As TIA newsletter subscribers know, I was musing about quinoa (the South American grain) a few weeks ago. It has more protein than other grains and, unlike the rest of the edible grass family, it contains a balanced set of amino acids. It is notable as a source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is necessary for energy production within cells. Nasa is considering making it required eating on long space flights. This all made it seem worth finding a potion containing it and after some rooting around, I discovered Lluvia Camu C Serum ($55).

My high hopes for Camu C were dashed at the first whiff. Now I can honestly say that I have never had a cocaine habit, but I do have the sense of smell of someone who is a few lines away from a steel plate. Hence, it is very rare for me to be put off a potion by its pong. After two days of Camu C, I have concluded that it is unusable. The smell is overpowering and lasts for most of the day. It is like being trapped in an elevator with someone drenched in dodgy aftershave. I kid you not: my eyes watered, I sneezed and even had a faint headache.

This is all tragic because otherwise Camu C is very promising. In addition to quinoa, Lluvia has packed it with obscure fruits of the rainforest. New to me is camu camu, which Lluvia claims (causing me to raise my eyebrows) has 30 times more vitamin C than an orange. I did my research and it turns out that a camu camu berry does have an awful lot of C, accounting for 3% of its weight. Sangre de drago, another plant I'd never heard of, has been shown by Canadian researchers to treat wounds, irritation and insect bites.

There is also una de gato (cat's claw) an anti-inflammatory with alkaloids and polyphenols. Suma (also known as Brazilian ginseng) has been demonstrated to fight cancer in trials on mice. Stevia is a sort of natural sweetener that leaves saccharin in the shade and it is also good for treating inflammed skin. Sangre de drago is one of those rainforest superplants that are attributed with amazing curative powers that seem too good to be true. Still, it does seem to be an effective antioxidant.

Ingredients in Lluvia Camu C Serum




Structured water, aqueous extracts of camu camu, una de gato, jojoba, suma, stevia and maytenus illicfolia, soy lecithin, tetrahexydexcyl acsorbate (vitamin C), tocopherol (vitamin E), retinyl palmitate, glucose, xanthan gum, carrageenan, saccharide isomerate, sangre de drago sap, red marine algae, hydrolized algin, chorella vulgaris (algae), quinoa extract, aloe vera, panthenol, carrot oil extract, 100% essential oils of: lemon balm, sandalwood, citrus blend, vanilla, grapefruit seed, origano, rosemary, goldenseal.