Arnica herb, known for its medicinal properties is a genus of 30 species. This plant belongs to the Asteraceae family of sunflowers. It offers many benefits and therefore, finds an important place in the list of medicinal herbal plants. Arnica plant is mainly found in Europe and North America. However, eastern region of Asia also has many Arnica species. In olden days, the North Americans used this medicinal herb for improving blood circulation and in the treatment of sore throat. These people also used the herb as a febrifuge. A febrifuge is a medicine used in the treatment of fever. Following are some of the arnica uses which will help you to get a wider view of this herb.
The use of arnica for medicinal purposes has a long history. This plant was used by the famous German poet, Goethe in the treatment of chest pain. Tea prepared from leaves of arnica was used by Goethe for the treatment of chest pain. It is important to note that one shouldn't take arnica without the guidance of a medical practitioner. Arnica is most commonly used as a topical medicine i.e. for the treatment of skin disorders. However, there are many other purposes for which this herb can be used. Let us understand more about the applications of this medicinal herb through paragraphs below.
The herb is effective in the treatment of pain. A component called sesquiterpene lactone present in this herb is helpful in the healing of pain. Applying arnica externally results in proper blood circulation to that specific body part. The increase in blood supply automatically warms that body part and reduces pain to a great extent.
Arnica oil is mainly used for the treatment of injuries, bruises, swellings, sprains and dislocation. The macerated oil especially proves to be helpful in the treatment of strained muscles and bruises. The macerated arnica oil is prepared by infusing the arnica plant in a certain base oil. Muscle relaxation is one of the important benefits of arnica oil. It helps by reducing the soreness of muscles.
The oils obtained from flowers, roots and rhizomes of arnica plant are used in the preparation of perfumes; these are volatile oils present in small amounts. Arnica is used in reducing the recovery time of physical trauma; it is also used to recover from overexertion. Arnica oil is used for stimulation of hair follicles and rejuvenation of scalp. Creams made from arnica are used to provide temporary relief from skin-related problems like sunburn. Similarly, insect bites can also be treated with medications that are prepared from arnica. The sesquiterpene lactone component of arnica also acts as anti-inflammatory agent.
The herb should be used carefully since, it can have harmful consequences if taken internally. The different problems that result from intake of arnica include nausea, stomach discomfort and vomiting. The other side-effects that result from intake of arnica include shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythm, etc. Diluted form of arnica is considered safe for oral intake. Full doses taken without dilution are considered to be toxic. There are chances of a person getting affected by dermatitis if arnica is applied externally. Other problems that result from external use of arnica are itching, redness of skin, irritation, etc.
Arnica Plant Identification
The flowers of arnica plant are yellow in color and resemble the blooms of daisy. Some of the species of arnica also have orange colored flowers. Size of the arnica flowers ranges from 6-8 cm. The number of florets in a single flower are 10-15. Arnica plants possess roots that go deep into the soil surface.
Arnica herb is known to have a lot of benefits. It is however, necessary to keep in mind the harmful effects that result from use of this herb. One should always consider the pros and cons of medicines before using them. It is therefore, necessary to follow the advice of medical practitioners so as to prevent any side effects and make good use of a given medicine.