8 Surprising Benefits of Arnica Montana

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The unique health benefits of Arnica Montana include its ability to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, eliminate internal bleeding, promote hair health, prevent hair loss, moisturize the skin, protect the immune system, and improve the skin health.

What is Arnica Montana?

In the mountainous region of the United Kingdom, a striking yellowing flower can sometimes be seen, which is Arnica montana. With common names like mountain arnica, wolf’s bane, and mountain tobacco, this plant has been used for a variety of ornamental and medicinal functions for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, due to the changing climate and encroachment of populations, the amount of naturally growing Arnica montana is beginning to shrink. This is unfortunate, given its health benefits are so extensive and only fully being recognized and appreciated in recent decades. It has always been an herbal remedy in the United Kingdom, but as it begins to spread in other parts of the world, along with other species of arnica, the demand continues to grow. [1]

There are a number of beneficial compounds found in Arnica montana, specific helenalin, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, thymol, and various other ethers. This unique mixture gives the plant its powerful and well-known effects. While this plant should never be consumed orally, nor placed directly on open wounds, it has a wide range of topical uses that have made it an important herbal addition to many treatment regimens. [2]

Close up of yellow, blooming Arnica Montana flowers

Arnica Montana is a homeopathic topical pain relief agent. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Arnica Montana

Health benefits of Arnica Montana include:

Reduces Inflammation

The most common use of Arnica is as a soothing agent for inflammation. When it comes to sports injuries or strains from exercising, applying some of the Arnica montana extract or gel directly on the source of the pain can work wonders. You can quickly see reduced swelling, due to the organic anti-inflammatory compounds of the plant, and you should soon feel a loosening of the muscles around the affected area. [3]

Arthritis Relief

At the other end of the spectrum, the elderly also get extensive benefits from Arnica montana supplements. For those suffering from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions that naturally occur as we age, applying some gels or pastes with Arnica montana in them can quickly loosen those aching joints and reduce the swelling so that you can move easier and with less pain. [4]

Analgesic Ability

The anti-inflammatory ability is one side of the coin, but there is also the issue of pain relief. Pharmaceutical medicines like ibuprofen only cover inflammation, often leaving the pain behind, but Arnica montana naturally works as an analgesic as well to relieve topical pain all over the body. However, do not apply it on an open wound, as it does have high-potency compounds that should not be inside the body. [5]

Internal Bleeding

The unique mixture of organic compounds inside Arnica montana also helps it heal broken blood vessels in various layers of the skin, thereby eliminating bruising and the unsightly appearance of burst blood vessels and age spots. While research is still being done in terms of which other internal afflictions this herb can help, one thing is sure – if you’ve banged your body somewhere and don’t want to see black and blue in the morning, rub some arnica paste on it! [6]

Acne and Skin Disorders

In addition to working below the skin to eliminate bruising, Arnica montana also has slight antimicrobial properties, which makes it very beneficial for people suffering from skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and others. The inflammatory quality, combined with the antioxidant activity against whatever is causing the condition makes arnica popular with people who frequently suffer itchy, inflamed skin rashes, which can often be athletes with their gear – yet another reason why athletic individuals are so familiar with the herb. [7]

An infographic of the benefits of Arnica montana

Arnica montana is one of the best-known homeopathic remedies. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Promotes Hair Health

If you are beginning to find more hair in your comb then in your younger years, than you may be in the beginning stages of male pattern baldness, or premature balding. If you want to strengthen your hair follicles and prevent hair loss, adding Arnica montana extract to certain soaps and shampoos can significantly help. The rich nutrients bind to the hair and keep it looking younger for longer. In some cases, Arnica montana can even stimulate the growth of new hair, adding to your hair volume. [8]

Moisturizes the Skin

Although you don’t want to apply pure Arnica montana extract all over your skin, it can be mixed with carrier oils or creams to form an effective treatment for dry skin. This moisturizing agent is also important for hair health, as it can significantly protect against dandruff.

Postpartum Bleeding

After the delivery of a baby, one of the most undiscussed risks to the mother is post-partum bleeding. Tradition and research have shown that using homeopathic Arnica montana can also help reduce this bleeding and keep the mother as healthy and happy as her baby. [9]

Side Effects of Arnica

Arnica montana is not intended for oral consumption and can be quite toxic if consumed. Topical application of this herbal booster may benefit but it is important to consult your health specialist before trying it. Ongoing use of Arnica is also discouraged, as it has a very powerful effect on the skin and cause irritation if used for extended periods of time. Arnica is also used to stimulate the kidneys but can be quite hazardous in herbal solutions. The intake of large quantities can cause irritation to the gut. It is ensued by violent headaches, dilation of pupils, and then muscular paralysis kicks in. The whole nervous system is disturbed and results in death. Hence, arnica should be used wisely on the skin as it can cause nasty irritating rashes. [10] [11]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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