Arnica is a truly amazing form of naturopathic healing. This incredible plant is an herbaceous species, a perennial herb, which belongs to the sunflower family. It is found most commonly in the western temperate areas of North America, but there are also two known occurrences of it that are native to Eurasia.
The homeopathic properties of this herb have been used by humans for hundreds of years. Its flowers and roots are most commonly used in topical remedies such as ointments, gels and oils. But it is also used as a homeopathic dilution that is ingested. This form can be very dangerous, even fatal, when used incorrectly and should only be done under the supervision and direction of homeopathic health practitioner.
There are many documented benefits to using Arnica; and its uses include things from arthritis and carpal tunnel to fibromyalgia and migraines. The research done on people with osteoarthritis (using the topical gel), in one group affected in the knee and other affected in the hand, showed incredible results. There were significant decreases in both stiffness and pain observed in both groups. In the hand group there was even an improvement in its function that was comparable to the effects of ibuprofen.
The way that this herb works is by stretching out the blood vessels on the outer layers of your skin. It discourages the pooling of blood that adds to swelling by increasing the flow of blood to the area. This increased blood flow is why it is able to help with problems such as bruising, inflammation and faster healing time of wounds. For the same reason it has been used effectively in post-op patients to reduce their post-surgical swelling and pain.
Arnica is also not known to have any drug interactions with other medications, so it is safe to use in addition to anything else that you may be taking. You do need to be cautious to not overuse it though, to prevent any negative side effects from using the herb. It is recommended that the topical products not be used for more than two weeks consistently, and as mentioned earlier, the homeopathic dilution should only be used under the supervision of a professional trained to administer it. To give you an idea of the strength of the herb, it is typically diluted with 24 parts water due to its immense power.
A few things you should watch for when using Arnica are: aggravation of the skin, eczema, itching, blistering and any other reactions that could be an indication of an allergy to it. Though most of these side effects are only seen in people who have sensitive skin or pre-existing circulation issues, because this herb utilizes the circulation system to heal. This is definitely an herb you should look into for the many benefits it could add to your life.