Danielle Zinaich spent most of her West Virginian childhood barefoot, foraging for unusual rocks to sell roadside in place of lemonade. “If I’m not careful I get sucked into nature,” she says, “and I can end up in the clouds in a matter of seconds.” Growing up in a small town kept her outdoors, walking everywhere, feeling the earth beneath her feet and the animals and insects by her side. Sagaciously, and at the time unknowingly, it was preparing her for the frenetic career that would quickly follow. At age 15 she began modeling and by 17 she moved to Europe and then Asia and for the next 20 years traveled the world creating some of the most iconic images alongside photographers like Steven Meisel, to whom she was a muse.
Today, she focuses again on the natural world as a homeopath, living in the small town of Chappaqua, New York, with her two sons, Van and Nico, and her husband Adam Strahl, a Blue Hill at Stone Barns veteran and the current owner of the town’s natural food cafe, Local. “It’s funny how our paths play out,” she says, “because I don’t know that I would be a homeopath if I hadn’t done the modeling first.” For Zinaich, each job brought with it an eclectic mix of personalities and a burgeoning need to understand people’s energies, good or bad, how they came to be and how they might be healed.
Once Zinaich began studying homeopathy in 2001, she was never able to escape it. She would encounter people with unusual quirks and obsessive compulsions on set and always be thinking about ways in which the natural world might help them. “There’s a type in homeopathy called Pulsatilla,” she says, “which is this beautiful purplish, blue flower that needs to grow near a wall or a trellis for support because it is quite weak in itself.” By “type,” she is referring to a person’s homeopathic constitution or their mental and physical picture. “This type of person needs support and, just like the flower, will grow in clusters, hating to be alone. They’re weepy and dislike the wind, closing up whenever exposed to it. I’d be on set and I’d see this type and I’d try to figure out their remedy picture.”
Homeopathy was founded in the 1800s by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician who began experimenting with different crude substances, similar to herbal medicine. He started taking regular doses of cinchona bark—a flowering plant native to tropical Andean forests that was used to treat malaria—and began experiencing symptoms of the illness itself, sans the rigors of the actual disease. Shortly after, the homeopathic aphorism “like cures like,” was established. The idea behind the medicine is that a person can be healed of an illness using substances in nature, which when taken by a healthy person will produce similar symptoms to the illness. Zinaich explains that because these crude natural substances can often be too toxic or poisonous they undergo a process of dilution, succussion, and trituration whereby the essence or the energy of the substance is then infused into neutral sugar pellets, creams, or sprays. She uses the example of rhus tox, which comes from poison ivy, a plant that often causes a rash or irritation on a person’s skin. The rhus tox can be prescribed to a person dealing with skin conditions to trigger their immune system and help their body heal itself.
What does a homeopathic appointment look like? For Zinaich, it begins with a 90-minute session where she asks her patients a series of questions about their personality, manner, habits, likes, and dislikes to map out their life from childhood to adulthood. “The mental and emotional picture is so connected to the physical picture and each area of the body has a certain mental and emotional connection,” she says. At the end of the consultation, she typically prescribes one or two remedies which focus on the main issues or “outer layers” of a person’s constitutional picture. The effects of the remedies are typically felt within a month. This is followed by subsequent appointments of 30-40 minutes where Zinaich will help to peel back additional layers of a person’s overall picture, prescribing new remedies to heal different ailments.
Danielle’s two sons have grown up exclusively with homeopathy. They take regular salt baths with lavender oil, use their own homeopathic remedies, and receive routine chiropractic and craniosacral therapies as preventative wellness. While having a 24/7 on-call homeopath in the house certainly makes it easier, Zinaich insists there are ways to foray into it solo. Start with local health food markets, which will typically carry Boiron bottles of remedies with low potencies. Read the symptoms and match the remedy to what you think feels appropriate. She says it’s fine to experiment, but cautions that if a remedy doesn’t work it is likely just the wrong one. Aches, pains, and jet-lag are common ailments for which she would prescribe arnica in the form of a cream (she recommends T-Relief) or the Boiron pellets to have on hand at all times.
This time of year is especially busy for Zinaich as her patients frequently suffer from springtime allergies. While she wouldn’t recommend a general remedy for allergies (you’d have to have a consultation first), she suggests a daily teaspoon of local honey, preferably starting earlier in the winter, a deep cleaning of your home (don’t forget the air ducts), and a seasonal detox. “In winter we tend to eat more meat and heavy foods and in the spring we crave lighter things,” she says, “so a juice fast and colonics can help clean out the gut and start fresh.” She uses activated charcoal herself during a detox, which “absorbs parasites or toxins in the gut and intestines.”
Zinaich and her two sons are featured in our May/June issue trying on the bright, tie-dyed outdoorsy looks from the spring collections. Clothing, for Zinaich, is very personal. She believes that wearing different colors can help enliven energy centers and change your mood. “The white Marni dress really resonated with me because it had a lot of natural elements like the rocks and leather strings hanging from it,” she says. She recalls tie-dying t-shirts using beet juice and turmeric with Van and Nico when they were younger. “In the springtime, the trees burst open and the ground breaks with flowers and people start to wear more color,” she says, reiterating again the congruences between the natural world and the human experience.
To book an appointment with Danielle visit remedyyourhealth.com. Photographed by Clément Pascal; styled by Jenny Hartman; set designed by David de Quevedo; hair by Rubi Jones; beauty by Asami Matsuda; nails: Nori.