Ashitaba is also known as Angelica keiskei, which means "tomorrow’s leaf." It’s a plant that belongs to the carrot family, and is native to Japan — more precisely, to the country’s Pacific coast. But while carrots promise a healthy glow and a long-lasting tan, while making skin more supple, ashitaba is known for other virtues.

What is ashitaba?

Ashitaba is a perennial plant with divided green leaves and white flowers. Its stems contain edible yellow sap.

It is primarily as a food — a superfood, even — that the plant became famous. In Japan, it’s consumed as a vegetable, but it is also often found in the form of tea, and used as an ingredient in certain "health" drinks.

Anti-aging ingredient

According to Japan’s tradition, Ashitaba is said to improve the health of those who consume it, while helping extend their lives by several years. Although these benefits have not been confirmed by scientific studies, the profusion of ashitaba-based foods and products now springing up worldwide testifies to a certain enthusiasm and interest for the plant. In addition, a study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications in 2019 identified DMC (4,4’-dimethoxychalcone) — a flavonoid found in ashitaba — as a natural compound with anti-aging properties.

It is precisely these virtues that seem to interest some sections of the beauty industry today. It is mainly in the form of oil that we find this plant, often combined with other natural ingredients, promising an elixir of youth.

Where to find it?

Ashitaba has recently appeared in the composition of some cosmetic products. Based in France, the cosmetics Japanese-inspired brand Bijin is one of the first to promote this ingredient, which can be found in its "Concentré Jeunesse Visage" [Youthful Face Concentrate] from its Secret d’Okinawa range. Here, it is used in the form of an infusion, in association with Gettō — another plant from Japan considered to have anti-aging properties. It promises to deeply nourish and preserve the skin while fighting against skin aging.

In a statement from the brand, Bijin explains that ashitaba is renowned for its anti-aging power, naturally reducing cellular decline by decreasing the formation of free radicals. The brand’s "Concentré Jeunesse Visage" has a 100% plant-based formula and is available for €49 per 50 ml via its e-store.