Milkweed May Hold Natural Sunscreen Potentialby Katie Bird
Investigations into the commercial applications of Asclepias syriaca, native to much of North America, have always focused on the potential of the plant’s silky floss as stuffing, but now Rogers E. Harry-O-Kuru believes it might find its place in the cosmetics industry.
Using a process that has been patented by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Harry-O-Kuru modified the seed oil to a form that protects against UV radiation. Laboratory tests suggest that the modified oil can protect against a wide spectrum of UV rays and the researcher claims that the protection profile can also be modified.
Furthermore, because the oil and the additive used to modify it are both natural the product is biodegradable; so when the material eventually washes off the body it will be broken down by micro-organisms, he explained. Harry-O-Kuru also notes that the oil is unlikely to be toxic when applied to the skin as such a small amount is needed to have a protective effect. In addition to its UV protecting potential, the oil may also find uses as a moisturizing base for skin and hair care products.