Nature has given us a lot of gifts. One of them is the abundant plants from which medications are extracted. Some have been known for centuries, and others are recently discovered. Arnica Montana is one of the plants that have been used as a homeopathic remedy for centuries.
Arnica Montana is a flowering plant that grows on moist clay soil, especially on meadows in the hills. The plant is found in countries like Siberia and other parts of Europe. It is found in the Northwestern United States as well, but it is not abundant there.
Arnica Montana has other names as the leopard’s bane and mountain tobacco. It is similar in its shape to sunflowers with large yellow heads.
The plant is used as a pain relief, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory remedy. The healing properties of Arnica were discovered long ago since the 12th century.
Most of the plant’s medical uses are topical uses as it has shown a degree of toxicity when taken by mouth. The mechanism of action of this remedy is not evident so far. However, much of its effect is attributed to the Helenalin and DIhyrdohelenalin chemicals. The two chemicals can affect the immune cells, but their specific actions are not precisely known.
How is Arnica Montana used?
Most uses of Arnica Montana are topical creams under the generic drug section. It means they can be applied without a prescription. Yet, applying Arnica Montana topical on open wounds and broken skin have very adverse effects. On the same side, oral pure Arnica Montana is unsafe and can lead to severe health consequences.
The uses of Arnica in the medical field are vast. Arnica creams or gels can be used to relieve muscle aches and soothe sore muscles; they can be used to treat bruises and reduce discoloration. Other uses are to relieve minor injuries and pain as post-procedure pain in cosmetic surgeons.
People who suffer from osteoarthritis use Arnica or one of its medical brand names to reduce pain and knee or hand stiffness.
Other uses of Arnica Montana
Although concentrated Arnica is unsafe, little portions diluted with other substances are used in the food and drinks industry. The FDA has recommended the safe amounts of using Arnica. In all cases, pure Arnica should never be used.
In food, Arnica is used as an ingredient to preserved food as candies, dairy desserts, puddings, and other flavored foods. While in drinks, Arnica is used mainly as a flavor.
Other industries that involve using Arnica Montana is the hair care and cosmetics industry. Arnica is a common ingredient in anti-dandruff products. It is also common in perfumes, cosmetics, and other hair products.
Side effects of Arnica Montana
As a topical treatment, Arnica doesn’t have notable side effects except for severe open wounds. However, as an oral application either in medical or food manufacturing, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe complications can go up to organ failure, heart failure, and death.
So, Arnica is best used as a topical treatment, not an oral medication. Much research has been done in this area and all direct to the same result of the effectiveness of Arnica as a topical treatment in contrast to an oral one. Food organizations either recommend not using Arnica or using this plant and its extract at the very minimum levels.
To sum up, if your question was, what is Arnica Montana? You now know the answer. If you are asking about whether to use it or not, you might have used it before, but you didn’t know. Uses of Arnica are so many that it may be present as an ingredient in some common products we use daily.