Margo Marrone, pharmacist, homeopath, and owner of the celebrity-favored boutique The Organic Pharmacy (Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Claudia Schiffer are clients), recently spoke to The Fashion Spot about how herbal remedies and homeopathy can make us look and feel our best this holiday season.
The Fashion Spot: Is there any validity to "detox" nutritional supplements?
Margo Marrone: Detox is one of the cornerstones of health. Our bodies are designed to detoxify automatically, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So in an ideal world, the toxins that our bodies produce and that we ingest and absorb through the environment are detoxified and eliminated before they accumulate – the perfect balance. The last 80 years has seen a massive industrialization and we are exposed to far more toxins than we used to be: pesticides and herbicides from food, household cleaners, furniture, cosmetics and toiletries, colorants, preservatives and flavorings in our food, candles, air fresheners in our homes and personal fragrances, pollutants in our water and air, and of course, stress, which produces its own toxins in the body.
If the amount of toxins exceeds the speed at which our bodies can eliminate them, then they accumulate in our bodies and some become stored in our fat cells, while others can cause damage to our cells. Overall, they put strain on the main detox organs: skin, lungs, kidneys, liver, and gut. This is when toxic symptoms manifest, such as dull skin, tiredness, bad breath, bloated stomach, mood swings, puffy eyes, and congested skin. Ten years ago, I noticed these symptoms in all the clients I saw, and created a detox complex that would help cleanse their systems.
When you do a detox initially, the level of toxins increases as they are released from fat cells. It is vital to mop these up quickly and I mixed some special ingredients to achieve this:
Psyllium husks – a gentle but thorough intestinal cleanser that relieves autotoxemia (self-poisoning) caused by bacteria, fungus and constipation.
Linseed – helps eliminate toxic waste in bowels, strengthens the blood, and reduces inflammation.
Green Barley – a perfect food that contains all the nutrients and amino acids required for the body in a highly digestible form. Cleanses heavy metals in the gut due to its chlorophyll content.
Clay – a highly absorbent binder that absorbs impurities and heavy metals, allowing them to be flushed out of the system.
Alfalfa – a potent detoxifier, tonic, and anti-inflammatory.
Liquorice – supports adrenal function as well as having diuretic and laxative properties. Also supports the liver, aids digestion, and helps repair gut damage.
L Glutamine – an amino acid that plays a vital role in repairing the lining and mucous membranes of the gut.
Aloe Vera – a super strong aloe known for its cleansing and repairing properties.
Ginger – a well-known anti-inflammatory that improves circulation, digestion, and cramps. It can also cleanse and repair the gut.
I noticed that after the detox, 50% of their symptoms had disappeared. They felt lighter, more energetic, slept better, their skin had improved, and they even lost weight. I eventually made it into capsules, as that is what my clients requested. These are now called Detox capsules. So depending on the formulation of the nutritional supplement, there is great validity to detox supplements.
tFS: What do you suggest people do to prepare for what you have just outlined?
MM: Planning a detox can be really fun. The best bit about doing a detox is that you’re concentrating on yourself completely. It’s a great occasion to spend time on yourself and get to know your body again, and break all the bad habits. Many people make the mistake of fasting for a weekend. All this does is fool your body into thinking it is starving and release fat cells. You have to remember that these fat cells are full of accumulated toxins that are suddenly released into the system causing even more problems. My approach is a minimum of ten days, no starving, but great eating: organic foods, freshly prepared, seasonal and local, smaller portions, no sugar, no alcohol (or at least reduced).
Contrary to popular belief, detox takes a lot of energy, so start on a Friday morning, plan nothing over the weekend, change your exercise routine to a more gentle one. You will spend a lot of time sleeping over the weekend and, of course, cooking. Spend time scrubbing your body from head to toe – it’s heaven. It’s a good idea to clean out the cupboards in advance, removing all the tempting sugar-filled items. By day ten, you will feel renewed.
tFS: Are there any homeopathic remedies that can help fight dry skin?
MM: Homeopathy is very effective at treating dry skin. The approach is to treat the skin topically with skin-healing herbs such as calendula and hypericum. I also like to add anti-inflammatory ingredients such as tamanu and chickweed and neem which help reduce itching and reduce inflammation. Internally, I recommend a lubricating oil to nourish the skin from the inside such as our Superantioxidant Oil, which also contains pomegranate oil and seabuckthorne – particularly good at keeping the skin lubricated.
tFS: Are there any homeopathic remedies that can help fight colds? sore throats?
MM: Homeopathy is briiliant at treating sore throats. The most common remedies I use are Merc sol or silica and calendula and propolis tincture as a throat spray (antiseptic and analgesic). For colds I never go wrong with a homeopathic mixture of Gelsemium, Aconite, Arsenicum and Eupatorium (one pill every hour) and Immune tonic, a mixture of Astragalus, Elderberry and Cats Claw which helps boost the body’s own immune system.
tFS: Are there any homeopathic remedies that we should all be taking on a daily basis?
MM: Generally speaking, no. Homeopathic remedies are not like supplements where they correct nutritional deficiencies, they should only be taken when needed or prescribed. There are, however, seasonal remedies such as immune tonic for boosting the immune system in the winter and sneezaway tincture suitable for seasonal allergic disorder that can be taken for several months. Other herbs such as Astragalus or Rhodiola can be taken on a daily basis for several months to boost stamina and vitality during stressful periods.
tFS: Are there any nutritional supplements that we should be taking on a daily basis?
MM: Everyone should take antioxidants and essential fatty acids every day. I also recommend super green algaes such as chlorella or spriulina daily. These provide protection, repair and optimum nutrition. For women and men over 40, I also recommend a connective tissue repair supplement which is excellent to keep joints and skin supple such as TOP Skin radiance capsules. I take Superantioxidants, Essential fatty acids and Phytonutrients every morning.
tFS: What beauty products do you consider universal must-haves for women? Men?
MM: Everyone should cleanse each night to remove pollution, dirt, and makeup. This helps keep the skin bright and blemish free. I also recommend an antioxidant infused treatment such as a serum, which can be used dialy to repair and protect. My favorite is Antioxidant Face Oil (my own botox in a bottle!), which helps repair and heal the skin.
tFS: How should we change our skincare routine now that the weather is cooling?
MM: In the winter, the skin is more prone to dehydration, it’s so important to use a cleanser that doesn’t dry the skin. Balm cleansers clean deeply, but also respect the skin’s barrier and prevent it from drying out. It’s also a good idea to switch to a richer moisturizer in the morning to protect the skin and slow down water loss. Of course keeping the skin nourished from the inside is really important too drink water and take essential fatty acids.
tFS: Lastly, I know you just launched with some new fragrances – what made you branch out?
MM: Fragrances are such an important part of our lives. We wear fragrance every day and that was one area that I personally could not find anything I could use and many of my clients felt the same. You have to remember that fragrances are inhaled into our lungs as well and they act directly on the brain so susceptible people can get headaches and mood swings. I consider fragrance, as well as our skin care and makeup, to be an extension of health – reducing our toxic load but at the same time not having to give up glamorous effective products to use. Ultimately, we all want beautiful products to use that add to our health and wellbeing.