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Arnica Therapeutic Uses and Precautions

Arnica is also frequently referred to as common arnica, arnica flowers, arnica root, leopardsbane, mountain arnica, mountain tobacco, and wolfsbane. Popular for its use in the healing of wounds, inflammation and infections, it is a very powerful herb that can be poisonous and even cause death if not used correctly.

arnica Arnica Therapeutic Uses and Precautions

Scientific Name

Arnica Montana


Grown in the northern regions of America, in Canada, Europe and eastern Asia, it resembles a daisy.

Typical Preparations

It can be prepared as:

  • An ointment
  • A tincture
  • A cream
  • A gel
  • A liquid
  • A tea
  • An oil
  • A spray
  • A powder
  • A salve

It can also be used in a whole form or cut into smaller pieces. As a poultice soaked in water, it can be safely applied to the skin’s surface.

Arnica Common Uses

It is used by herbalists in the treatment of the following conditions:

Its organic compounds are helpful in reducing pain, swelling and redness. It is primarily used on external areas and is a common ingredient in herbal shampoos and skin care products.

Although it is not intended for internal use, some maintain that, if properly diluted, it can be consumed for the treatment of colds, fevers, bronchitis, oral inflammation, epilepsy and seasickness.

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It should only be used for topical treatments. Ingesting it can cause stomach problems, including diarrhea and vomiting. Arnica can also cause nosebleeds in some. Repeated use of heavily concentrated arnica can possibly cause blisters, inflammation and a variety of allergy type symptoms. Allergic reactions may include itching, rash, hives, runny nose, breathing difficulties and shock. Those with allergies to chamomile, sunflowers or marigolds are more likely to also experience an allergic reaction to arnica.

It may also not interact well with medications prescribed for hypertension, heart disease or blood thinners. Anyone under the supervision of a medical doctor should always notify their physician before using an herbal treatment as complementary or alternative therapy.

As with many prescription medications and other herbs commonly used for natural cures and home remedies, pregnant women or women who are nursing are not advised to take it.

Whenever possible, a professional herbalist should also be consulted before starting a new herbal regimen.

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