In the 16th century, humans started to use Arnica as medicine. Back then, Arnica flowers were made into various remedies in the form of chews, compresses, teas, and others; none of which had evidence to support their safety or efficacy. Now, following hundreds of years of research and trials, present-day herbalists have refined their practices and preparations.
Cassidy M. Schlager, a Clinical Herbalist from Asheville, North Carolina, helped us gain some expert insight on the subject by answering some crucial questions regarding the uses and safety of herbal Arnica.
Can you describe your professional experience with herbal Arnica montana?
Yes. I have worked with Arnica montana in multiple forms. I was fortunate to harvest Arnica’s cheerful yellow daisy-like flowers from the mountains in Colorado and meadows in Alberta, Canada. I have prepared and used Arnica as a tincture, oil, and liniment in my clinical herbal practice. I have seen positive effects when using Arnica as remedy for relieving pain, swelling, muscle aches, and soreness. It’s a great choice for minor sport injuries, as well as day to day bumps and bruises.
As an herbalist, how do you gauge toxicity versus safety?
Lots of herbs are safe, but many herbs, like Arnica, can be either healing or toxic depending on the dose, so it is very important to know and follow recommended dosages, and if possible, talk with a trusted herbalist to determine a good regimen for you. Even if you follow all of the recommended dosages and precautions, you should always listen to your body and pay attention to your feelings and reactions. If something feels strange, or if any irritation occurs, it is always wise to stop use of any medicine immediately and talk to your healthcare provider.
How does the toxicity of herbal Arnica compare to homeopathic Arnica?
Homeopathic Arnica is regarded as safe and non-toxic, as it is prepared to contain highly diluted, infinitesimal doses of the actual herb. Arnica’s toxicity is in reference to products that are made from the whole herb.
About Cassidy M Schlager, Clinical Herbalist: Cassidy is madly in love with plants of all kinds, although she is especially partial to the wild, unruly weeds that push up through cracks in the concrete. She has studied and practiced botany and herbal medicine for the past twelve years, and has completed courses at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the Mountain Spirit School of Herbalism, and the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism. Her passion for plant medicine takes her from formulating herbal protocols for clients to wildharvesting adventures in fields and forests. These days, she is likely to be found concocting medicinal tonics or brewing up a batch of herbal beer.
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