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Principal indication: undereye puffiness
Bibliographical summary
  • Molecule more than 92% pure extracted from Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus)

Ruscogenin is a steroidal glycoside extracted from ruscus roots. This molecule is not naturally present in the human body. Butcher's Broom, also called thorny ruscus, is a perennial plant whose fruit is a scarlet berry, which reminds one of the holly berry. Butcher's broom is very common in Europe.

Tradition ascribes various properties to its rhizome. Several clinical observations reveal the vasculoprotective and phlebotonic properties of butcher's broom-based preparations. Which makes it a very interesting active for undereye puffiness.




The eye contour is a fragile area. It is covered by skin five times finer than the rest of the body and contains fewer support fibres. With age, 15,000 blinks a day end up weakening these fibres and the skin sags. Therefore, the blood and lymph vessels, which feed the cells in this area, work more slowly. Exchanges between the cells have trouble. This induces water retention and the eyelids swell and become puffy.

Ruscogenin activates the microcirculation and protects cutaneous integrity with various mechanisms.

Ruscogenin reduces cell permeability through its anti-elastase activity [1]. Elastase is an enzyme that degrades elastin, the main component of the elastic fibres. Collagen and elastin are the main components of the extracellular matrix. The anti-elastase activity of ruscogenin helps to prevent the degradation of the perivascular components and thus reduce cell permeability [2].

Ruscogenin also has vasoconstrictive properties via adrenergic mechanisms. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in vivo, in topical application at 1.6% [3]. The mechanism has not yet been properly established. Certain studies show that it is an alpha-adrenergic blockade, others an activation of the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors stimulating the release of noradrenaline [4, 5]. Finally, the vasoconstrictive effect may be mediated by calcium and the alpha-1 adrenergic receptors [4].

These vasoconstrictive and permeability reduction properties enable ruscogenin to activate the microcirculation.

By stimulating blood circulation in the capillaries, ruscogenin helps to decongest the undereye puffiness caused by slow circulation.

These elements demonstrate the interest of using ruscogenin to treat undereye puffiness.




The ruscogenins are saponins extracted from butcher's broom. Therefore, they have class properties that make them similar to escin, glycyrrhizin (liquorice), asiaticosides, ginsenosides (ginseng)… Here too, it is necessary to differentiate the properties from the aglycone parts and the osidic structure.

Saponosides are aphrogenic, membrane-permeabilizing and denaturant for certain biological structures. They are soluble in water. Genins are much more apolar and have marked pharmacological activities in that they bind to a great many receptors or active sites.

The α-adrenergic effects are demonstrated and make the product immediately interesting in increasing peripheral vasoconstriction. An indirect noradrenaline-releasing activity reinforces the effects and makes a differential /α stimulation strategy pertinent in increasing the cAMP in the adipocyte and, consequently, lipolysis.
Vascular protection effects (permeability) have been proven and complete the phlebotonic profile via a vasculoprotective effect.

In vivo, the molecule's profile is close to that of escin, but the ruscogenins may be even more clearly "established" in their sympathomimetic profile (but we lack comparative studies).

The indications that result from their properties are suitable for peripheral circulation disorders, wherever a venous tonicity effect is required, but also for lipoaccumulation. The action on capillary leaks (petechia and oedema) is demonstrated. However, this is often combined with extracts with polyphenols (catechins) and/or coumarinics (sweet clover) to provide better cover for the prevention of endothelial and connective degenerescence, and reinforce the anti-oedematous activity. The effect on cellulite is confirmed by numerous products, particularly in combination with caffeine.

The combination with vitamin C is also pertinent for circulation disorders and ageing in rosacea-prone skin.

The diversity of the extracts used and the combination with other actives make it difficult to compare effective doses, however, in comparison with the medicinal specialities on the market with titrated extracts with approximately 22% heterosides. We can consider that the recommended dose should be between 0.5 and 1% heterosides.

The vasoconstrictive effects of these molecules are practically immediate. The protective effects should be sought in the longer term: a few weeks. The formulas must take account of the genin or osidic forms.




The body of publications and scientific studies, customary usages of this active and our expert's opinion concur in using Ruscogenin pure Active at the dose of 6.5 mg per bottle.



[1] Anti-elastase and anti-hyaluronidase activities of saponins and sapogenins from Hedera helix, Aesculus hippocastanum, and Ruscus aculeatus: factors contributing to their efficacy in the treatment of venous insufficiency. Facino RM et al. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 328(10):720-724. 1995.
[2] Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options. Mc Kay D. Altern Med Rev. 6(2):126-40. 2001.
[3] Venous constriction by local administration of ruscus extract. Berg D. Fortschr Med. 108(24):473-6. 1990.
[4] Monograph Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Alternative Medicine Review Volume 6, Number 6. 2001.
[5] Pharmacological assessment of adrenergic receptor in human varicose veins. Miller VM et al. Int. Angiol. 19:176-183. 2000.

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