arnica montanaMost people outside of Mexico have never heard of arnica. The Mexican people use many homeopathic and natural remedies and this seems to be one of their favorites. In Mexico the species Heterotheca Inuloides along with Gaulheria Procumbens and Myroxlon Pateirae is used and one older brand is even called Arnica de la Abuela meaning Arnica of the grandmother. Makes sense as for years grandmas had their tins of Arnica on the shelf handy for everyone to use.

The most commonly used arnica is the Arnica Montana which is native to Europe and Asia. In Brazil the species Solidago Microglossa DC is known as arnica. Apparently all these plants are not equal but they all state that they are anti-inflammatory. The word arnica comes from the Greek, “arnikos” which means sheepskin. I know there must be a connection there someplace. Arnica is a genus of around 30 species of perennials.

Arnica should not be taken internally directly as the plant contains highly toxic compounds. Applied as an ointment arnica can relieve sore muscles, reduce inflammation, heal bruises and superficial wounds, help reduce swelling from broken bones, reduce the inflammation of insect bites, sprains and arthritis. Prolonged use can cause irritation and allergic reactions are possible and if this happens just stop using it right away. Pregnant women should not use arnica.

Arnica is used as a natural remedy in tea, capsules, tablets, topical ointments and even in spray form. In this case it is taken internally but has been so diluted that it cannot cause any harm while still delivering the anti-inflammation benefits. It is also used as a tincture that can be used as the base for compresses and poultices. There is also an oil of arnica that can be is used in topical preparations.

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