What is Arnica?

Updated: Jun 7

Arnica Montana is a popular herb that has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and is still popular today.



Arnica can be found in a variety of topical creams on the market. When applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and to help heal wounds. A lot of people find it to be beneficial in soothing injuries, such as sprains and bruises. As an herb, arnica is usually used topically (on the skin) because it can cause serious side effects when taken by mouth. There are some oral preparations that contain arnica only in a dilute form because it can be dangerous. If you have any questions about whether you have the herbal or homeopathic form of arnica, talk to your doctor.


“Does arnica really work for pain? The research demonstrates mixed results.”

I would not say that arnica is without benefits; it is simply that there are very limited studies out there that demonstrate contradictory findings. There have been studies that have compared arnica gel versus the usage of Advil for the treatment of arthritis in the hands. Arnica worked just as well as Advil in helping reduce the pain but was associated with a 13% versus 8% risk of side effects.


Arnica can be found in a variety of topical creams on the market. When applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and to help heal wounds. A lot of people find it to be beneficial in soothing injuries, such as sprains and bruises. As an herb, arnica is usually used topically (on the skin) because it can cause serious side effects when taken by mouth. There are some oral preparations that contain arnica only in a dilute form because it can be dangerous. If you have any questions about whether you have the herbal or homeopathic form of arnica, talk to your doctor.


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