From the Asteraceae family, mountain arnica is also called mountain betony, Alpine plantain, Vosges tobacco… It is recognizable by its orange-yellow flowers appearing from May to July depending on altitude. In France, it grows in mid-mountain pastures up to 2,800 meters in the Pyrenees, the Vosges, the Massif Central, the Alps… Subject to intensive harvesting threatening the species, it is now listed in as a protected species in some European countries and French departments. This is why we recommend that you give preference to brands using organically grown arnica or communicating on the responsible and sustainable aspect of their harvesting: wild harvesting by hand, without uprooting the underground stems or harvesting the fruiting plants. This is the case for the brands offered in our selection.
The flagship remedy for trauma
Analgesic, soothing and anti-inflammatory, arnica soothes trauma as soon as it appears: blow, bump, hematoma, shock, contusion… It also acts on sunburn, superficial burns, diaper rash or even nosebleeds. . The WHO recognizes its traditional use as a local treatment for pain and inflammation caused by minor contusions, bruises or hematomas, insect bites and superficial phlebitis. Natural analgesic and muscle relaxant, it also relieves muscle tension, joint pain, body aches, sprain, dislocation, tendonitis. It also has healing, vasoprotective, antioxidant properties, and is also known to relieve venous insufficiency. Finally, used in mouthwashes and very diluted, it can relieve canker sores or gingivitis (do not swallow it).
Its active ingredients
Arnica has several molecules, present mainly in its flowers, which give it its many medicinal properties. Its active ingredients have anti-inflammatory and analgesic virtues, essential oil (antibacterial virtue), coumarins (vascular-protective properties), carotenoids which give the orange-yellow color to flowers and substances with antioxidant properties (flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamins C and E).
- Low dilutions of arnica (4 or 5 CH, 6 DH)6 are recommended before minor muscular effort, when warming up, to prevent stiffness.
- Medium dilutions (7 or 9 CH, 10 DH) are recommended during intense sports activity, to support the effort and avoid cramps and aches.
- High dilutions (15 or 30 CH, 30 DH) are to be taken in case of violent shock, whether physical or emotional. To promote sleep following unusual physical effort, take 5 granules in 15 CH in the evening. Finally, homeopaths prescribe it before or after a dental extraction (a dose in 15 CH the day before a dental extraction to limit the appearance of a hematoma) or to prepare for a surgical operation (5 granules in 9 CH two times a day for 3 to 4 days before the operation and three times a day after the operation until complete recovery). Do not take if you are hypersensitive to arnica or allergic to other plants of the Asteraceae family.
In the form of ampoules, drops
Containing purified water and ethanol, they are used in the event of sports muscle overwork, tendinitis or sprains. Dosage: one ampoule per day or 50 to 150 drops, depending on the person and the severity of the disorder. Always seek medical advice, and avoid in pregnant women, children under 12, if you suffer from liver disease or epilepsy.
Obtained by hydroalcoholic maceration of fresh flowers, it is used in the local treatment of minor trauma (bump, bruise, contusion). Apply it to the painful area, two to four times a day on intact skin, never on an open wound. Avoid in pregnant women and children. We do not recommend taking it orally.
Oily macerate (or oil)
It is made from arnica flowers cold macerated in virgin vegetable oil (sunflower, olive), then filtered. Its richness in essential fatty acids (linoleic acid, oleic acid, etc.) and vitamin E gives it antiseptic, healing and antioxidant properties. Choose a 100% natural macerate or oil without preservatives, preferably organic. Use it only for external use: as a massage oil after a sports or gardening session, in case of body aches, sprains, muscle pain… It can also be suitable for sensitive skin prone to redness, and protect skin aging. Store it in an opaque glass bottle away from heat and light.
Gel, cream, balm
Whatever the texture, the result is the same. The important thing is to check the arnica content, because some products contain very little. A quality gel or cream should contain 7 to 10% arnica (Arnica montana flower extract or mother tincture), an ointment 25% arnica tincture mixed with 75% vegetable oil. Favor a product with the fewest possible and above all natural ingredients (shea butter, beeswax, glycerin of vegetable origin, essential oil, carrageenan, vitamin E, sesame oil, etc.). Ban allergenic preservatives (benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, sodium dehydroacetate), triethanolamine (toxic, its production results from the reaction of ethylene oxide with ammonia), synthetic polymers (carbomer) and mineral oils petroleum derivatives (paraffin oil, petrolatum). Apply your product two to three times a day until improvement, in a thin layer on a bump or a bruise, in massage in case of muscle or joint pain. Do not apply on open wounds, infected lesions, oozing dermatoses as well as near the eyes and mouth. Use them on an ad hoc basis, because a prolonged or too dosed application of an arnica-based product can cause irritation, redness, itching and eczema.
Sprayed for three seconds by sweeping over the sore area from a minimum distance of 15 cm, it diffuses intense cold, which quickly relieves shock or muscle pain. By creating a thermal shock, it reduces inflammation, slows the flow of blood to the trauma and thus prevents the formation of a bruise or oedema. Be careful when using it, as the sprays are flammable aerosols (containing butane, propane, isobutane). Check the composition of the product, because the majority of these sprays contain perfume (allergenic), methylal (solvent that can cause irritation of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract8), isopropyl myristate (comedogenic) , paraffin oil derived from hydrocarbons (not very biodegradable). Prefer those combining arnica with natural ingredients (apricot kernel oil, menthol, witch hazel, harpagophytum, etc.).
Arnica flower extract (obtained by maceration, distillation or CO2 extraction) is sometimes used in cosmetics, in the composition of hand creams, shampoos, body milks. In the INCI list of ingredients, you will find it under the names Arnica montana flower extract or Arnica montana flower oil. But beware, it’s not just arnica! Read labels carefully and track down synthetic components that are harmful to health or have an impact on the environment, such as polluting synthetic polymers (PEG-100 Stearate, disodium EDTA). Be particularly wary of shower gels, bath oils and effervescent bath pebbles based on arnica, sometimes guaranteed without preservatives, silicone or mineral oil, but containing polysorbate 20 (pollutant), synthetic dyes (CI 47005, CI 15 985…), allergenic synthetic fragrances or other toxic substances.