Europe: Arnica

When waltzing through the foothills of southern Europe, you may have seen a small, yellow flower swaying gently in the breeze. At a quick glance, this flower might be mistaken for a dandelion, but the arnica plant is part of the sunflower family and has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Arnica can be used to make essential oil or tea, but is most commonly found in creams and ointments.

Arnica is touted for its ability to provide pain relief and reduce edema and swelling when applied topically. For people dealing with pain, the side effects of painkillers can deter them from over-the-counter options; arnica provides a safe and effective alternative for temporary relief of swelling and pain.

Preventing injury is always the goal but for active Canadians, injuries are bound to happen. Try this natural recipe to reduce swelling and pain the next time you encounter a minor injury: mix a few drops of arnica oil with water and apply topically as a compress to the swelling area. Arnica should not be used topically on broken or burned skin. Be careful to check the area of swelling before applying the mixture.
If pain persists, it’s best to get your injury examined by a health care practitioner. Remember to also consult a health care practitioner before changing your regimen.

Explore the aisles of your local CHFA Member health food store for a variety of products containing arnica. This natural ingredient can come in many forms, including capsules, tinctures and creams. Remember, it’s always best to consult with a health care practitioner before adding any new NHPs to your health care regimen.