Arnica grows in the mountains of Europe, Russia and North America. Mountaineers in the Alps were the first known users of Arnica on their tired and aching legs. The plant is actually a member of the sunflower family and with its deep-rooted, erect stem and downy yellow leaves its easy to see why. The seeds and preparations made from it are one of the best known ‘natural’ treatments for bruising and muscle damage. If applied quickly, it is claimed to improve the processing of congested ‘bruised’ blood from the area and also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to reduce pain and swelling.
Availability Of Arnica
Purchase the organic, dried seeds from herbalists and whole food shops either in 50g or 100g amounts.
Uses Of Arnica
Not to be used internally (ingested)!
- Bruises, sprains and aches
- Muscle recovery
- Rheumatism and joint pain
- General healing of the body
For best results apply immediately after an injury. It is often applied as an infusion to spray on the skin for aches and sprains (1 teaspoon dried herbs in half cup of water). Dilute a tincture for use in a bath or a foot bath (30g dried flower preserved in one cup of food grade alcohol) or as an infused oil (30g of dried flowers preserved in half a cup of oil). Arnica oils and creams are used topically to treat sprains, bruises, and muscle pain.
- The herb should not be taken internally because it can irritate the stomach. Arnica montana contains a toxin, known as helanin, which if consumed in large amounts can cause gastroenteritis and bleeding of the digestive tract.
- Contact with the plant itself can be irritating to the skin
Products Containing Arnica Extracts
Arnica extract makes a valuable addition to compositions such as bath products and creams. Kneipp® Herbal Bath Joint & Muscle is a product for adding to the bath which is stated to soothe and invigorate the body. It contains a valuable arnica extract and natural essential oils of cabreuva, rosemary and various pine species. Napiers’ Arnica Plus Emergency Cream also contains Witch Hazel and Comfrey. This is marketed as a cooling, soothing skin cream. Weleda produce an Arnica Bumps And Bruises Spray which contains organic arnica. It is described as a first aid essential for bumps and bruises, stiff muscles and minor sports injuries. Safe for everyone to use.
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