Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Helenalin is a natural sesquiterpene lactone with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties found in arnica species (Arnica chamissonis, Arnica montana) and other asteraceae (Giant nasturtium, elecampane).
Helenalin selectively inhibits the transcription factor NF-κB. In vitro, helenin is an inhibitor of telomerase gene expression; furthermore, the substance shows anti-trypanosomal and antimicrobial activity. Experimentally, the substance inhibits melanin production in melanocytes.
Helenalin is highly toxic and has a considerable allergenic potency. Helenalin is the actual cause of arnica sensitization (see below arnica).

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