Arnica (Arnica montana) is a plant that grows in mountainous areas, and can be found in the northern United States, Canada and the European Alps. It is called “mountain daisy” because of its bright yellow or orange daisy-like flower. The flowers and root are used traditionally to prepare topical remedies for relief of pain.
Arnica is great for bruises, sprains, soreness, and swelling and for the relief of arthritis, muscle, and joint pain. It comes as tinctures, creams, salves, ointments, gels and oils, all for topical use. You can massage it into any injured area with unbroken skin.
Never apply arnica in any form on broken skin or on an open wound. Arnica is toxic if it gets inside the body. (Other names for this herb are leopard’s bane and wolf’s bane.) Never take arnica internally, unless it’s in the form of little white homeopathic pills that contain too little arnica to cause harm. The 30X to 60X potency is used as a first-aid treatment for trauma - a dental procedure, for example, or any sport’s related injury or accident involving sprains, strains, or bruising. Pour four pills into the cap of the bottle, then toss them into your mouth, under your tongue. (Never handle homeopathic pills, in order to preserve their energetic qualities.) The pills can be taken every two hours for the first 24 hours after the injury but not within a half hour of eating.
Some people are sensitive to the compound helenalin in arnica. The sensitivity shows up as a mild rash - if this happens to you, just stop using the arnica.