Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Arnica - Topic Overview

What is arnica?

Arnica, also called Arnica montana, is a plant that is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and southern Russia. The flowers and leaves of this plant have many traditional medicinal uses.

Arnica is available as an ointment or gel and can be found in most health food stores.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

WebMD 5: What You Need to Know About Pain

As with other subjective experiences, such as love, fear, or anger, there's no way to objectively measure pain. We asked Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the Pain Management Division and associate professor of anesthesia at Stanford University School of Medicine, to explain the unpleasant sensation we all feel in different ways.

Read the WebMD 5: What You Need to Know About Pain article > >

What is it used for?

People use arnica as a cream or gel for soothing muscle aches and inflammations and healing wounds. When applied to the skin, it may improve healing by decreasing swelling and pain and speeding blood reabsorption.

People also apply arnica to the skin for treatment of acne, boils, and rashes.

Is it safe?

Arnica is recommended for external use only. Do not put arnica inside your mouth or swallow it. The plant is poisonous and, if swallowed, it can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, cardiac arrest, and death.

Do not use arnica if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Do not use it on open wounds or broken skin. Stop using arnica if you develop a skin rash.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate arnica in the same way it regulates medicine. It can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works or on its safety.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative product or if you are thinking about combining one with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative product.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Vitamins and
Supplements
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
Related Newsletters

Stay Informed with the latest must-read information delivered right to your inbox.