The Alpine Sea Holly grows in the high meadows of Alpine regions and is easily recognised by its majestic form which clearly distinguishes the plant from its herbaceous cousins. It produces dense umbells of magnificent blueish flowers. The plant's large, spiky-edged leaves and name place it in the holly family but in reality Eryngium alpinum is a harmless apiaceae (umbelliferae) from the same family as the carrot. This "Queen of the Alps" has been under threat due to intensive, uncontrolled picking and the destruction of its natural habitat. Threatened with extinction, it has been a protected species for several years now in France and Switzerland, and can only be picked in designated growing areas. In the field of cosmetics, research carried out on the plant has revealed its capacity to fight free radicals and soothe and purify the skin's surface.