Arnica – medicinal uses
If you have had a blow, muscle pain or bruising surely a friend or relative (usually grandmothers or moms) have resorted to or have recommended you to put arnica ointment, but what is it ?, how does it work ?, what does science say?Learn more about this yellow flower whose benefits seem to be many.
These long flowers grow on the great mountains of the North and the Center of Europe (of course that nowadays it is also cultivated in many places besides its place of origin). Its leaves are soft and has been used for a long time as a traditional medicine in countries such as Austria and Germany.
It is said that using arnica internally can be toxic, but applied to the skin, many properties are known to heal sprains and bruises. It is usually used in ointments and creams that relieve muscle pain but there are also those who claim that it can cause skin allergies or rashes (rashes) .
As any supplement should be used with caution do it accompanied by a specialist who knows your health and always monitor the changes you may have (this includes the possible interactions of this herb with any other medication you are taking).
How it is used
Arnica is usually applied externally, on the skin for pains of all kinds, generated by sprains, blows, etc. Their presentations are usually in ointments, ointments and even the fresh gel plant. It is anti-inflammatory, soothing and helps considerably to heal bruises and sprains . It is not recommended to use if you have, in addition to the blow, a wound or bleeding.
Ingested, arnica is toxic, unless it is used in diluted preparations like homeopathy or tinctures. Although, according to the National Complementary and Integrative Health Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is very little evidence to support homeopathy providing effective treatments for specific conditions . And although some people believe that because the remedies are very diluted it is unlikely that they can cause side effects or interactions with other medications or herbs, they can do so. You have to be alert to this and notify the doctor if any treatment is used so that he or she knows it too.
Some research indicates that it helps to diminish the damage suffered by the retina of those who suffer from diabetes but there are few studies that support these benefits, so we must continue doing more tests before it can be established if it really works for this purpose.
It is also used in prolonged diarrhea (especially with children) taken but in very small doses, homeopathic, to control and decrease the constant evacuations. Remember that they are small quantities to avoid poisoning. And it is necessary to conduct more scientific studies for this use as well.
In gel, it has been used to cure osteoarthritis= , treat the pain and stiffness it causes and help to reduce inflammation, many people also use it in homeopathic doses to relieve pain after an operation. And, again in this case, although the initial studies suggest that it might work, the reports are mixed and additional studies are necessary.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared it unsafe because of the adverse effects of eating it, but in other countries such as Canada or Germany it is widely used in small doses.
It can increase blood pressure, heart rate, cause cramps, fever, hair loss, gallstones, kidney problems, respiratory problems, acute gastroenteritis, vomiting, nausea and may even be abortive.
In fact, for that stimulation that can cause in the uterus, its ingested use is not recommended during pregnancy, nor is it recommended during lactation, to avoid possible allergic reactions to the baby.
There is also a potential risk that it interacts with anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin or substances such as bromelain (which is found in pineapples, for example) since both arnica and these two cause the blood to be diluted. Therefore, in cases where it is indicated that the patient take an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots from clogging the bloodstream, combining two or more substances that have the same effect, could be potentiated and cause dangerous bleeding.
If you are allergic or very sensitive to any plant of the Asteraceae or Compositae family , such as calendula, chamomile, dahlia, chrysanthemum, daisy, sunflower, calendula, mugwort or dandelion, to name a few, It must be avoided and, although in general it is safe, (if it is ingested in homeopathic quantities) you also have to take care of its use if you have too sensitive skin and do not apply it for very long periods.
It is difficult to know with what other herbs or medicines can interact, because it is necessary to carry out scientific studies and to deepen the investigation but it is known that arnica can interact with some anesthetics and contradict drugs that reduce or control hypertension.
It increases the bleeding if it is combined with other anticoagulants and can affect those who take medicines to reduce cholesterol, in addition to reacting with medicines and herbs with anti-inflammatory effects.
So although in general it is an herb that is known in many fields and widely used and recommended, scientific research says that it is safe only within certain ranges of action and that it also has several side effects that are not normally heard.
It is very important that before following an alternative therapy (leaving conventional therapies for the help of herbs or supplements) or a complementary therapy (use conventional medicine and support other paths, such as plants), consult a specialist who knows all the medicines that you take and I can advise you on your treatment without risking your health.