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  Arbutin: Whitens the skin
OenantheJavanica: Anti-Adipogenic and Anti-Cellulite Effect for Slimming

Arbutin Structure

Arbutin is a glycoside; a glycosylated hydroquinone extracted from the bearberry plant in the genus Arctostaphylos. It inhibits tyrosinase and thus prevents the formation of melanin. Arbutin is therefore used as a skin-lightening agent. Arbutin is found in wheat, and is concentrated in pear skins. It is also found in Bergeniacrassifolia.


Pure arbutin can be prepared synthetically from the reaction of acetobromoglucose and hydroquinone in the presence of alkali.

Bearberry, which contains arbutin, is a traditional treatment for urinary tract infections.


Bearberry extract is used in skin lightening treatments designed for long term and regular use. An active agent in brands of skin lightening preparations, it is more expensive than traditional skin lightening ingredients like hydroquinone, which is now banned in many countries. In vitro studies of human melanocytes exposed to arbutin at concentrations below 300μg/mL reported decreased tyrosinase activity and melanin content with little evidence of cytotoxicity

Oenanthe javanica, commonly called "water dropwart," is an emergent plant with slender roots. The ratio of surface area to volume is high. These characteristics make it an ideal subject for investigation. The nitrogen pathway determines the advantage that plants that grow year round have over plants that are dormant in the winter - they maintain transpiration and denitrification. More oxygen is transposed to roots, providing aerobic microsites for bacteria, when plants remain in an actively growing state. Many factors, some of which are the amount of mature foliage and the amount of sunlight, can also affect oxygen transport capacity. Because Oenanthe javanica grows throughout the winter, it maintains the nitrogen pathway, transpiration, and bacterial activity year round.

Other characteristics needed for plants grown in plant/rock filters are rapid year-round growth rate, ability to survive freezing temperatures, and ability to grow in secondary effluent. In a plant/rock filter, plants and rocks contribute to the synergistic functioning of the system; the rock surfaces and plant roots provide excellent mediums for the filtration and adsorption of solids, as well as for the growth of bacteria. Plants that form dense masses of roots in response to wastewater as a nutrient source are preferable to plants that do not. Many plant species exhibit greatly expanded root systems when forced to grow hydroponically. Prolific plants are the most useful for pollution abatement, but the most prolific plants are strictly aquatic or are made dormant by winter temperatures. Since O. javanica had been previously observed by the author as an evergreen with an extensive root system, this study was designed to test this plant for suitability in plant/rock filters during winter.


To validate the emergent plant, Oenanthe javanica, for cold weather use in plant/rock filters, a field study was conducted from December 1993 through March 1994 in Adams County, Mississippi. The study site climate is considered mild, although temperatures do occasionally drop below freezing. The chance of frost after December 2 and before April 7 is 90 percent. The previous five years, ending in 1993, had an average of 29 freezing days each winter.

The plant/rock filter was situated on a 5-acre single-family home site. The family consisted of two adults and three children, three, 10, and 12 years of age. Mississippi recommendations for system size are based on U.S. EPA guidelines and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) information with respect to flow rate, hydraulic retention time, and effluent characteristics. Effluent was routed from an existing septic tank to the filter. Because the septic tank does provide minimal treatment in the form of settling, it is considered a method of treatment; the term secondary does not refer to quality as defined by U.S. EPA, but to the number of different types of treatment.
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