HomeHealth articlesmuscle spasmWhat Are the Uses of Arnica?

Arnica is a herb that is often used as a skin treatment for aches, bruises, and pains. To learn about it in detail, read the article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At April 15, 2019
Reviewed AtAugust 22, 2022


Arnica is the best homeopathic remedy to treat muscle soreness and bruises caused after an accident or any other physical trauma. However, Arnica can be useful to treat various other health issues as well. Arnica montana is a homeopathic remedy prepared from yellow daisy-like flowers that appear in the months of July and August. This flower is mainly found on the moist, grassy upland meadows in the hills and mountains of northern and central Europe and is rarely seen in the northwestern United States. Arnica montana is one of the oldest remedies and has been used since at least the 16th century. The mountain people in that area have used it to relieve muscle aches and bruises.

What Are the Uses of Arnica?

Ointments and creams made from Arnica can be used to treat the following health issues:

  • Bruising.

  • Muscle soreness and aches.

  • Swelling and joint pain.

  • Inflammation.

What Are the Benefits of Arnica?

  • Anti-inflammatory Action - Arnica has an anti-inflammatory action, which makes it a well-known remedy for bruises or muscle soreness caused after physical trauma, an accident, or a heavy workout. It is also a good remedy for people who have arthritis.

  • Hair Fall - Arnica acts well on the scalp and hair. Hence it is helpful to treat hair problems like hair fall and dandruff. Arnica treats hair loss by stimulating the hair follicles and thus rejuvenates the scalp. Consistent use of Arnica in the form of shampoo or oil even reduces the chances of premature greying of hair and stops further hair fall. All you need to do is massage your scalp and hair from root to the tip with Arnica hair oil. You can also add a few Calendula drops to the oil for better results.

  • Stretch Marks or Scar Marks - Arnica is also useful in pregnancy stretch marks. Arnica gel or cream can be gently applied and rubbed at the site of the marks at least twice a day. The stretch marks will be reduced gradually.

What Are the Forms of Arnica Available?

Arnica is generally sold as an over-the-counter product in topical and oral forms.

  • Topical Arnica - Arnica is available as creams, gel, ointment, and tincture. Arnica tincture may be used to make a compress.

  • Oral Pellet - Arnica is available as a homeopathic oral pellet. Homeopathic remedies are considered safe as they are highly diluted.

  • Arnica Tea - Arnica is also available in the form of tea. However, in large quantities, Arnica can be poisonous. Internal use of Arnica is generally not recommended unless it is too diluted and taken under the care of healthcare professionals.

  • Other Forms - Other forms of Arnica are extracts, powders, oral supplements, aromatherapy oil, and dried wild-crafted herb.

How to Take Arnica?

Arnica can be taken orally either in the form of pills or liquid. It is also available in the form of cream or gel, which can be applied to the site of injury. Arnica is only to be applied on a closed wound and not on an open wound. If there is a cut or the wound is bleeding, do not use Arnica gel or cream locally. Arnica pills can be taken orally in such a situation. In case of acute injury or trauma, you can start taking Arnica 12C, four pills twice or thrice a day. If you see some improvement, then you can increase the dose to Arnica 30C and then 200C. Once you get a significant amount of improvement, you can stop taking further doses. It is often suggested to patients to keep a bottle of Arnica 30C handy wherever they go. People of all ages can safely take this medicine.

What Are the Contraindications and Interactions?

  • Arnica should not be taken along with blood thinning medicines as it is believed to slow blood clotting. The combination can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

  • Arnica is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • Arnica can interact negatively with the following medicine -

  • Heparin.

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Naproxen and Ibuprofen.

  • Plavix.

  • Coumadin.

What Are the Side Effects of Arnica?

  • Topical Use - In less diluted formulas, Arnica can cause mild allergic reactions.

  • Oral Use - Some forms of Arnica may contain detectable amounts of helenalin. When taken by mouth, helenalin can cause:

  1. Stomach pain.
  2. Diarrhea.
  3. Vomiting.
  4. Shortness of breath.
  5. Rapid heartbeat.
  6. High blood pressure.
  7. Mouth and throat irritation.
  8. Easy bruising and bleeding.

What Are the Precautions to Be Taken?

  • When Applied to the Skin - Arnica is considered safe when applied to unbroken skin, short-term. It is likely to be unsafe to apply Arnica to broken skin as it can be absorbed into the body.

  • When Taken by Mouth - Homeopathic Arnica is considered safe. They contain no active ingredients and have no side effects. It is also safe to take arnica in the amounts found in food. But taking it in amounts more than what is found in food is unsafe. Arnica is considered poisonous, and it can cause vomiting, heart damage, increased bleeding, organ failure, coma, and death.

  • For Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women - It is considered unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and they are advised not to take Arnica by mouth or apply it to the skin.

  • Allergy to Ragweed and Related Plants - Arnica might cause allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to the Compositae family. This family includes ragweed marigolds, chrysanthemums, daisies, and many others. Such people should check with their doctor before applying Arnica to their skin and are advised not to take it by mouth.

  • Surgery - Arnica is believed to cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. It is recommended to stop using Arnica at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Arnica is a herb that is commonly used to treat pain. It is believed to help in relieving pain associated with muscle soreness and arthritis. In the undiluted form, it may cause side effects like rapid heart rate, nausea, and bleeding or bruising. Arnica may also interact with blood-thinning drugs. Always look for Arnica which is diluted and has been tested by a third party.

Frequently Asked Questions


Does Arnica Help With Muscle Recovery?

Yes, it does help with muscle recovery. Arnica helps repair soft-tissue injuries. It relieves sprains, strains, fractures, bruises, overexertion, and painful muscles. As a result, arnica helps many people recover faster.


How Effective Is Arnica for Muscle Pain?

The effectiveness of arnica gel has been called into question. Many people who use homeopathy and certain homeopathic healthcare providers claim its efficacy. However, there is insufficient proof from the scientific research community.


What Happens if You Take Too Much Arnica?

It is possible for large amounts of undiluted arnica to cause irritation to the skin, mucosa, and stomach, as well as it causes vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, damage to the organs, increased bleeding coma, and even death.


When Should You Not Use Arnica?

Broken skin, like leg ulcers, shouldn't be treated with arnica. Likewise, hypersensitive or allergic people should avoid  using the herb.


What Helps Muscles Heal Faster?

The following are some ways in which might improve muscle recovery:
- Take a good amount of water: The importance of drinking water after exercise cannot be underscored.
- Get adequate sleep: Receiving the recommended amount of sleep after engaging in any kind or level of physical activity is one of the most efficient recovery strategies.
- Eat healthy food and get regular massages


How Quickly Does Arnica Work?

It is advised to apply arnica cream two to three times per day for three weeks. People who use it claim that regular application reduces pain, bruising, stiffness, and edema.


Is Arnica Better Than Voltaren?

According to the conclusions of several studies, arnica and topical anti-inflammatory gels like Voltaren Gel are not significantly different from one another.


Does Arnica Relax Muscles?

Arnica gel is a plant-based treatment to ease pain and relax sore muscles when put on the skin.


Is Arnica as Good as Ibuprofen?

Arnica gel appeared nearly as effective as Advil (ibuprofen). Hand osteoarthritis patients reaped the benefits of reduced and better joint function. As claimed by homeopathic physicians and users, more studies are necessary to prove its effectiveness. Before beginning this product, discuss using arnica for osteoarthritis with your healthcare professional.


Is Arnica Harmful to Kidneys?

Yes, prolonged use of this herb can be harmful to kidneys.


How Much Arnica Can I Take in a Day?

Adults and children older than two years old can take three pills every four to six hours per day.


What Helps Repair Muscle Tissue?

To accelerate or enhance your muscle recovery:
- Stay hydrated.
- Enhance sleep.
- Apply pressure on the affected muscle.
- Change to Low-Impact Exercise While Recovering from an Injury.
- Increase Your Protein Intake.
- Restrict alcohol and tobacco use.


What Is the Best Supplement for Muscle Recovery?

These are the essential supplements for muscle recovery:
  - Supplemental protein: Protein aids with muscle repair. It helps muscles recover after an exercise. A popular protein is whey. Whey protein contains necessary amino acids. Some whey protein powders contain more than 25 grams (gm) per serving. Soy, egg, rice, hemp, and pea proteins are others.
- Supplemental BCAAs: Some amino acids aren't made by the body. Second-category amino acids are essential. BCAAs are in a supplement. This promotes healing. This vitamin helps build muscle and reduce fatigue. It soothes aching muscles.
- Supplemental fatty acids: Fatty acids aid muscle rehabilitation. Energy-rich and anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fatty acids lower fatigue and pain. It's injury-proof. Fatty acid supplements should be kept dark and refrigerated to maintain safety and quality.
- Supplemental creatine:  Creatine phosphate gives the body energy. Creatine supplements may enhance muscle rehabilitation.
- Supplemental citrulline malate: When used as a supplement, citrulline turns into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide opens blood arteries, boosting circulation. This speeds muscle recovery by improving blood flow and nutrient delivery. 
- Supplemental magnesium: Magnesium relaxes muscles, aiding healing. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps.


Does Arnica Work for Nerve Pain?

As it possesses anti-inflammatory characteristics, which would relieve nerve pain; however, there is no scientific proof that confirms that this herb helps with nerve pain. Despite this, it is claimed to have anti-inflammatory capabilities.


Is Arnica a Good Anti Inflammatory?

The anti-inflammatory effects of arnica have gained widespread recognition. This is because it contains various anti-inflammatory plant compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, and sesquiterpene lactones, among other anti-inflammatory plant chemicals. As a result, it is thought to be beneficial for the control of pain.
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Dr. Sheetal Kamble
Dr. Sheetal Kamble


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