Health Guide


What is it?

Arnica is used for pain, bruises, and inflammation (redness, swelling, pain) caused by insect bites, arthritis, sore muscles, injury, or surgery. Arnica is usually used on the skin.

Other names for arnica include: Arnica montana, mountain arnica, leopard's bane, wolf's bane, and mountain tobacco.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement).
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine (3).
  • are breastfeeding.
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease.


Talk with your caregiver about how much arnica you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking arnica. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take arnica without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood-thinning medicine (examples: warfarin (Coumadin(R)), clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), aspirin, enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)), dalteparin (Fragmin(R))) (2)


  • Before taking arnica, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (3).
  • Eating or drinking arnica flowers or arnica oil or tincture can be unsafe and may cause you harm. It should be used only on the skin (1).
  • Arnica preparations should not be put into your nose, mouth, or eyes. Do not put arnica on open wounds or broken skin (3,4).
  • Do not use arnica if you are allergic to daisy plants, including chamomile, marigolds, or yarrow (6).

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash
  • Chest pain or uneven heartbeat (7)
  • Nause, vomiting , stomach pain, diarrhea (6)
  • Skin hives, rash, blisters, itching, or swelling (1,4)

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Mild skin itching, redness, rash


1. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al. (eds): The Complete German Commission E Monographs. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.

2. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Phamaceutical Press, London, England; 1996.

3. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): Arnica. American Herbal Product Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

4. Fachinformation: Arthrosenex(R) AR, Arnica extract. Brenner-Efaka Pharma GmbH, Muenster, Germany; 1998.

5. DerMarderosian A (ed). Arnica. In: The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO, 1998.

6. Wichtl M: Arnicae flos. Herbal drugs and phytopharmaceuticals, 1997.

7. Weiss RF: Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988:169.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved