Why Arnica?

OVERVIEW

Arnica (Arnica Montana) has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and remains popular today. Applied topically as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, Europeans and Native Americans have used arnica to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is often the first remedy used for injuries such as sprains and bruises. Arnica in herbal form is primarily restricted to topical (external) use because it can cause serious side effects when taken internally. Arnica is often used in homeopathy, and should be taken internally only in the extremely diluted form common to homeopathic remedies. If you have any question about whether you have the herbal or homeopathic form of arnica, talk to your doctor before taking it.

PLANT DESCRIPTION

Arnica is a perennial that grows to a height of 1 - 2 feet with yellow-orange flowers similar to daisies. Stems are round and hairy, ending in one to three flower stalks, with flowers 2 - 3 inches across. Leaves are bright green. The upper leaves are toothed and slightly hairy, while lower leaves have rounded tips. It is native to the mountains of Europe and Siberia, and is cultivated in North America.

PARTS USED

Fresh or dried flower heads are used in medicinal preparations.

MEDICINAL USES AND INDICATIONS

Arnica is used topically for a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, superficial phlebitis, rheumatic pain, inflammation from insect bites, and swelling due to fractures. Homeopathic preparations are also used to treat sore muscles, bruises, and other conditions caused by overexertion or trauma. Homeopathic doses are extremely diluted. They have no detectable amount of the plant in them and are generally considered safe for internal use when taken according to the directions on the product labeling.

AVAILABLE FORMS

Arnica is available commercially in topical creams and ointments. It is most commonly prepared as a tincture, which can also be used as the base for compresses and poultices. Arnica oil may also be used in topical preparations. A number of homeopathic remedies are available in pill, topical, or injectable form.

RESEARCH LINKS

www.stockwellfarms.com/arnica_research_studies.htm
http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=8091


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