Arnica has been recognized for its ability to relieve pain, discomfort and swelling since the 16th century. Also known as arnica Montana, Leopardsbane, Wolfsbane and European arnica. Native to Russia, Germany and North America it has been used for similar purposes by the North American Indians.
Arnica is an herbaceous and perennial plant which grows to approximately 1 to 2 ft high and a member of the daisy family. It is usually found in meadows and woodland areas and can be recognized by its golden yellow, aromatic flowers. It is revered and highly rated for its healing and calming effects on the body, used to reduce inflammation, as a decongestion and also has anti-fungal and antiseptic agents, often referred to as the warming herb, highly effective in the relief of arthritic pains.
It works by accelerating the healing process and has the ability to formulate granular tissue making it highly efficient in the treatment of burns, abrasions, eczema, sunburns and some skin cancers. The application of arnica promotes blood circulation which increases blood flow to the affected area and with the increased blood flow come nutrients which aid, promote and expedite the healing process. However, care should be taken not to apply it to open wounds, whist pregnant women are advised to refrain from its use during their confinement.
It is taken as a homeopathic preparation in the form of pills to cure ailment such as bronchitis, influenza, cystitis and kidney infections. Whilst arnica can be taken internally, it must be remembered that it is both potent and toxic, therefore it should only be taken under the control of a homeopathic advisor. There have been side effects and when taken in excessive doses, it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Other noted side-effects, if used over long and sustained periods it can cause dermatitis and also believed to be a contributor in some kidney and liver conditions.
It can be purchased in many topical formulations as an oil, tincture, creams, gels, powders, salves, ointments, with very good results achieved in the treatment for acne. It has the ability to relax tense and painful muscles helping to make them supple and aid pain relief. It is considered irreplaceable by physiotherapists and masseuse who regard it as an important addition to their treatment cabinets also a particular favorite of athletics who use it after undertaking any form of strenuous exercises.
Arnica is a highly effective natural pain-killer which scientific studies have proven. Trials under controlled scientific conditions were undertaken using arnica and the much prescribed pain-killer ibuprofen. Test results indicated that arnica is as powerful and effective as Ibuprofen, which is good news for those who wish to only use natural pain relieving remedies.
Arnica is by all accounts a safe and effective alternative pain remedy and can be purchased from health food stores and pharmacies. However, each person is an individual and may react differently to substances, even when it comes from a natural source. It would therefore be prudent to first learn as much as possible about arnica before moving forward.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
80, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta - 700002