Arnica is a beneficial herb ideal for managing discomfort. The plant commonly grows in the United States, Canada, East Asia, and Europe. You can also refer to it as wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, mountain arnica, and mountain tobacco. These plants are similar to daisy flowers in appearance and color.
What is Arnica?
Arnica is a perennial herb that people use as a medicine. The flower of this plant essentially helps with soreness, reducing the discomfort for various conditions, including sore throat, osteoarthritis, and surgery. You can also use this herb for swelling, bruising, and bleeding after surgery. Even though there isn’t much evidence and scientific research about the effectiveness of the component, many people find it helpful.
Keep in mind that consuming raw Arnica can cause various complications. Therefore, it is essential to understand the proper method of usage. Many manufacturing companies use Arnica as an ingredient for flavor enhancement. You may find this ingredient in some baked goods, frozen dairy desserts, beverages, candies, puddings, and gelatins. Cosmetic manufacturing companies also use this component in anti-dandruff shampoos, perfumes, and hair tonics.
History of Arnica
People have been using the Arnica flower for hundreds of years to treat pain. Mostly, Europeans used Arnica for alcoholic tinctures and medications. They used the herb for improving blood circulation and treating sore throats. Furthermore, people also applied Arnica for sprains, bruises, acne, and muscle aches. The uses of this component in the homeopathic world include treatment from accidental trauma and surgery.
Health Benefits of Arnica
Numerous health benefits of Arnica make it alternative medicine. Besides treating pain and bruising, you can also use it for arthralgia (joint aches) and myalgia (muscle soreness). Homeopathic drug manufacturers sell Arnica in different forms for pain treatment. You can use Arnica for the following conditions:
• Diabetic neuropathy
• Wound healing
• Post-shingles neuralgia
Regardless of so many benefits of Arnica, limited scientific research supports using this herb for treating medical conditions. This does not mean that Arnica does not have any medical help. Because these clinical studies contain small data, the findings are obscure. Also, due to the inaccurate data, there are contradictions. If you want to confirm the benefits of Arnica, you can consult with your doctor. They will help you determine if the usage of this component is safe and reasonable for treating discomfort.
You can also refer to osteoarthritis as wear-and-tear arthritis. Most doctors prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as a treatment. For a long time, homeopaths are suggesting the use of Arnica for osteoarthritis. This plant includes anti-inflammatory properties so that you can use it as an alternative to NSAIDs. Also, it is a natural component. Therefore, the usage would be safe and reasonable.
A group of Australian researchers published a review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews regarding the benefits of this herbal remedy. In this review, they mentioned the use of Arnica for osteoarthritis. They examined the seven traits of this plant and suggested that the effects of Arnica gel are similar to Advil (ibuprofen) for relieving osteoarthritis. Other than reducing discomfort, it also helped for enhancing the joint functionalities.
2. Post-Surgical Care and Bruising
Fans of Arnica consider this component effective for swelling and bruising after the surgery. You can consume the product as an oral supplement or apply it as an ointment. A review published in the American Journal of Therapeutics suggests that Arnica is a fantastic substitute for NSAID. It effectively helps in treating edema, ecchymosis, and post-operative pain.
The review also states that the product’s effectiveness depends on the dosage, formulation, and study.
However, another review from Dermatologic Surgery does not support the benefits of using topical or oral Arnica. The researchers do not find Arnica effective for treating bruising and swelling.
3. Muscle Pain
Myalgia is a condition related to muscle pain and aches. You experience pain due to overusing the tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Some studies suggest that Arnica is beneficial for the treatment of post-exertional myalgia. For a long time, people are using Arnica as a sports supplement to minimize the pain during an injury.
Some subjective reviews in the “International Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine” support the topical and oral use of Arnica for muscle injuries. However, the review also includes four studies that suggest the contrast.
How Can You Use Arnica?
There are numerous products available in both oral and topical forms:
• Topical Products
You can use Arnica creams, gels, and other homeopathic topical forms. Apply the product for smaller areas and spot treatment. Please do not use the products on irritated skin as it may cause an allergic reaction. Especially when the product has a higher concentration of Arnica, the risks are also higher.
• Oral Products
Arnica Montana is also available for oral use in different forms such as tablets and pellets. You do not have to use water to swallow the tablet; instead, it melts in your mouth. This type of medication is ideal for larger areas. You can quickly found these homeopathic medications in health food stores.
Dosage and Storage
There aren’t any standard dosage recommendations for treating pain or bruises with Arnica. The typical oral medications for Arnica include C200, C30, and C12. When you are using topical arnica gels, you can read the instructions on the packaging. Before purchasing the product, ensure that it is diluted. You can apply over-the-counter products twice a day for up to three weeks. Keep the product in a dry and cool environment.
Risks and Side Effects
Before consuming Arnica for pain management, you should consult with a doctor or understand the side effects. The undiluted Arnica is not safe for oral ingestion. The products can be poisonous either you consume plant oils or extracts. The side effects of consuming undiluted Arnica include irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and even death. Oral ingestion of diluted Arnica is safe.
Regardless of homeopathic Arnica, tinctures, or oils, do not consume the product unless you are sure it’s under medical supervision. Children, pregnant women, and people with allergies should avoid oral usage of Arnica because of the life-threatening consequences. Therefore, you need to confirm with your healthcare provider before consuming the product, even if you use it in a highly diluted form.
Other side effects of Arnica gel include itchiness, skin dryness, and an increase in pain. The side effects are the same for shampoos, creams, and bubble bath products. Do not apply arnica creams or gel o open wounds or broken skin.
Arnica herb is highly toxic. Therefore, you should avoid consuming the product. Regardless of the form, ingesting Arnica is harmful to breastfeeding or pregnant women. Researchers noticed a massive decrease of red blood cells in a nine-day-old breastfed infant in a study.
The mother of the child was drinking Arnica tea. If you are allergic to ragweed, avoid consuming or applying arnica products. Arnica is also a critical component if you suffer from a particular disease, including arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In research about the interaction of certain drugs with Arnica, researchers found that mixing the drug with some herbs and anti-platelet medications can be harmful. Some of these herbs are garlic, ginger, clove, ginseng, and ginkgo and the remedies include Plavix and Aspirin.
You should consult with your doctor and see if they suggest you apply or orally use this product.
Keep in mind that the Arnica plant is toxic, but the product becomes safe to consume due to the distillation of the homeopathic Arnica. However, it would be best if you consume small amounts of these components. It would be best to avoid taking the product if you are allergic to ragweed, breastfeeding, or pregnant. If you want to use homeopathic Arnica, consult with a professional doctor.