Arnica a perennial plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and Siberia and today it is cultivated in North America. Arnica plants grow to 1-2 feet in height and produce bright-colored flowers and green leaves. 1,2
The arnica flower heads are processed through a steam distillation or Co2 extraction method to extract pure arnica essential oil. It is this arnica oil that is widely used today as a natural health product applied topically to treat and relieve a number of conditions. 2
Arnica Health Uses and Health Benefits
Arnica benefits include being high in linolenic, linoleic, thymol, myristic, and palmitic fatty acids. Arnica for pain relief is a well-known arnica benefit that is commonly used to treat symptoms of several conditions. 2
Other arnica benefits include:
- Treats muscle aches and spasms
- Improves rheumatic, joint and carpal tunnel pain
- Reduces inflammation and swelling due to sprains, fractures and broken bones
- Helps treat burns, bruises and other skin conditions
- Treats insect bites
- Boosts hair growth
Arnica oil has diverse and proven benefits that can be applied in a number of arnica uses. The following are known arnica uses that can help improve these conditions:
- Sprains, Strains, and Sprained Ankle - Taking arnica for pain caused by sprains, strains, and sprained ankle is an effective treatment. Arnica helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in strained and sprained ankles and wrists.
- Sciatica - Sciatica is a condition that causes radiating pain from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the leg. Using arnica for pain relief is an effective treatment for sciatica.
- Rotator Cuff - Torn or injured rotator cuffs can cause severe pain and mobility issues. Using a topical treatment of arnica for pain caused by a torn rotator cuff can help restore mobility in the shoulders.
- Fractures - Fractures can cause pain, discomfort and decreased mobility. Arnica oil can be applied topically to fractured bones to help reduce pain and swelling.
- Skin Rash - Arnica oil is an effective remedy for treating skin rashes. A topical application of arnica oil can help lower inflammation and swelling caused by skin rashes.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - Arnica essential oils are believed to help treat depression and lower anxiety. Both of these are symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder which can be improved with the use of arnica essential oils.
Arnica Side Effects and Precautions
Arnica side effects are very limited as it is generally considered safe when used topically. If arnica side effects result in a rash or inflammation at the site of application, then discontinue use immediately. Applying it to broken skin may produce arnica side effects such as toxicity if it gets into the body. 2
Arnica oil should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women or anyone with extremely sensitive skin. 2