Arnica essential oil are used not only for natural pleasing smell but also for their soothing and healing effects. Arnica oil is a natural oil popularly used for its health promoting and pain relieving properties.
You can include it in your first aid kit as a wonderful alternative to treat injuries like sprains and bruises related to workout. Brief information about this essential oil, its uses, advantages and side effects is briefly provided in this write-up for your consideration.
What is Arnica Oil?
Arnica belongs to the family of permanent flowering daisy plants mainly found especially in mountain regions of Siberia and North America along with Europe. The plants of Arnica grow up to the height of one to two feet to blossom two to three flowers every year. It is recognised through the type of its flowers with orange centre and yellow petals and is popularly used in various medicines as a natural ingredient.
Arnica is found in various species but Montana arnica also known as mountain tobacco, wolf’s bane or leopard’s bane, is the most famous of them all. The flowers of these plants are aromatic as they grow in the fields at a high altitude of nearly 3000 feet from sea level. The blossoming flowers of arnica Montana are used to produce yellow colored aromatic essential oil.
arnica essential oil
Uses of Arnica Oil
The entire plant of Arnica including its roots, leaves and flowers are used for medical reasons since many centuries. Some people use its leaves to make chest pain reliving tea whereas some use its leaves to smoke for some other therapeutic reasons. Today arnica essential oil is also used for various medical reasons but it should be used carefully as prescribed by health care providers as some side effects are also associated with it.
This essential oil is today used in various cosmetic products like hair tonics and anti-dandruff lotions and perfumes along with various topical gels, arnica creams and pallets.
Arnica oil is not recommended to use in pure form even for aromatherapy as it can be toxic due to its high potency. But it can be used to prevent infections, relieving pain and reducing swelling in diluted form. Today it is also used for preparing many topical arnica oil based homeopathic preparations which are normally used by many professional athletes to get relief from workout or sports related injuries.
Contents in Arnica Oil
Arnica oil is prepared to use by including various fatty acids like palmitic, linolenic, myristic and linoleic acids along with a mixture of various thymols including thymohydroquinone dimethyl ether, phlorol isobutyrate and various ethers of thymol in 50-50 proportion.
A compound known as helenalin is also included in arnica oil to increase its strength but people sensitive to it can experience allergic reactions like rashes. You should stop using arnica oil if mild rashes develop on your skin.
Advantages of Arnica Oil
Arnica essential oil is normally used for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties as it helps in reliving or treating various types of exercise related injuries including spasms, pulled muscles, muscle pains and muscle soreness etc.
It also helps in curing fracture related swelling, sprains, and bruises along with soreness and bruising caused by stings and bites of insects.
It can also be used for treating acne but not recommended to use on broken skin as it may cause allergic reaction.
Some health care professionals also recommend arnica oil for relieving osteoarthritis pain as well as hair loss by using it in diluted form.
arnica essential oil
Preparing arnica oil
Steam distillation method is used to extract pure arnica essential oil from arnica flowers. This oil in concentrated form is not only very potent but also very expensive. You can experience infusion of arnica oil just by holding its flowers in your hand. It can be used for remedial purposes by preparing it by mixing coarsely ground dried flowers of arnica with enough amount of Olive oil to cover the herb in a mason jar.
The jar must be large enough to allow the expansion of herb. Now let the mixture infuse by heating it gradually for 2-3 weeks in sunlight or the pilot light of an oven. After two-three weeks you can strain the oil and fill in a bottle to use it. You can also add citric acid or rosemary antioxidant to extend the shelf life of your arnica oil.
Working of arnica oil
Mostly thymol derivatives of arnica essential oil are used for relieving pain and anti-inflammatory purposes as thymol is found effective on blood capillaries to help in improving the flow of blood and accumulations of other fluid contents to help in the process of healing injuries and relieving pain. Arnica oil is also used to stimulate the flow of congested white blood cells causing bruises and pain in muscles and joints.
Safety features of arnica oil
Arnica oil is mainly recommended by health care experts for topical applications instead of ingesting or inhaling it. It is also available in pill and tablet form but they are also safe as they contain arnica oil in very low quantity.
Most doctors recommend using arnica oil in diluted form as you can have severe side effects with pure arnica essential oil due to its very high potency. You can use almond oil or grape-seed oil as a carrier to dilute arnica oil for safe use. Moreover it should not be applied directly on open wounds and broken skin as it may cause irritation with high severity. If your skin is sensitive to herbal oils then before using arnica oil you should do patch test to observe its reaction on it.
Side effects of Arnica Oil
Pure arnica essential oil should not be ingested as it can be toxic for the interior of your body. It may cause:
Increased or irregular heart rate,
Tremors, dizziness, vomiting and weakness
Disturbance in nervous system
Irritation in gastrointestinal region and mucous membrane
It should not be used continuously for long period even in diluted form as it can cause various skin problems like rashes, peeling, blisters and eczema.
It should not be used by pregnant and breast feeding women and hypersensitive people without consulting their health care provider.