Arnica (Arnica montana)
Arnica is a small daisy-like prairie flower that is common in western North America. The simple flowers are yellow in color and the plant grows to a height of one or two feet. There are a couple other varieties that grow in Europe. It has been used medicinally since at least the 1500s and is still a popular remedy today. Standing tall with its bright yellow flowers makes it instantly recognisable, along with its furry stem.
Key Medicinal Uses
Externally Arnica is commonly made into creams, salves and ointments that are applied topically to heal bruising, trauma and swelling. It can soothe muscle aches and inflammation. It helps facilitate the healing of wounds. It is effective for sprains. can be used for rheumatism and to relieve insect bites. The cream is sometimes recommended after childbirth to relieve sore stretched perineums by midwives. It can be used safely on children.
Homeopathic versions are often taken to relieve sore muscles, bruises, sprains and other discomforts caused by overexertion and trauma. The homeopathic herbal remedy can be taken after childbirth to help with internal bruising or overexertion.
Flowers An extract is taken from the blossoms to be used medicinally. The remedies most frequently used are creams, lotions, ointments, salves, tincture, compresses, poultices and homeopathic pills.
Arnica should not be taken internally unless it is a commercially prepared homeopathic remedy. Homeopathic remedies are clearly labeled as such. These remedies are considered safe because of the extreme dilution of the compounds from the plant.
Arnica is generally safe when used topically. Look for skin irritations if this herb has been used for a long period of time or if you are sensitive to it. You may see rashes, eczema, peeling or blisters. Taking this herb internally may result in dizziness, tremors and heart irregularities. Mucous membranes may be irritated or you may vomit.
When used topically or homeopathically, the herb does not interact with other medications.
Preparation and Dosage
Internally: Most medications are commercially prepared and they are easy to find. Follow the directions on the preparation or follow the instructions of your care provider when using arnica.