This website was awarded Natural Health Journals Editor's Choice.
The award is made to selected
health web sites that exhibit:
* Quality and reliable information on natural health topics including;
alternative and holistic medicine, conditions and diseases, exercise
and fitness, healthy lifestyles, diet and nutrition
* User accessibility and support
* Exceptional web design and easy navigation
Arnica Montana is also known as Leopard's bane, wolf's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica. Its orange-yellow flowers and the rootlets are naturally therapeutic. It’s grown in herb gardens found across many European countries. It has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s.
The plant also contains derivatives of Thymol, which may have anti-inflammatory effect therefore it has many uses in reducing pain and swelling and promoting healing by increasing circulation to the blood vessels. Arnica Montana acts best on skin with debilitated and impoverished blood. When applied on skin it helps circulation to relax blood vessels. This promotes tissue regeneration and healing.
Arnica Montana contains a toxin call Helenalin, if ingested by mouth in large quantities, could be very harmful because it causes gastroenteritis and internal bleeding in digestive tract. Even though it’s seldom used in the ingested form, it has some diuretic effects and it is chiefly used in low fevers.
Homeopathic preparations of this drug are diluted to the point where it is not toxic any more. These are safe for digestion. Homeopathic preparations come in the forms of liquid and pills. Creams and ointments forms are more commonly used as a homeopathic medicine.
Arnica used in its external form is extremely useful in promoting healing by increasing blood flow to areas that are injured. This medicine is primarily used to treat strains, sprains, rheumatic pain, inflammation from insect bites, and bruises. Professional athletes with swelling due to fractures also frequently use commercial preparations. Athletes often carry arnica with them to help with muscle soreness.
Arnica Montana is one of the most popular alternative remedies used by consumers today. This remedy is commonly called leopards bane or Arnica. Arnica is a plant that blooms around July throughout Europe.
Arnica Montana is touted as a remedy that can reduce soreness, bruising, traumatic injuries and sprains. Arnica comes in two forms. A herbal form and a homeopathic form. Arnica in the herbal form is basically extracts of the blossoms made into a liquid, ointment, gel or cream. Many times this extract may be combined with alcohol and shaken vigorously. This combination of extract and alcohol is called the mother tincture. Homeopathy may call this 1X or Q potency. Most gels, creams and ointments are made from the mother tincture. This remedy is rubbed into your body where the injury occured. The herbal form or homeopathy tincture is not to be digested as it will cause nausea and vomitting.
The homeopathic form of Arnica is diluted in water or alcohol. The homeopathic form is safe to eat since the dilutions have weakened the side effects of this remedy. The dilutions of Arnica vary. The more diluted Arnica is used to treat more traumatic injuries. Less diluted Arnica is used to treat less severe injuries. A potency used to treat a severe injury would be Arnica 30C. A potency which helps less severe or chronic injuries would be 6C.
We are going to examine several trials with Arnica gel. In the first trial with Arnica, we are going to look at is a trial with carpel tunnel release surgury. This trial actually uses both homeopathic Arnica tablets and Arnica gel. This study compares how much bruising is experienced post carpel tunnel surgury. These medicines are compared against a placebo group. 37 adults participated in this trial. The results showed that grip strength and wrist circumference were exactly the same as the placebo group after surgury. However, perceived pain was significantly less in the Arnica group. It is difficult to determine in this trial if the Arnica gel had an effect or the homeopathic Arnica tablets.
A small study done in Miami looked at arnica gel to see if it
would reduce bruising after laser surgery to the face compared to a placebo. There were 19 participants. They were divide into two groups for making a comparison. The study found arnica gel to be no better than a placebo at reducing brusing after surgury.
Another trial examines arnica gel trial for treating osteoarthritis in the knee. In this study, 26 men and 53 women were given herbal arnica gel. The participants reported significant reductions of pain with the gel. The study did not have a placebo group so the trial was far from conclusive.
The final trial compares Arnica gel to Ibuprofen in a double blind study. This study compares 204 patients with osteoarthritis in their hands. The study had 2 groups. The study compared pain intensity and hand usage after 21 days of using an Ibuprofen gel and Arnica gel. The study found that Ibuprofen and Arnica were both equally effective in treating osteoarthritis in the hands.
More studies are needed on arnica gel to see if it is effective. Most studies are too small to draw any definite conclusions. However, there seem to a few positive studies suggesting arnica gel is effective in reducing pain and swelling.
1) Jeffrey SLA, Belcher HJCR. Use of arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2002;8:66-68.
2) Alonso D, Lazarus MC, Baumann L. Effects of topical arnica
gel on post-laser treatment bruises. Dermatol Surg.
3) Arnica montana gel in osteoarthritis of the knee: an open, multicenter clinical trial. Knuesel O, Weber M, Suter A. Department of Rheumatology, Valens Clinic for Rheumatism, Valens, Switzerland.
4) Reto Widrig, Andy Suter,
Reinhard Saller, Jörg Melzer. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical
treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study. Rheumatol
Int DOI 10.1007/s00296-007-0304-y.
Arnica Montana is a plant that belongs to the sunflower family. Common names for Arnica are leopard's bane, wolf's bane and mountain tabacco. Arnica naturally grows primarily in mountainous areas in Europe. The plant looks very similar to a dandelion and it is a poisonous plant if eaten.
picture above of Arnica Plant
Herbal Uses For Arnica
Arnica is used for sprain, strains and other aches and pains in ointments. The plant seems to create an antiflammatory effective. Arnica is applied externally to aches and pains. Arnica is generally not take internally because the plant is poisonous.
Homeopathic Uses For Arnica
Homeopathic arnica is diluted. This application is usually applied externally. Some homeopathic arnica prepartions may be taken orally since the poison has been diluted.
Homeopathic arnica is used primarily to treat aches, pains and bruises. The herbal preparation and the homeopathic preparation generally treat the same conditions.
Research on Arnica
There have been several double blind trials with Arnica Montana in Homeopathy.
Vickers et al., 1998
Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 519 people; 400 completed the study.
Homeopathic remedies, including arnica, are not effective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.
Ernst and Pittler, 1998
Systematic review of eight trials.
Rigorous clinical trials indicate arnica is not more effective than a placebo; most trials studied use of arnica for tissue trauma.
These 2 trials were of the highest quailty. Other trials with Arnica exist but many of them had similar results to the trials above. Many people say that Arnica works for them.
Some trials showed a slightly positive result. A 2007 controlled study looked at homeopathic arnica in
patients who had their tonsils removed. One group received arnica and
the other placebo. Patients were surveyed afterward; 111 out of 190
patients returned their questionnaires. The arnica group reported
slightly lower pain levels than the placebo group. However, the study was far from conclusive. The patients stayed in the hospital the same amount of time and took the same amount of pain killers.
The question remains is whether Arnica should be researched in double blind studies? Is this the best way to measure this homeopathic remedy? Is the homeopathic remedy effective in reducing soreness, brusing and inflammation? Let us hear your comments.