Arnica refers to a group of flowering perennial plants from the daisy family, these plants are native to both the Europe and Siberia mountainous regions although they are also cultivated within North America. The name ‘Arnica’ originates from a Greek word, arni, meaning lamb as a reference to the plant’s hairy but soft leaves.
Being well-known as a herbal and natural medicine, it is recognizable due to it’s yellow petalled flowers and orange centre. Due to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of the arnica essential oil, it can provide many benefits for the human body, giving it the solid reputation it has as a natural medication. The plant itself grows anywhere between 1 and 2 feet tall, producing one to three flower blossoms per each individual plant. The stems are round an hairy, and the upper leaves of the plant can be described as ‘toothed’ as well as being slightly hairy too. Lower leaves of the arnica plant instead of being toothed are more rounded in shape.
Across the world there are several different species of the arnica plant, however the most renowned is the Arnica Montana (also known as either the Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco and even Wolf’s Bane). This plant can be found growing in meadows which are up to 3,000 feet above sea level. The higher the altitude in which the plant grows at, the more aromatic and useful the flowers of these plants tend to become.
Arnica blossoms can be used to make arnica oil, of which is an especially useful aromatic and yellow in colour essential oil. This oil should not be applied directly to the skin undiluted however, although can be used as a healing salve or skin treatment once incorporated into a gel, ointment or even cream for the user. Likewise, the 100% pure arnica oil is not recommended for use in aromatherapy due to being too potent for an individual to inhale, although can be found within many commercially available perfumes and fragrances to use.
So, what are these many benefits of which arnica essential oil can be used for? Let’s find out!
The 12 most phenomenal health benefits of arnica oil.
Bruises can be sore, unsightly and super annoying right? So if we told you there was a easy and natural way to heal these sore discolourations of the skin, caused by ruptured underlying blood vessels, that would be just awesome. Well, there is! One of the best ways to do this is by simply using diluted arnica oil (we recommend using a carrier oil such as coconut) and applying topically twice daily on the affected site.
Note: Do not apply arnica oil on broken or grazed skin, and especially not on open wounds.
One study found that the use of arnica oil as a topical application was much more effective at reducing bruises, in comparison to low-level concentrations of vitamin K. This was thought to be a result of the many identified ingredients within arnica that account for anti-bruising, some of which are surprisingly caffeine derivatives.
Homeopathic arnica for seasickness.
When consumed homeopathically arnica oil may be useful for curbing issues such as general nausea, travel sickness and sea sickness.
DO NOT consume pure arnica oil as this will cause side effect and may make you very ill.
You can buy arnica oil in the form of a tablet, consisting of extremely low dosages which are safe to consume, you can find these here.
Some research has found the usefulness of arnica essential oil in treating some forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, making the substance a potentially effective natural medication regarding this condition. One study found that the topical application of arnica oil could be as effective as the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, regarding the treatment of arthritis in the hand region.
Furthermore, arnica has also been said to be useful upon the treatment of osteoarthritis within the knee area.
And rheumatism too!
Another form of arthritis is called rheumatism, of which arnica oil may potentially be able to make more manageable in terms of symptoms.
Massaging diluted arnica oil into the affected area, alongside other essential oils such as wintergreen, has been praised for removing and reducing arthritic pain/ swelling.
Improves carpal tunnel syndrome.
As a excellent natural remedy for carpal tunnel syndrome, arnica oil can provide relief from the pain associated with this condition as well as prevent the need for surgery in the future. Contrastingly, however, those who opt to have surgery to fix this condition have stated that arnica oil is a useful tool during the healing process relieving pain within the area.
It is no doubt that arnica’s strong anti-inflammatory effects make it a good choice for sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome, allowing them to maintain a normal pain-free lifestyle.
Relieves pain from sprains, muscle aches and inflammations.
As previously mentioned, arnica is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever -perfect for many issues within the body such as sprains, pulled muscles, inflammation and even lower back pain. Participants within one study using arnica oil on key muscle areas topically via the skin, stated that they had a significant decrease in pain as well as muscle tenderness even after 72 hours post intense exercise sessions.
Encourages hair growth.
According to many men and women alike, arnica oil is one of the best secret treatments for hair growth, when used as a natural scalp oil. Simply use the oil regularly when massaging the scalp, to stimulate the hair follicles and promote healthy growth of new hair.
There are many brands of shampoo and conditioners which contain arnica oil for a health head of hair, scalp and to promote overall healthy growth. You can find such a shampoo and conditioner here and here respectively.
Stops hair loss.
Arnica oil can also be used to stimulate the hair follicles to grow thicker, healthier and new hair from areas which may be subject to thinning and hair loss. Many men experiencing male pattern baldness can benefit from frequent head massages and treatments using arnica oil in order to prevent further hair loss, as well as to encourage hair to regrow in areas it has fallen out in.
When searching online for arnica oil hair treatments you can come across many specifically designed for hair loss, such as this product for example which contains arnica extracts.
Pre and post surgical use?
As a hot topic debate, arnica oil hasn’t gained the approval of all experts –however, some say that using the oil prior to and after surgery can result in a reduced level of pain and bruising. This is usually recommended by plastic and cosmetic surgeons.
Always consult your doctor before deciding to use any such treatment prior to and after surgery, following their instructions and the recommended procedures for your specific operation. Different procedures also have different pre and aftercare, making the use of arnica oil in some situations dangerous whereas in other situations completely harmless, in some cases may even be useful in terms of pain and inflammation management.
Acne control and skin tone evening.
Arnica essential oil (if diluted by another carrier oil such as almond, avocado or coconut), can be useful in reducing acne as well as any ‘red puffiness’ in the skin. Simply combine one drop of arnica oil with 2 to 3 drops of another carrier oil in order to dilute it’s potentially irritating effects, we recommend using almond oil.
Furthermore, individuals have also claimed the oil’s usefulness in reducing dark under the eye circles, as well as age spots too. After diluting, apply to the skin around 2 to 3 times per day massaging in a circular motion during each application for roughly 2 minutes in order to achieve the best effects.
Note: Never apply on broken skin/ acne related wounds. However, application on acne scars can also be very effective.
Treatment for insect bites.
Arnica can be super useful for treating insect bites. Even more so in those that are likely to cause either bruising, soreness or inflammation within the area (and surrounding areas) bitten.
Simply apply a small amount to the area, preferably after combining with other oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint to create a healing salve. This healing salve should be used as an ointment and applied in small amounts onto the affected area every few hours, or when symptoms of itchiness and pain persist.
Foot baths for sore and aching feet.
One fantastic use and benefit of the arnica essential oil is use within a foot bath. Simply apply a very small amount of the oil into hot water, perhaps alongside other useful oils, and soak your feet in the water for soothing and pain relieving effects.
It should smell fantastic also!
Arnica oil side effects.
If you suffer from a pre-existing allergy to ragweed and other related plants, it may be wise to avoid the use of arnica essential oil. Plants within the Asteraceae/ Compositae family include marigolds, daisies, arnica, ragweed and chrysanthemums too. Check with your healthcare provider before using arnica oil if you are known to suffer from any allergies relating to any of the plants listed here. Do not take arnica oil orally.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Consuming arnica essential oil by mouth (in any dose) or applying to the skin topically is considered likely to be unsafe during both pregnancy, and while breastfeeding your child. In order to be as safe as possible, we recommend avoiding arnica oil altogether during these periods in a woman’s life.
Do not apply arnica essential oil on open wounds, grazes or any type of broken skin. The oil may only irritate the area and you are at a risk of too much being absorbed into the body, which may cause potentially harmful effects.
When consumed orally, in any dose, arnica oil can irritate the body’s digestive systems. We highly recommend avoiding the homeopathic (and especially normal, or higher than minute amounts) consumption of arnica oil if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or other stomach/ intestinal-related conditions.
Increases heart rate.
The use of arnica essential oil may increase your heart rate, thus should be avoided if your heart rate is unstable or faster than the average person’s.
Likewise, arnica can cause high blood pressure in some individuals. If you suffer from hypertension avoid the use of arnica essential oil in order to be on the safe side.
Vomiting and diarrhea.
Consuming larger amounts of arnica oil orally (larger than homeopathic doses), can cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and even intense stomach cramping in some situations. Be very cautious when consuming the essential oil in minute or tablet amounts, take special care to not overdose.
This substance may cause excess bleeding during and post surgery in some individuals. Some experts recommend ceasing use of arnica oil around 2 weeks prior to any pre-planned surgeries.
Arnica oil is not recommended to be consumed orally, unless in homeopathic amounts. However if you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, it may be wise to not consume this substance in any amounts.
Always consult your doctor prior to taking any new medications, whether herbal or not, for advice and help as well as monitoring.
We here at Balance Me Beautiful appreciate hearing from our readers, so feel free to let us known in the comment section below your favourite use for arnica essential! Or perhaps the oil hasn’t worked at all for you? Let us know below.
Furthermore, if you instead have a question, worry or even future article suggestion you can contact us via our Contact Page, we’re ready and waiting to hear from you!
As ever, thanks for reading guys and come back soon for more helpful advice and useful knowledge!
By Chess Taylor.