Information on Arnica

Arnica Herb

Arnica Herb Picture

Arnica grows up to two feet in the mountainous regions of Europe and western North America. It is a true perennial herb with round, hairy stems ending in one to three flower stalks. The flowers are yellow-orange and daisy-like.

Arnica is a common homeopathic remedy. The soothing qualities of arnica have been used for a long time in Europe and North America. An arnica ointment or salve relieves the pain and reduces inflammation of sprains and bruises. A tincture is used to treat wounds. Studies have found it contains helenalin and dihydrohelenalin which produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. To make a linament, heat one ounce of Arnica flowers in one ounce of lard or oil for several hours. Strain the mixture and let cool.

In Europe it is cultivated to fill the demand for the estimated three hundred arnica-containing tinctures, ointments, and homeopathic remedies manufactured for the German market. Dried orange-yellow flower heads supply a therapeutic volatile oil, that contains fatty acids, aromatic terpenes, flavonoids, tannins, as well as the sesquiterpenes of the helenalin type.

Internal use of arnica is not recommended. Cardiac toxicity has been demonstrated, and arnica's effects on respiration and the uterus require further study. Oral administration of arnica is often accompanied by severe side effects. Contemporary studies demonstrate in vitro antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, positive inotropic, respiratory-stimulating, and uterine activities. Experimental trials suggest further potential uses. The Commission E has also approved the external use of arnica flower for inflammation of the oral and throat region, furunculosis, inflammation caused by insect bites, and superficial phlebitis.


Special Precautions: Prolonged treatment of damaged skin may cause dermatitis in some individuals. If this occurs, discontinue use.

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