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An antioxidant found in herbs such as rosemary may help protect against UV damage when taken orally, according to Spanish scientists.

Rosmarinic acid showed protective effects when tested on mice due to its free radical scavenging potential and its ability to stimulate melanin synthesis, according to the research published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

According to the scientists from the University of Murcia, who were working in collaboration with Spanish botanical extracts company NutraFur, their in vitro tests confirmed the conclusions of previous studies regarding rosmarinic acid’s strong antioxidant potential.

The team then went on to investigate the effect of the antioxidant on tyrosinase activity in mice.

The researchers conclude that concentrated rosmarinic acid extracts from rosemary leaves could protect against UV-induced oxidative stress when used in oral preparations and supplements.

More experiments are currently underway to investigate the specific antimutagenic activities of such extracts and their behavior in mammalian tissues after oral administration, according to the scientists.

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