What is Arnica Montana? 4 Arnica Uses Include Pain Relief and More

Arnica uses

Arnica is also know as mountain daisy or leopard’s bane. This herb grows in mountainous regions and is processed into topical lotions or gels, as well as homeopathic pellets.

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.[1]

Studies Arnica Uses for Pain Relief

Clinical trials studying the effect of arnica on various conditions have mixed results.[1] 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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

4. Recovery from surgery. Arnica was found to be more effective than placebo at reducing postoperative pain and edema following surgery.[4] In patients who underwent knee surgery, those who took arnica had less postoperative swelling than those who took placebo.[5] Researchers think that arnica is “a valid alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” for treating some post-surgery conditions.[4]

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.[1] Compounds in arnica may also interact with mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of the cell, protecting them from oxidative damage[6] to promote healing. Compounds called lactones in arnica likely contribute to many of the benefits of arnica.[1]

Arnica Uses

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.[1]

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. 

[1] Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2007 Dec 1;64(23):2434-43.

[2] Rheumatol Int. 2007 Apr;27(6):585-91.

[3] Eur J Sport Sci. 2014;14(3):294-300.

[4] Am J Ther. 2014 Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print].

[5] Complement Ther Med. 2006 Dec;14(4):237-46. Epub 2006 Oct 13.

[6] Homeopathy. 2013 Jan;102(1):49-53.

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  • It is not true that taking Arnica too much can be toxic. How can a homeopathic pellet be toxic? The article is written by someone who doesn`t have enough knowledge in homeopathy.

  • My 25 year old daughter underwent breast reduction surgery 12 days ago and started with arnica pellets 1 week before surgery and is taking them throughout her healing process. The results have been amazing. When her bandages were removed 4 days after her procedure the surgeon as well as the nurse were astounded at how there was next to no bruising. Besides very minimal bruising my daughter did not have to even fill her narcotic prescription for pain. She has had slight soreness, pinching at the suture lines but overall has been surprisingly comfortable. She will continue to take the arnica for another few weeks, but has felt so good she went back to work after one week of recovery. She sits at a desk and is not driving or lifting but healing better than expected. We would highly recommend arnica for anyone undergoing any surgical procedures.

  • 8.17.19 went to Target for insoles b/c I have bad flat feet and work in retail b/c I couldn’t find an office job. My feet and ankles were burning and aching so bad I was in tears after work, barley making it at work, couldn’t go out to find shoes b/c feet hurt so much. I looked up and saw Arnicare Gel and the symptoms it helped so I just grabbed it. I put it on that evening and was super surprised at how quickly it was working. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the gel, but by the time I was in, my ankles and feet were feeling 1000% better. Didn’t realize it was homeopathic medicine until later and never heard of Arnica so have been doing a little research. I am jus so THANKFUL that I saw this gel and gave it a try. Arnicare Gel by Boiron (arnica is the natural active ingredient).

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