Arnica montana, also called wolf’s bane, is a perennial plant that blooms with a daisylike yellow flower. It is grown for use as a topical herbal remedy, but should not be taken internally, except in the highly diluted preparations made by licensed homeopaths. Even these preparations may interact with certain types of medication. Does this Spark an idea?
Topical arnica is traditionally used to relieve the pain, inflammation and swelling involved in sprains, muscle strain, arthritis, venous disorders, eczema and sunburn. You should not apply arnica to broken skin because it may enter the bloodstream. Otherwise it is safe and does not interact with any medications, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Uncommonly, arnica causes severe skin irritation.
Arnica remedies created by licensed homeopathic practitioners are considered safe because they are greatly diluted. Growing these plants for internal medicinal use is inadvisable because they are toxic and cause severe side effects, including seizures and internal bleeding.
Chemical compounds in arnica have blood-thinning properties, so if you take anticoagulant medicine, use homeopathic arnica with caution, recommends the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Some of these medications include warfarin, aspirin and ibuprofen.
Arnica also may reduce the effects of medications that lower blood pressure. This could be dangerous for people taking drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers to regulate high blood pressure.