Skip to content
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

Chronic Pain: Why You Shouldn't Ignore It

Remember your gruff high school coach's advice for treating an injury? "Just walk it off." Turns out your coach should have been sidelined for making a bad call, because while this strategy might have worked for the odd skinned knee, it's downright dangerous for serious pain. Still, a staggering one in 10 Americans reports that he or she has had regular pain for more than a year. Pain is the No. 1 cause of disability in the United States. So why can't we find relief? Experts say that some people...

Read the Chronic Pain: Why You Shouldn't Ignore It 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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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
    Lifestyle Guide

    Which Nutrients
    Are You Missing?

    Learn More

    Today on WebMD

    vitamin rich groceries
    Do you know your vitamin ABCs?
    St Johns wart
    Ease hot flashes and other symptoms.
    Are you getting enough?
    Take your medication
    Wonder pill or overkill?
    fruits and vegetables
    Woman sleeping
    Woman staring into space with coffee

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.