Arnica: what is it for? Does it help treat muscle pain?

There are many plants classified as medicinal for the treatment of the most diverse conditions. These are very present in herbal and homeopathic medications.

An example of this is arnica , well known and used for a long time, especially to treat pain and injuries. Check out what are its benefits and some precautions to make a safe use of this plant:


What is arnica?

Arnica is a plant in the botanical family of Asteraceae . It is considered medicinal due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and anesthetic properties.

In general, all its parts can be used (flowers, leaves and underground stem).

Although it is a beneficial plant, it can also have a certain amount of toxicity. For this reason, most treatments with it are not for oral administration, but topical use – that is, application to the skin (except on open wounds).

It is also important to know that there are many species of arnica. This reinforces the need to not use it on its own, as some species have greater anti-inflammatory power, others have greater analgesic action – including, some have both.

For this reason, a professional will be able to indicate the treatment with the appropriate type for your case, in order to guarantee greater safety and make the therapy more effective.

Regarding the effectiveness of therapy using arnica, this is possible due to the presence of flavonoids (group of organic compounds) in this plant. Among them, two substances stand out:

  • Quercetin – it increases the resistance of blood vessels and decreases small clots that are often responsible for purple spots on the skin;
  • Inolina – works in conjunction with quercetin and is responsible for pain relief (that is, it has analgesic effect).

Thus, it is widely used in gel, lotion, ointment or cream. However, in some cases, homeopathic use can be made through ingestion in drops.

It should be noted that the guidelines for this use differ between Arnica montana and Arnica do mato , despite being from the same family. In the sequence, you can better understand what is the difference between them and their specifications:

Arnica montana and Arnica do mato are the same thing?

No . The Arnica montana is a plant that grows traditionally in the mountainous regions of Europe. Its use is intended to treat injuries, abrasions and even for pre- or post-operative care.

In contrast, Arnica do mato (or wild) is originally from South America. Although quite similar to Arnica montana and the same family, this plant belongs to another species – Solidago microglossa .

In general, both have analgesic and anti-inflammatory action, which allows topical use to relieve pain and treat injuries.

However, its main difference is in oral administration . This is because Arnica montana is not indicated for oral use, except for homeopathic preparations, in which it is diluted.

This restriction is due to its hepatotoxic action – that is, toxic to the liver.

Studies carried out in relation to the oral use of Arnica do mato have shown that the use of doses of 2,000mg / kg for short periods (7 days) does not cause toxicity.

So, it is safe for herbal administration by means of tinctures, extracts and infusions.

What are the types of arnica?

There are more than 60 species of arnica cataloged. In Brazil, these are found especially in the regions of Bahia, Goiás and the cerrado of Minas Gerais.

In general, they all have similar therapeutic benefits. That is, they can be used to treat injuries, bruises, etc.

As an example of the different types of arnica, we can mention a few:

  • Arnica montana ( Asteraceae );
  • Arnica do mato ( Solidago microglossa) ;
  • Arnica lychnophora ;
  • Arnica longifolia ;
  • Arnica rydbergii .

It is worth noting that each species tends to develop in a different region. As, for example, is the case of Arnica do mato, which is originally from Brazilian soil.

Benefits: what is arnica for?

Arnica is a plant with medicinal properties, which means that it can be used to treat different conditions. Check out some of its benefits:

  • Analgesic action – provides pain relief, as in the case of bruises;
  • Relief from rheumatic pain – possible due to its anti-inflammatory effects;
  • Minimizes and eliminates bruises;
  • Relieves discomfort caused by insect bites;
  • Reduces swelling – such as those caused by fractures;
  • Helps in the treatment of furunculosis (recurrent appearance of boils).

These are just some of the benefits that arnica provides. But, in general, it is known that its most popular use is for the relief of muscle pain and treatment of injuries, due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Is Arnica medicine?

Arnica is a plant with medicinal properties, that is, it can be used as an alternative or complementary treatment for some conditions. So it is not a medicine in itself.

However, there are ointments and homeopathic remedies that rely on arnica as an active substance. Check out more information:

Homeopathy (in drops)

As mentioned, the oral use of arnica is almost entirely based on the use of Arnica do mato. Despite being a homeopathic medication (that is, made from extracts from the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms), it should not be used deliberately.

Every type of medicine needs professional guidance, which guarantees an effective and mainly safe use. In the case of arnica, it is no different, especially due to the fact that if used in wrong doses, it can be toxic.

As an example of a homeopathic medication based on arnica, we can mention the oral solution Arnica do Mato EC .

According to the information in the package insert, its use can be made orally or topically (direct application to painful areas or with bruises) and is intended to act as an anti-inflammatory.

It is worth remembering that this type of therapy does not replace medical monitoring and traditional treatments. Pay attention to the symptoms and do not hesitate to seek a professional!


Undoubtedly, the most common use of arnica is in topical presentations: ointments, creams, spray or gel. Basically, it aims to help in cases of muscle injuries, bruises, torticollis, etc.

These medications can be taken with both Arnica do mato and Arnica montana. Check out some of the options:

  • Arnica Gel Herbarium ;
  • Arnica aliviol ;
  • Arnica Hertz ;
  • Ointment by Arnica Simões ;
  • Arnica Montana D1 – Homeopathy Almeida Prado .

Remembering that, even when doing this type of care, it is necessary to be attentive to the symptoms of the problem. If the pain or bruising does not relieve, see a doctor!

Is Brazilian arnica used to deflame?

-Yeah . Among the properties of arnica, there are substances with anti-inflammatory action.

Therefore, it can help relieve common symptoms of inflammation – such as pain, redness and even swelling.

These conditions are quite common when there is a contusion, muscle injury and especially in rheumatic problems (such as rheumatoid arthritis ).

But it is worth mentioning that arnica is a medicinal plant and serves as an alternative and complementary therapy, so that it does not replace traditional treatments. Therefore, if the symptoms do not alleviate, do not hesitate to seek medical help.

How to prepare arnica?

As mentioned, arnica has different presentations. That is, it can be for oral administration or topical use in ointments, sprays, creams or gel.

However, it is very important that these products are made by a qualified laboratory and not from homemade recipes – especially the oral version.

There are undoubtedly many home treatments that can be beneficial to health and help when combined with traditional therapies. However, when it comes to medicinal plants like arnica, it is necessary to redouble the care.

This, considering that its misuse can be toxic and / or cause harm. Thus, the ideal is that you do not try to prepare teas or ointments at home, but prefer to buy directly at a pharmacy.

However, it is worth mentioning a recipe option that homemade that can be used if you wish, to treat small bruises or to relieve the annoyance of insect bites and pain:

  • Mix one liter of alcohol with one of water, then add a few arnica leaves and leave them in this mixture for at least a week.

After that, you can apply this liquid to your skin to treat the conditions mentioned above.

Care and contraindications: who should not take it?

Contrary to what some people think, even medicines of natural origin, made from plants, can have contraindications – especially those for oral use.

In the case of arnica, it is no different. Check out who should not use it:

  • People allergic or hypersensitive to arnica;
  • People who are allergic or hypersensitive to any plant in the Asteraceae family ;
  • Patients with liver disease (liver) – in the case of oral use;
  • Pregnant and lactating women – unless otherwise indicated by a doctor.

In the case of pediatric use, it is necessary to consult a doctor in advance.

It is also worth noting that arnica should never be applied to open wounds. In addition, one should avoid continuous use for long periods, considering that it can leave the skin sensitive and even cause irritation.

Many medicinal plants can be beneficial to health, such as arnica for example. However, these therapies do not dispense with medical monitoring and traditional treatments when necessary.