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TiL, ou le Tilleul recréé dans toute sa force végétale

TiL, or the Linden 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 founding President 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 depending on the organs?

There are different molecules in the parts of linden, polyphenols, flavonoids, polysaccharides . Particularly we find a very high content of polysaccharides, flavonoids with anti-oxidant properties, and which also stimulate blood circulation , which is very important so that the skin is as oxygenated as possible and resists the various stresses of the day. We will seek out these compounds using technological processes, such as cryo-extraction to preserve the native compounds of the plant.

Each part of the tree has a composition  different biochemical: For example in the bud, we find many more polysaccharides and compounds which protect the bud, because the bud is rebirth , growth which is safeguarded throughout the winter, and in spring enzymatic processes and hormonal are triggered following the right conditions, allowing the plant to develop, and the branches to grow and form leaves.

The leaves are rich in chlorophyll , they are the ones that receive light and transmit  light energy to transform it into chemical and biochemical energy and allow the plant to synthesize very important molecules. The branches are fibrous and woody and are there to support the habit. 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... which we find in the living world. The branches have fewer lipids than the leaves or buds which are reserve molecules.

How were these parts selected?
What does the combination of different parts of lime provide?

Til's innovative approach is to look for molecules in different parts of the linden tree, which makes it possible to recreate the world of the linden tree, to have molecules that are at the same time anti-inflammatory, protective, anti-oxidant and therefore have a synergistic effect between all these molecules, so that the skin is sublimated, protected, preserved, the complexion more luminous (because protected from free radicals), the skin more elastic and toned, fewer wrinkles.

How were these parts selected and extracted?

The approach when discussing with the two sisters, founders of TiL was to look at the activity that we could target and therefore  the composition  of each part of the plant, by biochemical analysis . Interesting molecules have been identified, such as tiliroside, a specific molecule from linden. Plant extraction was carried out by preserving the native molecules ( with gentle extraction, “green chemistry” ) to analyze them, fractionate them and concentrate them into active molecules. The mixture of these active compounds results in a particularly interesting formulation for preserving the skin.

How can we preserve the plant during extraction?

Greentech has patented cryo extraction technology . In cells there are intracellular compartments, in which there are particular molecules. When we extract, everything is mixed and there are bonds 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 manner and therefore degraded ( e.g. the apple which, when cut in two, turns black: polyphenols oxidize). Solution: freeze the harvest of the different organs in the field at -25/28° to stop the activity of the enzymes (are active at a temperature of 37° in humans, around 30 in plants), they are completely inhibited and therefore we stop the degradation of molecules by enzymes.

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

What is the benefit of sourcing linden from a family property in the countryside?

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

Why did you use fresh and not dry raw material?

Cryo-extraction preserves native molecules . Scientific publications  on the linden tree showed that these molecules of the linden tree had a strong biological activity, and there with fresh we obtain the substantial marrow of all the parts, naturally active, without any transformation. It is therefore very important to start with fresh material and then 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 different parts, seeking the best active molecules which present interesting biological properties in cosmetics, from their own biological material developed naturally in the family property, outside cultivation and outside physiological forcing, it is rare .  Brands that use a lot of plants use crops…

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 they were indeed active. Specific tests have been defined to measure the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity : We wanted to demonstrate after extraction, purification and concentration of the linden tree fractions,  their effectiveness by carrying out in-tubo biochemical tests, with enzymes which are markers of the reaction. Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory tests were carried out, where the inhibitory activity of inflammation and oxidation was measured with or without Tiliactiv4®.

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

Til's entire approach is particularly interesting for Greentech because it is eco-responsible, with traced sourcing, using natural raw materials. Green has been in GT's genes since its creation in 1992: we start from natural biological resources and we increasingly develop green processes to preserve the biological material and the active ingredients that come from it, and the environment. : cryo extraction, natural solvents produced by fermentation, fractionation and concentration by natural pressure and temperature processes using solvents which have properties...

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