Arnica's Active Agent Under the Microscope
Scientists may have discovered the specific compound in the daisy-like Arnica montana flower that prevents swelling and bruising, according to research reported at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in September. When scientists tested a commercially available arnica tincture on humans, they found that sesquiterpene lactones—long thought to be the plant's active agent—permeated the skin. What surprised the scientists: Transfer through the skin was not detected for 12 hours, although to prevent bruising, agents need to work quickly to stop bleeding. Therefore, undetectable levels of the active constants were crossing the skin, meaning they must be very potent, researchers concluded. However, arnica preparations are not currently standardized, which may explain why arnica has not worked for everyone. The researchers plan to continue testing the plant's active agents.
Supplements Prêt À Porter
Who needs to swallow pills when you can obtain your vitamins by simply getting dressed? At least that's the current thought in Japan, where clothing manufacturers are adding dietary supplements to their clothing lines. Last March amino acid manufacturer Ajinomoto teamed up with the athletic apparel company Mizuno Corp. to introduce tennis and golf apparel loaded with arginine to help regenerate skin. Fuji Spinning Co. also has jumped into the functional clothing game. The company says it found a way to put caffeine and seaweed into its fabrics so that it won't wash out until 50 washings. But, listen up: Wearing the enriched clothing should not function as an alternative to nutrition found in food, the company says.
Most people don't give much thought to the cotton stuffing that they have to pull out of a new vitamin jar to get to the vitamins. But one supplements manufacturer has given it a lot of thought. Chatsworth, Calif.-based Ayurceutics is packing its new line of supplements with certified organic cotton. "Cotton is one of the crops that is most intensely sprayed with pesticides. It just seems natural that pure herbal supplements should use certified organic cotton in the bottles," says Ken Seguine, the company's national sales director. "We'd like to challenge the entire supplement industry to take this small, easy step towards greater sustainability," he says. The company says it is already receiving consumer feedback thanking the company for taking the extra step.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 11/p. 32