An arnica ointment or salve relieves the pain and reduces inflammation of sprains and bruises.
A tincture is used to treat wounds. Studies have found it contains helenalin and dihydrohelenalin which produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. To make a liniment, heat one ounce of Arnica flowers in one ounce of lard or oil for several hours. Strain the mixture and let cool.
Internal use is not recommended.
Cardiac toxicity has been demonstrated, and its effects on respiration and the uterus require further study. Oral administration of arnica is often accompanied by severe side effects. Contemporary studies demonstrate in vitro antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, positive inotropic, respiratory-stimulating, and uterine activities. Experimental trials suggest further potential uses. The Commission E has also approved the external use of arnica flower for inflammation of the oral and throat region, furunculosis, inflammation caused by insect bites, and superficial phlebitis.
The plant grows up to two feet in the mountainous regions of Europe and western North America. It is a true perennial herb with round, hairy stems ending in one to three flower stalks. The flowers are yellow-orange and daisy-like. In Europe it is cultivated to fill the demand for the estimated three hundred arnica-containing tinctures, ointments, and homeopathic remedies manufactured for the German market. Dried orange-yellow flower heads supply a therapeutic volatile oil, that contains fatty acids, aromatic terpenes, flavonoids, tannins, as well as the sesquiterpenes of the helenalin type.
The soothing qualities of arnica have been used for a long time in Europe and North America.
Arnica is a common homeopathic remedy.
Unless otherwise prescribed: Infusion: 2 g of herb per 100 ml of water. Tincture: For cataplasm: 3–10 times dilution. For mouth rinses: 10 times dilution. As ointment: Not more than 20–25% tincture. “Arnica oil”: Extract of 1 part herb and 5 parts fatty oil. Ointments with not more than 15% “arnica oil.”
Special Precautions: Prolonged treatment of damaged skin may cause dermatitis in some individuals. If this occurs, discontinue use.