Arnica: Uses, Side effects, Toxicology

The perennial arnica grows from 0.3 to 0.6 m. Oval-shaped, opposite leaves form a basal rosette close to the soil surface. Arnica has bright yellow, daisy-like flowers that, when dried, are the primary parts used. Roots and rhizomes may also be used. Arnica is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and southern Russia. The unrelated plant monkshood (Aconitum spp.) is referred to as wolf’s bane.

What is it used for?

Internal and external preparations made from the flowering heads of arnica have been used for hundreds of years. Arnica was used extensively in European folk medicine and alcoholic tinctures were produced by early North American settlers to treat sore throats, as a fever reducer, and to improve circulation.

Homeopathic uses include the treatment of surgical or accidental trauma, as a painkiller, and in the treatment of postoperative inflammation of a vein caused by a blood clot and blood clot in the lung. It has been used externally for acne, bruises, sprains, and muscle aches.

It has also been used as a general topical counterirritant and a CNS stimulant, and as an antibacterial for abrasions and gunshot wounds. Arnica is also an ingredient in hair tonics, dandruff treatments, perfumes, and cosmetics.

What is the recommended dosage?

Arnica is classified as an unsafe herb by the FDA because of its toxicity and it should not be administered orally or applied to broken skin where absorption can occur. No consensus exists on external dosing, and evidence from clinical trials is lacking to support therapeutic dosing. In homeopathic use, less concentrated strengths have been used.

Side Effects

Arnica irritates mucous membranes and causes stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Allergy and skin reactions have been reported as well.


The plant is poisonous and ingestion can cause gastroenteritis, shortness of breath, cardiac arrest, and death. The flowers and roots of the plant have caused vomiting, drowsiness, and coma when eaten by children.

Keywords: arnica.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.