Arnica Gel: An Overview
Arnica gel comes from the Arnica Montana plant, more commonly known as Wolf’s Bane or Leopard’s Bane. This topical herb is used for treatment of bruises, inflammation, joint and muscle pains, and other problems. Arnica gel has been used for hundreds of years to heal injuries and ease pain.
Arnica can be used on its own or in combination with other remedies in first aid creams and ointments. It can be taken orally, in capsules or used topically. Arnica is toxic and should not be ingested, unless it is in the highly diluted form of a homeopathic solution.
Arnica gel is mainly used as a topical anti-inflammatory treatment, a remedy for bruises and wounds, to ease joint and muscle pains, and many others. The Arnica gel is non-greasy, or oily, and can be applied easily on the skin. It does not stain clothes and can be quickly absorbed by the skin.
It is widely known that people have been using arnica homeopathic preparations for many years as a remedy for various conditions. Several studies have found that arnica gel is no better than a placebo at pain relief. However, other studies have found that it decreased pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis, pain after surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome and post surgery swelling after arthroscopy. Arnica Montana extract is also known to be a good homeopathic treatment for varicose veins as well as reducing the hematoma.
Arnica Gel: Active ingredient
The active ingredient of Arnica gel is the Arnica Montana extract. According to studies, the root of the Arnica Montana plant is rich with thymol. Thymol has been clinically proven to be effective in enlarging the blood capillaries. More blood may help an injured area heal faster.
Arnica can be bought on-line or directly from a homeopathic doctor.
Arnica Gel: The Benefits
- Osteoarthritis Pain Relief – Arnica gel is good for easing pain, and works similar to ibuprofen in easing away the pain caused by osteoarthritis of hands.
- Anti-inflammatory properties - Arnica gel not only relieves muscle and joint pains, it also acts as an ant-inflammatory. Research has shown that arnica gel has the ability to decrease the swelling of the affected area by improving the blood flow in the area. In a 2008 study published in the journal of Complementary Medicine, arnica was compared to the painkiller diclofenac, with a standard dosage taken three times per day. Diclofenac and arnica were found to perform equally well at reducing redness, swelling and heat (all signs of inflammation) in the wound.
- Ease of Availability - Arnica gel can be purchased without a prescription, and it can be bought at any drug store or ordered online. It can be made into oils, gels, salves, creams, and ointments – you can find arnica in any form you want!
- Ease of Use - Arnica gel is easily applied to the skin in the area of the injury. The skin can quickly absorb arnica gel. It has neither a strong smell nor does it stain your clothes. In addition, it is not sticky or greasy like most topical creams, and it can be used in combination with other painkillers.
Arnica Gel: Remedies
- Bruises and swelling – Just apply the arnica gel on the bruised skin, or you could make a compress with arnica gel, if needed.
- Skin disorders – people have been using arnica extract for healing various skin disorders for centuries. It is also used to treat skin disorders like acne, eczema, insect bites, irritated nostrils, chapped lips, rashes, and other irritations. Do not apply on or near the eyes.
- Arthritis – in a 2002 study, numerous participants with arthritis were treated with arnica gel twice a day for six weeks. The results show that the participants felt less stiff, and they are able to move their joints more freely after regular and daily application of arnica gel.
- Sore muscles - studies conducted on athletes indicated that arnica gel is effective in relieving muscle pain.
- Wounds –Arnica has been used to heal wounds for centuries. While there is no lack of historical and anecdotal evidence, the results of studies on arnica healing effect have been mixed. Some have found that it works no better than a placebo, while others have found that it helped expedite healing. For cuts, apply arnica gel on the area near the wound, or ingest an arnica supplement. Applying arnica gel directly onto broken skin may cause irritation.
- Mouth sores: Arnica is used for mouth sores and swollen gums. Mix together one part tincture with 10 parts water. Swish in your mouth for 20 seconds twice daily.
Arnica Gel: Side Effects
- Needs Dilution. Arnica is toxic unless highly diluted. It can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea, vomiting. If ingesting arnica make sure you consume in a homeopathic, diluted form.
- Allergic reaction. Allergic reaction may cause skin rashes, itching and eczema. More serious reactions could be breathing trouble. If you have sensitive skin, apply to a small patch, and see whether there is any reaction before using regularly. If any of these symptoms occur, discontinue immediately.
- Internal Bleeding. There have a few reports that arnica can cause internal bleeding. This may be the result of arnica’s ability to enlarge the capillaries to improve blood flow. Diabetics should be careful when using arnica products.
- Mouth Ulcers. If using as a mouthwash to cure or ease the pain of cold sores, be careful that it does not worsen the condition, which can occur for persons with sensitive gums or mouths.
- Avoid if Pregnant. Pregnant women should not consume arnica extract. While it may be effective as a painkiller, it can also induce miscarriage or premature delivery.
- Drug interreaction: arnica can interact with blood thinners (e.g., warfarin, heparins including dalteparin, enoxaparin,) antiplatelet drugs (e.g., clopidogrel, ticlopidine), and others. If you are taking prescription medication, talk to your doctor before taking arnica.
Arnica Gel: Conclusion
Arnica gel is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It has many applications, including healing minor wounds, muscle and joint pain, skin irritations, and arthritis. Arnica can be used in combination with other painkillers and skin creams. However, if you are on blood-thinners or other prescription medicine, talk to your doctor before taking arnica. Undiluted, arnica is highly toxic, and should not be ingested.