A recent visitor from Madrid arrived loaded down with an embarrassment of cosmetic riches from Spain. I immediately swooped in on Babaria, a Spanish brand that is big on aloe and rosehip oil.

As I studied the packaging for Babaria's Rosa Mosqueta Eye Serum, I was most intrigued to discover that amongst the ingredients there was a natural alternative to Botox, extracted from a plant called acmella oleracea. Most cosmetics that promise to freeze expression lines use a synthetic peptide called acetyle hexapeptide-8, or Argireline. This is the first time that I had come across a face freezer hailing from nature's garden.

Acmella Oleracea is also known as the toothache plant as its extracts can have a numbing effect due to the presense of analgesic alkylamides called spilanthol. It is spilanthol that can also have a numbing effect on facial muscles. In addition, a Taiwanese study has shown spilanthol to be an effective anti-inflammatory.

I was beginning to think that acmella oleracea could become a new cosmetic friend and then I found a Malaysian study that demonstrated that spilanthol extract from acmella was highly toxic against adult cockroaches. Since the cockroach is virtually indestructible, is this really something I want to dab on my crow's feet?

Happily, I found numerous references saying that it is non-toxic for humans. That'll do for me. Especially as this potion is well under $20. I shall give Barbaria's eye cream a try and report back.


Water, rosa moschata seed oil (5%), pentylene glycol, aloe barbadensis, glycerin, cyclopentasioxane, dimethiconol, polymide-1, glyceryl oleate citrate, caprylic/capric trigliceride, alcohol denat, paraffinum, acmella oleracea extract, acrylates C10-30 alkyl acrylates crosspolymer, parfum, BHT, ascorbyl palmitate, acrylates/vinyl isodecanoate crosspolymer, triethanolomine.