Native to Europe and cultivated in North America, arnicas are perennial plants that produce yellow-orange flowers. Arnica gel contains fresh or dried arnica flower heads. People with certain chronic pain issues may find relief from using products containing this gel. The pain and inflammation experienced as a result of many cramps, burns, bruises, sprains, and strains can be treated with the simple application of arnica gel. Products containing it can be used to treat everything from insect bites to chapped lips.
As part of a treatment plan for bruises, it can be applied topically to affected areas. Arnica gel can help speed up the recovery time of bruises and swelling by stimulating white blood cell migration to bruises. Using it on bruises can also help relieve the skin discoloration linked with most types of bruises.
Applying products containing arnica plant gel over affected areas can help eliminate muscle aches and stiffness. This gel can also be used to treat muscle soreness from exercise or overexertion. Pain from inflammation of the tendons or joints, and even the pain that can follow a surgery may all be alleviated through the application of this gel. It can help reduce the pain and inflammation from a herniated disc flare-up.
The scarring linked with injuries, C-sections, and other surgeries may heal more even with the regular application of arnica. It can also help curb the pain and inflammation from many types of bug bites and burns. Sunburns can heal quicker and more evenly with regular gel applications.
Gel made from the arnica plant is often used to alleviate the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, a joint disease caused by the loss of cartilage. When used to treat osteoarthritis in the hands or knees, it may have the same anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing effects as topical ibuprofen. Arnica gel can help improve grip strength and the ability to use tools. Using arnica while taking homeopathic arnica tablets orally may reduce the pain associated with recovering from hand surgery.
Ingesting large amounts of arnica gel can lead to side effects such as heart irregularities, vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness, and tremors. Arnica should not be applied over an open wound or on broken skin without the direction of a doctor. Applying it to the skin regularly for extended periods of time may irritate the skin and lead to eczema, severe inflammation, blisters, peeling, or some other skin condition.