Natural Health Products - Arnica

Natural solutions to help manage your health and wellness.



General Information

Arnica is native to the meadows and mountain areas of Europe and North America. Commonly arnica flowers are used in herbal ointments and oils to reduce the swelling and pain from aches, bruises, and sprains on unbroken skin. Arnica has also been used as a flavoring ingredient in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, frozen dairy desserts, candy, puddings, gelatins, and baked goods. Do not take arnica by mouth unless it’s been extremely diluted by the manufacturer as a homeopathic product.

Common Name(s)

arnica, European arnica, leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco, arnica flower

Scientific Name(s)

Arnica montana L. (Asteraceae, Compositae)

How is this product usually used?

The flowerhead of the arnica plant is used medicinally. It is an herb that is applied topically. It may be taken by mouth when diluted as a homeopathic product.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Arnica is used for relieving pain and/or inflammation in muscles and joints (e.g., sprains, bruises, and joint pain).

People have also used arnica for:

  • inflammation of the mouth and throat
  • pain after tooth removal
  • inducing abortion
  • insect bites
  • diabetes-related eye problems
  • arthritis
  • acne
  • back pain

Some research suggests that in patients with arthritis of the hand, arnica gel was shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis such as pain, and stiffness, while improving function of the hand.

Reliable information is needed to show that arnica is helpful for its other uses.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

When taken by mouth, arnica can cause bleeding, diarrhea, nausea, shortness of breath, and vomiting. When applied to the skin, it can cause skin irritation.

Severe side effects that may occur when arnica is taken orally include:

  • coma
  • organ failure
  • heart damage

Arnica taken orally can also cause death.

Arnica can interact with some medications. It increases the effects of blood thinning medications (e.g., warfarin, heparin, clopidogrel) and herbal products (e.g., angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, and other herbs), and blood clot dissolving medications (e.g., alteplase) and increases the risk of bleeding. If you are taking any of these medications or herbal products, consult your health care provider before using arnica.

If your symptoms persist or worsen after taking arnica, you should consult your health care provider. You should stop using arnica at least 2 weeks before surgery (to prevent any severe bleeding).

You should also avoid taking arnica orally and applying it on broken skin, open wounds, mucous membranes, and eyes.
You should not take arnica if you are allergic to plants in the daisy/asteraceae/compositae family, such as ragweed, chrysanthemums ("mums"), marigolds, daisies, and others.

Do not use arnica if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Consult your health care provider if you have any questions.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Arnica.
  2. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Arnica.