What is Arnica Used For

Arnica (also referred to as Leopards Bane) is a plant used for medicinal purposes in Native American, European and homeopathic remedies. It is native to Europe and Siberia, but arnica herbs are grown all over the world. You may be wondering, what is arnica used for? The extract used is taken from the blossoms of the daisy-like plant and is most commonly used as a topical arnica cream, ointment, arnica oil or salve. Arnica has been used in this way since the 1500s, but recently has also been used as an internal medicine by homeopathic doctors.

The most common use of arnica is to topically treat arthritis, eczema, bruises, sprains, muscle pain, irritation due to insect bites or poison ivy, swelling and soft tissue trauma. It is available in drugstores as a salve, tincture or ointment and is meant to be rubbed on or applied to the affected area. It is not advised for broken skin and it should be discontinued if you experience skin irritation, peeling of the skin or blistering. Some people are allergic to the arnica herb and cannot use it at all, so you should watch for a reaction when you first apply it.

Some homeopathic doctors prescribe arnica preparations for internal use, but this practice is highly debated because arnica is potentially toxic when taken internally. Since the side effects are so dangerous, such preparations contain so little arnica that it is hardly detectable. If taken as prescribed, you should be able to handle the herb, but it is very important that you follow the doctor's orders exactly and you make both your homeopathic and allopathic doctors aware of any other over the counter or prescription drugs you are using.

Arnica is used internally to treat muscle aches, bruises and muscular conditions caused by overexertion or trauma. The remedies are prepared as injections, pills, mouthwashes (which should not be swallowed) or topical ointments. Common side effects are heart irregularities, vomiting, nervous disturbances and feeling dizzy or disoriented. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking the arnica preparation and alert your doctor immediately.

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