works in the same way as peel of fruits and bark of trees repel water and other substances that may be harmful for the plant. In fact, the barrier created by ursolic acid helps the skin to retain moisture, thereby aiding in improving the elasticity of the skin by reinstating collagen. When you apply ursolic acid to the skin, it helps to create additional moisture, thereby making the skin further moisturized and making it look and feel more youthful.
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The anti-inflammatory qualities of ursolic acid make it an important therapeutic tool. This acid can be used both internally as well as externally to lessen inflammation. For instance, the anti-inflammatory properties of this acid make it extremely valuable in developing topical treatments, especially for people enduring burn injuries. The antifungal and antimicrobial qualities of ursolic acids also make it an important therapeutic tool to treat bacterial as well as fungal infections, for instance urinary tract infections and diarrhea. In addition, studies have shown that ursolic acid can help in putting a halt to carcinogenic cell growth. This is one reason why doctors use this acid for treating tumours. In fact, ursolic acid has been found to be more effectual in stopping growth of cancer cells compared to retinoic acid, which is widely used in the form of an anti-cancer agent.
Contrary to the belief of the people earlier that ursolic acid does not possess any therapeutic properties, it offers us several health benefits. Over the years, scientists have been putting ursolic acid under examination to look into several anticipated effects of this acid, by using animal models or cell lines.
It has been found that ursolic acid as well as a number of its derivatives has the potential to combat cancer, as it can hold back the growth of new blood vessels, which are required by some forms of cancer to grow as well as spread. In addition, ursolic acid has also shown that it has the ability to stop the growth of carcinogenic cells by preventing cell division. There are a number of other health benefits of ursolic acid, for instance it makes the leukemia cells weaker.
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As discussed earlier, ursolic acid possesses antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are not only useful for preventing bacterial as well as fungal growths in formulas and also on the skin, but is also helps in healing wounds too.
Moreover, it is believed that ursolic acid helps to improve the overall health of our skin as well as hair by creating barriers on the surface of the skin and scalp, in the same manner as the wax found on plants and fruits protect them from harm. Ursolic acid is employed for treating "photoaged skin" as it has the ability to hold back the appearance of age spots and wrinkles by re-establishing collagen bundle structures of the skin and improving the skin's elasticity. In the skin, ursolic acid also works to slow down the activities of elastase enzyme and, in this way, it thwarts this enzyme from assaulting the structural proteins present in the skin.
It is interesting to note that ursolic acid may also be helpful in treating diabetes as it works through several mechanisms. What is of special interest is that ursolic acid possibly helps to augment the actions of insulin on sugar uptake. This acid may also be beneficial for our cardiovascular health. Although the scientists have much hope on ursolic acid's ability in this matter, the subject has not been studied properly yet. Moreover, the results of the initial studies on this subject are somewhat conflicting. Some studies conducted on mice have shown promise for ursolic acid in preventing muscle wasting and also promoting the skeletal muscle growth. Moreover, ursolic acid may also have an effect on the way our body amasses fat, thereby help in putting off obesity.
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Ever since scientists discovered the various therapeutic properties of ursolic acid, the bodybuilding community has shown great interest in them and many have been using its supplements. Aside from controlling the sugar levels in the blood stream, it has been found that ursolic acid also has potent anabolic effects. It has been found that ursolic acid acts in somewhat the same manner as insulin does. Ursolic acid also helps to reduce blood sugar circulation and, at the same time, works to encourage muscle growth. Findings of one particular study showed a boost in the sum of Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a potent anabolic substance produced by the skeletal muscle and fuelled by human growth hormone.
Initial studies have shown that ursolic acid has the potential in helping weight control. Studies undertaken on mice that were given high fat diet along with ursolic acid supplement showed that the animals that consumed more ursolic acid actually gained less weight. According to the researchers, the less weight gain in mice that ate more ursolic acid supplement was primarily due to less accumulation of fat in their body. Findings of this study reveal that ursolic acid has enough potential to be an effective fat burner.
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