til, or the lime tree recreated in all its vegetal strength

In this second episode, we interview Jean-Yves Berthon, founder and director of the Greentech Group, the originator of TiL’s exclusive asset.

At the heart of TiL and its cosmetic range, an exclusive active ingredient, Tiliactiv4®, combining extracts of fresh flowers, leaves, twigs and buds, harvested in the family estate in Dordogne. Three years of R&D to develop it, conducted with Greentech, the French leader in plant biotechnology. Its President Jean-Yves Berthon highlights the innovation of this approach.

You are the President and founder of the Greentech Group

Greentech is 30 years old, and the company produces natural ingredients from different sources, particularly from plants.

These are high-tech ingredients, where we seek out the quintessence of the plant by targeting very strong bio-chemical activities that will have an effect on the skin, from molecules that have been identified, extracted and purified from plants.

What motivated you to put Greentech’s expertise and technology at the service of TiL?

First of all, because we knew the creator of TiL, with whom we had already worked for several years, so we trusted her.

Secondly, it allowed us to have plant material traced, taken at the optimal time, at the right physiological stage to express the highest concentration of active ingredients that we are looking for and that we extract.

How is TiL’s approach innovative and brings something new to the market?

TiL is innovative because we start with a population of linden trees in a family property in the South of France, very old, very well developed and well established on the land and we have access to different parts of the linden tree, flowers, leaves, buds, branches … there are not only different organs, but also different physiological stages, which allows us to have a different bio-chemical composition for each. We therefore recreate the universe of the lime tree by extracting and purifying compounds from different parts of the plant at different physiological stages.

What are the molecules of interest in Linden? Are there differences according to the organs?

There are different molecules in the parts of linden, polyphenols, flavonoids, polysaccharides. In particular, there is a very high content of polysaccharides, flavonoids with anti-oxidant properties, which also stimulate blood circulation, which is very important for the skin to be as oxygenated as possible and to resist the different stresses of the day. 

We use technological processes such as cryo-extraction to preserve the plant’s native compounds.

Each part of the tree has a different bio chemical composition:

For example, in the bud, there are many more polysaccharides and compounds that protect the bud, because the bud is the rebirth, the growth that is safeguarded throughout the winter, and in the spring enzymatic and hormonal processes are triggered due to the right conditions, allowing the plant to develop, and the branches to grow and form the leaves.

The leaves are rich in chlorophyll, they receive the light and transmit the light energy to transform it into chemical and bio chemical energy and allow the plant to synthesize very important molecules.

The branches are fibrous and woody and are there to support the port.

There are therefore very different compounds depending on the parts of the plant, specific to the organ and the physiological state of the organ, with large common families, proteins, polysaccharides, lipids … found in the living world. The branches have less lipids than the leaves or the buds which are molecules of reserve

How were these parts selected? What does the association of the different parts of the linden tree bring?

Til’s innovative approach is to have gone looking for molecules in different parts of the linden tree, which makes it possible to recreate the universe of the linden tree, to have molecules that are at once anti-inflammatory, protective, and anti-oxidant, and thus to have a synergistic effect between all these molecules, so that the skin is sublimated, protected, and preserved, the complexion is brighter (because it’s protected from free radicals), and the skin is more elastic and toned, and wrinkles are reduced.

How were these parts selected and extracted?

In discussions with TiL’s founders, we looked at the activity that we could target and therefore the composition of each part of the plant, through bio-chemical analysis. Interesting molecules were identified, such as tiliroside, a molecule specific to linden. The plant extraction was carried out by preserving the native molecules (with soft extraction, “green chemistry”) to analyze them, fractionate them and concentrate them into active molecules. 

The mixture of these active compounds makes it possible to obtain a particularly interesting formulation for the preservation of the skin.

How can we preserve the plant during the extraction process?

Greentech has patented the cryo-extraction technology.

In the cells there are intra cellular compartments, in which there are particular molecules. When we extract, everything is mixed and there are links that are created (e.g. proteins and polyphenols) which can cause the disappearance of these compounds, molecules like polyphenols (anti-oxidants) can be oxidized in an uncontrolled way and thus degraded (e.g. apple which, cut in 2, turns black: polyphenols oxidize)

The solution ? freeze the harvest of the different organs in the field at -25/28° to stop the activity of the enzymes (are active at the temperature of 37° in humans, around 30 in plants), we totally inhibit them and therefore we stop the degradation of molecules by the enzymes.

We freeze the fresh raw materials, just after the harvest, the degradation is blocked, and then we carry out the extraction by great cold with liquid nitrogen, at -196°. No enzyme works anymore, we extract the juice of each organ with all its native molecules, without any degradation or denaturation (that’s why the cryo extract is not brown but remains green) and that’s why the active ingredient keeps all its biological activity and we find the one of the plant, all its structural and molecular integrity is preserved.

What is the advantage of sourcing linden trees from a family property in the middle of nature?

First of all, it is its location: the sourcing is traced, characterized, it is not wild harvesting, it is not cultivation but it is a totally natural environment, the linden tree blossoms in the park in a natural way, so there is a strength of the plant that has resisted and faced all seasons, the linden trees have adapted to winters and droughts. We find all this strength of the plant in the bio-chemical profile of the different parts and in the extracts concentrated in active molecules that we then find in the product formulas

Why did you use fresh raw material and not dry?

Cryo-extraction preserves the native molecules. Scientific publications on linden have shown that these molecules of linden have a strong biological activity, and there with fresh material we obtain the substance of all the parts, naturally active, without any transformation. It is therefore very important to start with fresh material and then to apply cryo-extraction

Is it common for a brand to develop its own active ingredient from its own plants?

TiL’s approach is original and innovative: starting from the linden tree and its various parts, and seeking the best active molecules with interesting biological properties for cosmetics, from their own biological material developed naturally on the family property, without cultivation or physiological forcing, which is rare.  The brands that use a lot of plants use cultures…

What scientific tests have proven the activity of Tiliactiv4®?

The activities of the molecular families were described, but it was then necessary to show that it was indeed active. Specific tests were defined to measure the anti oxidant and anti inflammatory activity:

After extraction, purification and concentration of linden fractions, we wanted to demonstrate their effectiveness by carrying out bio-chemical tests in tubo, with enzymes which are markers of the reaction. Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory tests were carried out, where we measured the inhibiting activity of inflammation and oxidation with or without Tiliactiv4®.

Tiliactiv4® is natural, organic, vegan, clean… Eco responsible, what does it mean to you?

Til’s approach is particularly interesting for Greentech because it is eco responsible, with a traced sourcing, from natural raw materials. Green is in the genes of GT since its creation in 1992: we start from natural biological resources and we develop more and more green processes to preserve the biological material and the active ingredient that comes from it, and the environment: cryo-extraction, natural solvents produced by fermentation, fractionation and concentration by natural processes of pressure and temperature using solvents that have properties …!

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