Behind the Glitz and Glamour
Arnica montana is one of Hollywood’s favourite health cabinet weapons—and now it’s at your fingertips!
BY CORRINA MOSCA
Some of Hollywood’s health and beauty tricks—like bee- sting therapy and “vampire” facials—are admittedly strange. However, once in a while, La La Land manages to hit the nail on the head with its obsessions du jour.
One such case of this is Arnica montana, a perennial flowering herb often used in homeopathic remedies. In recent years, this substance has become a major point of discussion amongst celebrities, athletes, and plastic surgeons alike. With its plethora of health benefits, it’s not hard to see why.
WHAT IS ARNICA?
Arnica montana’s long stalks and bright yellow flowers are most commonly found in the hills and mountains of Europe, Siberia, and the northwestern United States. Since the 12th century, this plant has been studied for its healing properties, which include relief from pain, bruising, scarring, and stiffness of the muscles.
HOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS
Homeopathy is defined as treating illness with minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease. This system of natural health care has been used across the globe for over 200 years. Its name is derived from the Greek words for “similar suffering,” which refer to the practice’s principle of “like cures like.” Today, homeopathy is extremely popular in Europe—especially France. There, it is the leading alternative therapy, and is used by nearly 70 per cent of physicians. They know something our Canadian doctors don’t: this individualized practice actually helps to stimulate the immune system, teaching the body to heal itself. Talk about advanced medicine!
DOWN TO A SCIENCE
Sesquiterpene lactones, the main active compounds in Arnica montana, work to attack inflammatory processes at the source, stopping painful inflammation in its tracks. Because of this, Arnica has been found to provide relief to arthritis patients, as well as those experiencing muscle stiffness or general body pain.
What’s more, Arnica has been found to heal bruises—especially when applied topically. When the body incurs a bruise, the blood vessels closest to the skin’s outer layers burst, causing blood to collect at the surface. To heal, the blood vessels must relax, allowing the blood to be absorbed back into the body. Because Arnica causes blood vessels to dilate and increases the permeability of their walls, it speeds up this process, drastically decreasing healing time.
Due to these pain-relieving and bruise-reducing tendencies, Arnica has been hailed in the medical community—especially by homeopaths—as a post-surgery treatment.
Michael A. Smith, MD, the host of Healthy Talk on RadioMD, recommends Arnica for reducing the after-effects of plastic surgery procedures.
“Arnica can be used in conjunction with conventional medicines to decrease swelling, ease inflammation, reduce pain, and diminish wound irritation following plastic surgery,” says Dr. Smith. “When properly prepared, Arnica is safe to use with little to no side effects.”
As such, this remedy has become one of Hollywood’s health cabinet staples. Arnica has helped many of the stars to heal quickly from facial surgeries, including fillers, injections, laser treatments, and eye lifts.
Mark Rosenhek, founder of Toronto’s Markie Pharmacy, notes that Arnica is his store’s best-selling homeopathic product. “Arnica is a tried-and-true remedy for many of our clients—it is the most effective homeopathic product that we sell. I always tell customers that it’s worth giving it a try, as it has no side effects and many tremendous upsides,” he says. “We have proven its worth with customer feedback, especially when it comes to treating bruising, pain, and inflammation.”
Thanks to Arnica’s natural healing properties, many celebs use it in place of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve the aches and pains of everyday life.
“I think it’s amazing. I take it myself, give it to my kids and hand it out at the Crossfit gym I work out at,” says Wende Zomnir, the executive creative director of Urban Decay Cosmetics. “I use it after a tough workout to prevent muscle soreness, if myself or my kids have gotten bumped around and might be bruised, or if I’ve strained a muscle.”
Even Dr. Oz has discussed Arnica, toting it as one of his “ultimate all-natural pain solutions.”
It is important to note that when used at full strength, Arnica montana is potentially toxic. If large or potent amounts of this plant are consumed, it may cause skin irritation, gastroenteritis, miscarriages in pregnant women, increased blood pressure, heart damage, and even organ failure. However, homeopathic dilutions of this plant are deconcentrated, allowing the body to reap the benefits of this wonder ingredient—without potentially fatal side effects.
So, whether you’ve had a little nip and tuck, have arthritis, or are simply experiencing some post-workout pain, give a homeopathic product containing Arnica a try—this celebrity-approved product is sure to surprise you! VM