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J Nat Prod. 2009 Apr;72(4):769-71. doi: 10.1021/np800541k.

In vitro skin diffusion study of pure forskolin versus a forskolin-containing Plectranthus barbatus root extract.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.


An in vitro skin diffusion study of pure forskolin (1) versus a 1-containing Plectranthus barbatus root extract (P. barbatus extract) in hairless guinea pig skin and human skin in a flow-through diffusion cell system was conducted and is being reported for the first time. Both topical agents were formulated in a solution of 70% ethanol and 30% propylene glycol (v/v). The results showed that forskolin can be delivered through the stratum corneum and that the flux of this compound was enhanced when 1 was delivered as a constituent of the P. barbatus extract as compared to an equivalent amount in pure form. These results suggest that the P. barbatus extract used contains permeation enhancement activity from other compound(s) contained in the crude root extract. It is possible that P. barbatus root extract may be used as an economical source of 1 to perform topical chemical manipulation of pigmentation in high-risk populations.

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