Known as “mountain tobacco”, as the dried leaves were used as nose tobacco, arnica is mentioned for the first time by Hildegard of Bingen against bruises thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of its oil
Arnica oil is an oleolite obtained from the maceration of Arnica montana flowers in a vegetable oil.
The ancients completely ignored this plant, as it only grows in the high mountains.
Arnica is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Composite family. Its completely yellow and daisy-shaped flowers are used in phytotherapy . In fact, the dry extract titrated in rutin at least 1% is obtained from them.
Arnica is intended for external use only, mainly in the form of ointments, creams or gels, prepared with a percentage ranging from 10 to 30% of its oleolite.
How arnica oil is prepared
To make arnica oil you need the flowers collected in their balsamic time, that is to say in the heart of summer. Indeed, it is the heat of the sun that gives the plant its characteristic yellow-orange color.
To prepare arnica oil, first you need to put the dried arnica flower heads in a glass jar, filling it three quarters full. Then, fill the container with the sweet almond oil.
The jar should be stored for about a month in a cool, dark place. At the end of this maceration phase, the oil is filtered.
With the help of a colander, the oleolite is poured in order to eliminate the flower heads. Since all the therapeutic substances are concentrated in the flower heads, it is good to press them with a spoon.
Those who want a very pure oil can proceed to a second filtering with a cotton gauze, which captures the last impurities.
Properties and benefits of arnica oil
Arnica oil is very valuable because it is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory, which acts on the trauma of the circulatory system, muscles , bones and joints. In addition to reducing pain, it promotes the reabsorption of hematomas and edema, rapidly reducing swelling.
These properties are conferred on it by its high content of flavonoids, triterpenes and sesquiterpene lactones.
Its use is indicated in all situations in which ice is usually put on (falls, fractures, dislocations, accidents) to avoid the formation of an effusion. It is also very effective on:
> muscle tears and strains;
> joint pain also characterized by inflammation and swelling;
> rheumatism ;
In the end:
> thanks to its anti- inflammatory and astringent action on the circulatory system, it helps to relieve inflammation and let the vessels return in case of varicose veins;
> for the same reason it is also used on hemorrhoids.
You can pour a few drops of arnica oil directly on the affected area, or you can choose to dilute it further in a massage oil.
Before or after sporting activity, especially if outdoors, arnica oil is ideal for giving energy to tired and aching limbs.
Contraindications of arnica oil
However, it is good to pay due attention, because arnica can have side effects and contraindications.
Arnica oil should only be used externally. In fact, if ingested, this plant can cause liver problems , gastritis , nausea , vomiting , enterocolitis, headaches , low blood pressure and palpitations.
Even the cream for external use should not be applied on open wounds, as it can cause redness and irritation. Helenaline could cause contact dermatitis in particularly sensitive individuals.