Arnica gel is extracted from the arnica montana plant, a perennial that is native to Europe and is grown in North America. Its bright yellow-orange-coloured flowers, green leaves and spiny stems are used to make natural remedies to treat a variety of conditions. You can find arnica in liquid and powder forms but perhaps most commonly used is the topical gel employed in homeopathic natural healing.
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According to the American Cancer Society, arnica gel can be applied to the surface of the skin to treat irritations such as eczema, chapped lips, sunburns, insect bites and acne. The organic chemicals contained in arnica are said to aid in swelling and inflammation of the skin and are also said to assist in treating bacterial infections. It should be noted the American Cancer Society states there is no scientific evidence to prove these claims and further research is needed to determine the gel's effectiveness.
Arnica gel is used in homeopathic or natural topical treatments for muscle pain and stiffness due to exercise or minor accidents. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center arnica gel has been used for hundreds of years in Europe and was used by Native Americans to mend wounds and alleviate muscle aches. It is said to aid in the treatment of bruising and swelling due to bone fractures.
If you suffer from arthritis in the hands, a condition that occurs when the cartilage of the joints is broken down, you may be looking for a remedy for the pain. According to the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, arnica gel has properties similar to those in topical ibuprofen gel, an anti-inflammatory medicine commonly used to relieve the symptoms of the condition. Arnica gel's ability to penetrate the skin easily can make it a natural and effective alternative to relieve arthritis pain.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, preparation and dilution of arnica is essential as prolonged exposure can cause serious skin irritations like blistering and peeling of the skin. The American Cancer Society warns that ingesting the gel can cause serious side effects such as internal bleeding, vomiting and dizziness. Allergic reactions such as itching, hives and shortness of breath may occur. Arnica gel should not be used on an open wound as it can increase the irritation of the skin. You should consult your doctor before using any new herbal treatment.
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