The Arnica is a perennial plant known as a medicinal herb. It stands out for its benefits in the treatment of wounds, blows and injuries , both on the surface of the skin and on the muscles. The genus Arnica comprises more than 30 species, of which Arnica Montana stands out . This belongs to the Asteraceae family, so it has elongated petals.Arnica has a range of medicinal substances already studied and proven; Among them, the main one is called helenalin , which is a lactate with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Another active substance is thymol , which is a mild fungicide, effective only on certain fungi; It is used for the preservation of paper in books.Among its chemical components, arnica has two substances that can become toxic in large quantities. The first is dihydrohelenaline , and its toxicity is activated both in contact with the skin and when ingested. The second is helenalin itself , the damage of which is caused by ingestion. That is why it is not advisable to apply arnica without medical supervision.

What is arnica for?

Although arnica has been used mainly to reduce inflammation and relieve pain since ancient times, its specific mechanisms of chemical action are still unknown today.

It is administered in two main ways:

  • Applied in the form of ointments, rinses or plasters
  • Ingested in infusions or dilutions of its tincture

It serves to:

  • Treat bumps and bruises
  • Treat sprains and dislocations
  • Manage rheumatoid arthritis
  • Heal bruises and scrapes
  • Treat acne and infectious skin problems
  • Treat mild oropharyngeal problems
  • Manufacture of cosmetics and skin products

Treat bumps and bruises

Arnica serves to calm inflammation and pain in bumps and injuries where there is no wound or mucous or raw flesh is exposed. Injuries need not require major care or hospital care.

The way in which arnica is applied is by means of plasters of a light infusion of the plant, or in combination with olive oil, massaging the area with care not to hurt the patient.

Treat sprains and dislocations

In both dislocations and joint problems, arnica plasters help reduce pain and reduce inflammation in the area. This effect is concentrated when the area is covered with a bandage.

Manage rheumatoid arthritis

Arnica has been applied to the skin to soothe pain and inflammation.

Arnica in ointments and plasters has clinically shown some efficacy. This is mostly because of the helenalin, which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Heal bruises and scrapes

Being a rubefacient , arnica helps the blood to renew itself more quickly , which helps to eliminate or reduce bruises in less time. For this, it is used in the form of an ointment, applying a light film on the affected area.

Treat acne and infectious skin problems

Arnica roots have fungicidal substances, among which are thymol, cathekic tannins and flavonoids. The thymol is responsible for fighting infections and fungi , so now is still used in cases of mild skin rash, where no open wounds.

Treat mild oropharyngeal problems

A mild infusion with a small proportion of this plant has been used since ancient times to treat problems of irritation and inflammation of the throat , related to infections. Above all, canker sores, angina and inflammation of the gums, in which there are no wounds, have been treated.

Manufacture of cosmetics and skin products

By acting as a rubefacient, disinfectant and as a powerful anti-inflammatory, arnica is added in the form of its extracts to the production of cosmetics. These products help to remove scars, minor wrinkles and other skin problems, related to bruises or skin infections.

Healing action of arnica

For its best action, arnica is prepared in different ways to be administered to the patient. Each of them will best serve specific conditions.

Arnica, in the form of ointments, rinses or plaster , is used to:

  • Treat bumps
  • Fight acne
  • Treat bruises
  • Reduce bruising
  • Treat sprains
  • Soothe a sore throat
  • Treat skin lesions without wounds
  • Soothe rheumatoid arthritis pain
  • Reset freeze
  • Heal muscle tears
  • Treat dislocations
  • fade streaks
  • reduce thrush
  • Disinfect wounds or skin lesions

Arnica, ingested in infusions or in dilutions of its tincture, in minimal doses, is used to:

  • Heal pain from internal injuries
  • Treat varicose veins
  • Treat heart failure

Contraindications and side effects of arnica

arnica flower

Arnica is an extremely poisonous plant when ingested, or when its toxic substances pass directly into the bloodstream. Its flowers, by containing helenalin and dihydrohelenalin , can cause serious poisoning, when ingested or spread, when they have not been prepared previously .

Only in homeopathic medicine is it used ingested, but in minimal doses, in which the arnica tincture has been diluted to an almost zero concentration. Even so, out of danger, homeopathic doctors only recommend it in very particular cases.

Arnica does not require a prescription to apply, but it is always wise to consult a doctor; This ensures that poisonings are avoided. Arnica grows wild in many regions, so patients can source this plant without restriction. You only need to know how to use it.

Pregnant women should be especially careful with arnica. High doses of phytoestrogens cause abortion . In addition, when ingested, it affects the baby, especially its nervous system , irreparably.

Despite everything, there are people who use arnica and recommend it for clandestine abortions, often without considering that the mother runs the same risk of poisoning or even dying from poisoning or sepsis.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion. Consult a doctor.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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