What is Arnica?
Arnica extract is an excellent treatment for sprains, strains, stiffness, bruising, swelling and local tenderness of muscles. The herb can be used externally as an ointment or internally as a homeopathic remedy. Arnica also has a long history of usage among Native Americans as a major healing plant.
Clinical research has shown the effectiveness of arnica. In 1991 a British study on hospital patients with acute injuries showed that arnica relieved stiffness in 98% of the patients tested. Arnica may have many preventive benefits as well.
Marathoners use the arnica extract before they race to improve their performance and minimizing their pain that can result from muscle sprains or strains, stiffness, or swelling.
You should not take arnica internally unless it is in the proper dilution.
There are a few people who may be sensitive to the compound helenalin that is in arnica. If you develop a mild rash, then you probably are one of those people and should stop using arnica immediately.
Uses and toxicity:
Arnica montana has long been used medicinally, It contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten, and contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation. The roots contain derivatives of thymol, which are used as fungicides and preservatives and may have some anti-inflammatory effect.
Arnica is currently used in liniment and ointment preparations used for strains, sprains, and bruises. Commercial arnica preparations are frequently used by professional athletes. The thymol derivatives concentrated in the plants roots have been clinically shown to be effective vasodilators of subcutaneous blood capillaries.
Arnica preparations used topically have been demonstrated to act as an anti-inflammatory and assist normal healing processes by facilitating transport of blood and fluid accumulations through a dilating action of subcutaneous blood capillaries. If enough of the material is ingested, the toxin helenalin produces severe gastroenteritis, and internal bleeding of the digestive tract.
Hyland's Arnica Montana 30x