Arnica medicinal uses primarily involve healing inflammation in muscles and joints. Arnica is commonly used a homeopathic remedy, applied to the skin as an oil, gel or cream and, rarely, taken internally. Arnica can be found at almost any health store and is an affordable, effective treatment of injuries and pain.
Arnica Montana, member of the Asteraceae Family, is also called Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Daisy and Wolf’s Bane. The Arnica plant grows best in mountainous areas and is common in the mountains of Europe and Siberia.
Arnica is a perennial that grows up to two feet tall. Its stems are round and hairy; off shooting are bright green leaves that are slightly hairy and toothed on the upper surfaces, and yellow flowers, two to three inches long.
The flowers and rhizomes, or underground stems, are used to make salves and arnica oil.
Arnica can be taken as a homeopathic remedy, as a topical agent in the form of gels, creams and oils or, rarely due to risks, internally. Homeopathic preparation are diluted and considered safe for internal use; they look like small pellets and are taken sublingually.
The main component in Arnica is sesquiterpene lactone, known to reduce inflammation and heal pain. When applied topically Arnica stimulates white blood cells (WBC), which help to fight infection and heal injuries. In addition, Arnica attracts blood to the area applied; this warming property incites healing of joint and muscle pain, bruises and other injuries.
The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities lead to the main Arnica medicinal uses:
- Pain Reduction
- Bruises Heal Faster
- Decrease Swelling
- Healing Sprains
Arnica can also useful to shorten the time of recovery following physical trauma and heal after overexertion.
Peoples indigenous to geographical areas where Arnica grows also use the herb internally. Arnica acts as a stimulant and diuretic; it can be used to lower fever, treat ulcers or, as a mouthwash ingredient, treat swollen gums.
Other, lesser-known Arnica medicinal uses as an herbal remedy include the treatment of senile heart, angina, or coronary artery disease.
Despite the Arnica medicinal uses, excessive use of Arnica, especially internally, can result in death or serious side effects:
- Stomach discomfort, including nausea and vomiting
- Organ Failure
- Muscle Weakness, Coma and Death
- Theoretically Arnica may increase the risk of bleeding
- Severe heart problems or seizures may occur in cases ipecac abuse at the same time as extreme Arnica
- Arnica should not be taken at the same time as ipecac
If you experience high-blood pressure, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention.
If you plan to take Arnica internally, only do so under the advisement of a physician or qualified professional.
Arnica should not be massaged into open cuts, sores, burns, deep wounds or lacerations or raw, irritated skin.
Arnica should not be taken in essential oil or a non-diluted oil or internally if you are taking any blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin or Warafin.
Arnica should be taken with caution along with pain-relieving medications as it may increase analgesic effects. It may cause a decrease in the protein binding of drugs that are highly protein bound.
Arnica is a relatively safe topical agent and homeopathic remedy, but when taken internally can have potentially life threatening consequences. Arnica medicinal uses primarily relate to its anti-inflammatory properties. Arnica can decrease the time it take to heal from an injury, heal bruises faster and, as an effective natural analgesic, provides both joint and muscle pain relief.