This French word fills every woman’s heart with great dread. It describes a distressing cosmetic defect. The principal areas of involvement are the thighs and buttocks, but also, to a lesser extent, on the lower part of the abdomen, the nape of the neck, and the upper parts of the arms, of women.
In those areas there are three fatty layers with two levels of connective tissue between them. The structure of female and male subcutaneous tissue differs fundamentally.
The uppermost subcutaneous tissue in men is thin. It has diagonal criss-crossing of connective tissue walls. Also, the structure between the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue is thicker than it is in women. By contrast, women’s subcutaneous tissue of their thighs and necks has large, upright (standing) fat-cell chambers, which are separated by arching walls anchored to the connective tissue of the skin above. The difference can be seen when pinching the skin and the subcutaneous tissue of the thighs of men and women. On many women one sees the “mattress phenomenon” (with pitting, bulging, i.e. mattress-like undulations), whereas on most men the skin will only fold or furrow. As women age, the thinning of the connective tissue structures furthers the development of cellulite and contributes to the granular feel, with a tightness and heaviness that accompany it. The “mattress phenomenon” in men is very rare and highly suggestive of an androgen deficiency.
Varicose veins are often found in conjunction with cellulite, and both conditions share a common cause: a loss of integrity in supporting connective tissue.
Risk increases with:
- – Obesity
- – Age: cellulite is very common after the menopause
- – Sedentary lifestyle
- – Maintain a slim subcutaneous fat layer by:
- – Maintaining normal body weight throughout life
- – Regular exercise
- – At least three months of continuous treatment is required before improvement in the skin’s appearance is noted.
A health-promoting diet, along with regular exercise, will normalize weight and reduce stress on connective tissue structures by reducing the size of fat cells. Consume a nutrient-dense diet rich in whole, unprocessed, preferably organic, foods, especially plant foods (fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and other legumes) and cold-water fish, and low in animal products, refined carbohydrates and fats.
Weight reduction should be gradual, especially in women over the age of forty years. A rapid loss of weight in individuals whose skin and connective tissues are already undergoing changes from ageing will often make cellulite more apparent.
A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement daily, providing all the known vitamins and minerals serves as a foundation upon which to build an individualized health-promotion programme. Any good multiple should include 400 mg of vitamin B12, and 50-100 mg of vitamin B6. (Folic acid supplementation should always be accompanied by vitamin B12 supplementation to prevent folic acid from masking a vitamin B12 deficiency. Moreover, vitamin B12 is best absorbed in sub-lingual form.)
Slim women and female athletes have hardly ever any cellulite. Lymphatic massage, skin brushing, and exercise should, therefore, be among the first choices of treatment.
Self-massage with String Glove, Loofah, and Herb Essences (the direction of any massage should always be toward the heart):
Combination for external use in such massage:
- – Fennel oil 1 ml
- – Almond oil 47 ml
- – Juniper oil 1 ml
- – Cypress essence 0,5 ml
- – Lemon essence 0,5 ml
Gentle massage of the affected area twice daily: small area 5 drops, large area 10 drops .
Exercise: 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise a minimum of 5 days per week.
There are many botanical cosmetic formulas on the market, most of which, in several variations, have undergone long-term double-blind trials that have demonstrated them to be no more effective than placebo .
The symptomatology of Dichapetalum was established by G Maring in an extended proving on a group of men and women, all medical practitioners, using the double-blind method. The following potencies were used: 3D, 4D, 6D, 15D, 30D, and placebo. Several of the female probands (provers) produced cellulite of the neck .
Personally, I have found this remedy to be effective in such cases, but only when used in the lower potencies.
Aescin is extracted from Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut). In the treatment of cellulite, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling qualities, and it decreases capillary permeability by reducing the number and size of the tiny pores of the capillary walls .
Dosage: 10-20 mg of aescin three times daily.
An extract of Hydrocotyle asiatica (a/k/a Centella asiatica, the South African or Indian Pennywort) containing 70% triterpenic acids has demonstrated impressive clinical results in several studies in approximately 80% of patients, when taken orally in the treatment of cellulite.
Dosage: 30 mg of triterpenes three times daily.
A number of experimental studies have shown that it has a normalizing action on connective tissue metabolism, by stimulating the manufacture of important structural components of connective tissue known as glycosaminoglycan (GAG), without promoting excessive collagen synthesis or cell growth .
GAGs are the major components of the ground substance in which collagen (the main protein of connective tissue and bone) fibres are embedded.
Drug-herb interaction cautions
Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) plus aspirin or anti-coagulants: it has been speculated that horse chestnut should not be taken with aspirin or anti-coagulants because the anti-thrombin activity of its hydroxycoumarin component, aesculin, might cause increased bleeding time.
Cola vera extract (14% caffeine): Cola is a rich source of caffeine and related compounds which potentiate fat breakdown. Topical application is preferable since effects are primarily local (use an ointment containing 0,5-1,5% Cola vera extract).
Fucus vesiculosum (bladderwrack): a seaweed with soothing, softening, softening and toning effects that has been used in the treatment of obesity since the 17th century, bladderwrackï¿½s high iodine content is thought to stimulate thyroid function (use an ointment containing 0,25-0,75% Fucus vesiculosus).
1. Thomas Bartrum. Bartrum’s Encyclopaedia of Herbal Medicine, London: Robinson Publishing Ltd, 1998, p 105.
2. F Nuernberger & F Schroeter. Behandlungsergebnisse bei der sogenennten Zellulitis mit Verteilerenzymen im Doppelblindversuch, Zeitschrift Hautkrankeiten, 1973, 48: 1009-1017.
3. G Maring. Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung, 1960, 24:127.
4. P Manca & E Passarelli. Aspetti farmacologici dellescina, principio attivo dellaesculusd hyppocastanum, Clin Terap, 1965, 297-328; and F Aichinger, G Giss & G Vogel. Neue Befunde zur Pharmakodynamik von Bioflavoiden und des Rosskastaniensaponins Ascin als Grundlage ihrer Anwendung in der Therapie, Arzneimittel Forschung, 1964, 14:892
5. C Allegra, G Pollari, A Criscuolo, et al. Centella asiatica Extract in Venous Disorders of the Lower Limbs. Comparative Clinico-Instrumental Studies with a Placebo, Clin Therap, 1981, 99:507-513; and F Marastoni, A Baldo, G Redaelli, & L Ghiringhelli. Centella asiatica Extract in Venous Pathology of the Lower Limbs and its Evaluation as Compared with Tribenoside, Minerva-Cardioangiol, 1982, 30:201-207
Harald Gaier has nearly four decades of clinical experience. He is referred to as the 'Medical Detective' and writes for several of today's leading alternative medicine publications. For six years he served on the Research Committee of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health as a naturopathic physician. Most recently he has held the appointment of Director of Medical Research at two major Clinics in London (The Hale Clinic and The Diagnostic Clinic)
You can read more at http://www.drgaier.com/