Arnica gel is a topical preparation that is made from extractions of the arnica flower petals. The arnica plant is native to Europe where it has been used as a topical remedy for hundreds of years. Arnica, also known as leopard’s bane, grows in the mountains and is cultivated in herb gardens for its medicinal properties. Arnica’s yellow flowers are harvested at the end of the summer and dried for use in herbal preparations.
Homeopathic Arnica Gel
Homeopathic medicine has been used for hundreds of years. In Europe, it is the second most widely used form of treatment. Homeopathic preparations use a highly diluted amount of plant substance in water. Arnica gel can be used safely with no drug interactions while still being effective in healing injuries and inflammations.
Herbal Arnica Gel
Herbal arnica gel is made from plant extracts that are soaked in oil or alcohol to draw the healing properties from the dried flowers. Arnica gel in herbal form has many of the same benefits as homeopathic arnica and is used effectively on soft tissue injuries and inflammation. Herbal arnica preparations are significantly stronger than the highly diluted homeopathic arnica perpetrations. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, herbal arnica gel has a higher percentage of plant extract which may cause irritation after prolonged use.
Arnica gel is used topically for injuries that result in soft tissue damage and inflammation. Apply arnica gel topically to bruises, swelling associated with sprains and fractures, arthritis and sore or strained muscles. Topical arnica gel is generally not used on broken skin as it can irritate an open wound or rash.
A study in Switzerland was designed to determine the effectiveness of arnica gel’s anti-inflammatory properties by comparing arnica gel use with an ibuprofen gel. According to online journal HealthWayMagazine.com, in both groups, the study showed an equal number of reduced joint stiffness, shorter durations of morning stiffness and less overall morning stiffness, indicating that arnica gel is as effective as ibuprofen gel. The study was designed after an informal study in the UK discovered that people suffering from osteoarthritis showed marked improvement with the use of arnica gel.
Arnica gel is an effective healing tool to assist in minimizing bruising, controlling inflammation and speeding up the healing process after injury or strain. Homeopathic arnica gel is generally mild and safe to use on children and babies. Arnica can cause irritation, so when using arnica gels, particularly herbal arnica gel, discontinue use if irritation occurs. A select few people are allergic to arnica and should avoid it all together. Arnica gel is a topical preparation and should be limited to external use on unbroken skin.
References and ResourcesHealthy Way; Arnica: As Effective as Ibuprofen; Catherine Lang; Issue 35; Article 9.
University of Maryland Medical Center-Arnica