Arnica uses in homeopathic medicine; homeopathic practitioners commonly prescribe it for treating bruising, pain, and sprains. But what is arnica montana? Arnica, also know as mountain daisy or leopard’s bane, comes from a flowering plant with yellow, daisy-like heads. This herb grows in mountainous regions and is processed into topical lotions or gels, as well as homeopathic pellets.
Studies Arnica Uses for Pain Relief
Clinical trials studying the effect of arnica on various conditions have mixed results. Some proven arnica uses include:
1. Sprains, strains, and bruises. In Germany, it has been officially approved as a topical treatment for treating sprains, bruises, rheumatic pain in muscles and joints, and other common conditions. Countless homeopathic practitioners and patients alike use it as a go-to remedy for these ailments, and swear by its effectiveness.
2. Osteoarthritis. Arnica seems to be useful in treating osteoarthritis in the hand. A randomized, double-blind study found that the application of topical arnica gel produced similar results to a gel containing the pain reliever ibuprofen; neither patients nor doctors could distinguish between the effects of the two gels. Arnica helped improve hand functional capacity, pain intensity, duration and severity of morning stiffness, and number of painful joints.
3. After exercise. Another study found that while arnica did not have an immediate effect in recovery from exercise, it provided delayed pain relief three days after intense exercise.
4. Recovery from surgery. Arnica was found to be more effective than placebo at reducing postoperative pain and edema following surgery. In patients who underwent knee surgery, those who took arnica had less postoperative swelling than those who took placebo. Researchers think that arnica is “a valid alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” for treating some post-surgery conditions.
How Does Arnica Work?
Laboratory studies provide compelling evidence for why arnica might help reduce pain and swelling. Extracts from arnica show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immune-stimulating effects. Compounds in arnica may also interact with mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of the cell, protecting them from oxidative damage to promote healing. Compounds called lactones in arnica likely contribute to many of the benefits of arnica.
To give arnica a try, look for an organic cream, ointment, or gel containing arnica montana. Rub the gel onto the affected area as directed on the label. You can also purchase the homeopathic form of arnica. Place the pellet under your tongue and let it dissolve when you are in pain, sore, or have swelling. Be careful to only take as much as directed; ingesting too much arnica orally can be toxic.
Share Your Experience
Do you use arnica for pain relief? Share your thoughts and suggestions for arnica uses in the comments section below.
This article was originally published in 2014. It is regularly updated.