Arnica Montana is part of an illustrious family of medicinal plants, a group that includes the likes of calendula, echinacea, and chamomile, and like its relatives, this flowering beauty also brings some fantastically respectable results for homeopathic practitioners.
Like many plants, arnica has anti-inflammatory properties, but unlike many others, its ability to take on serious ailments, especially with regards to recovery, is renowned. The secret of arnica’s healing powers is in its effect on blood circulation, the rate of which it increases, thus making certain recuperations quicker.
Most of the time, treatment with arnica comes in the form of topical applications via tinctures or ointments, but it can also — in very small, carefully regulated quantities — be used internally. It’s available online or at just about any place with homeopathic remedies, and here’s how to use it.
1. Sprains and Strains
Arnica specializes in dealing with injuries often associated with athletes or seemingly athletic endeavors. Basically, when our muscles and joints are pushed beyond a typical level, applying arnica to the troublesome area will help relieve pain caused by swelling and inflammation. It also comes highly recommended for treating fractures. Apply it to the area as an ointment, and relief should come quite speedily.
2. Rheumatic Aches
Rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, affect our muscles and the cushy bits around our joints. The results of such ailments, while often not life threatening, can be completely debilitating, making simple things like holding a toothbrush or sitting (due to lower back pain) difficult. Arnica can be a great natural pain reliever and treatment in the battle against these types of problems, which are not at all uncommon in modern lifestyles.
3. Bug Bites and Acne
While bug bites and acne are not at all the same thing, they do often look similar, so why not just stick them in the same category? Basically, we are talking about inflammation of the skin that can build up a lot of pressure and cause painful discomfort, and as we’ve established, arnica is perfectly suited for combating this ailment. That said, it is important not to put it on broken skin or open wounds, as too much may be absorbed into the body.
4. Scalp Issues, Including Balding
With its ability to stimulate blood circulation, arnica holds special regards in dealing with scalp issues, especially balding. While perking up hair follicles for hair growth, the antibiotic properties help to address other issues, like dandruff and itchy scalp. It is also believed to strengthen the hair itself, preventing both splitting and premature graying. It can be purchased in shampoos and conditioners.
5. Oral Health Problems and Sore Throats
Because arnica is particularly good at speeding up the healing process, it is often recommended in post-op practices, and amongst those in the list is after the removal of wisdom teeth. Additionally, in our mouths, arnica mouthwashes are good for relieving other pains, as well as subduing bacteria-based issues. Kiss gingivitis goodbye. However, for those using it this way, it is very important to do so correctly, as too much arnica can produce some serious side effects (coming later).
6. Skin Problems
Arnica, being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and containing several compounds beneficial to overall skin health, is used in many ointments and lotions for things like itching, irritation, infection, and eczema. Additionally, with its circulatory effects, it is also said to improve more unusual but still unfortunate skin conditions like frostbite and chilblain. This is, obviously, more often done with topical applications.
Now, the catch is that arnica, with all of its powers, must be taken quite seriously, and if used incorrectly, some fairly serious side effects can occur. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. It can be very harmful for those with chronic kidney and liver diseases. It can cause allergic reactions in some, so it should be carefully tested on a small spot before use. Also, it is possible to overdose on arnica, especially with internal applications, and this can lead beyond nausea and vomiting into full-on poisoning to death. In other words, serious results come with serious caution with this one.
Even for those suited for using arnica, it’s not meant for long-term, daily application, such as with preventatives, but rather arnica is a plant that treats ailments that already exist. This is one that it is worth consulting with a professional on. Who knew plants could contain such a punch!
Lead image source: Bjorn/Flickr