What is Arnica? 8 Ways To Use Sunflower-like Plant to Your Everyday Advantage


You may only know arnica by sight as a delightful, colorful flower, but what is arnica when it comes to your health and beauty? So much more than you think! Arnica is a plant reminiscent of the sunflower, only rather its much thinner cousin. Despite its relative size, arnica can boost your day-to-day life in a host of ways, from your head down to your toes.

Arnia hails from the sunflower family of 30 plants. It has soft, hairy leaves and a long, slender stem. Its folk names are “wolf’s bane” and “leopard’s bane”. It grows in the temperate regions in North America, Europe and Asia. The plant bears large yellow or orange flowers and has been used medicinally for centuries. Despite this, many of its health claims have yet to be unequivocally confirmed.

However, despite conflicting claims about what it can and can’t do and a lack of definitive substantiation in either direction, arnica’s practical appeal has yet to lose face – it has stood the test of time.

Sure, it looks pretty and delightful, but what is arnica in the realm of health and wellness? A lot. From head to toe, arnica offers benefits we could all use. Here are 8 health, beauty and wellness perks of arnica that will solidify it as your next medicine cabinet, beauty counter or kitchen pantry staple.

What is arnica good for?

1. Swelling and Bruising

Arnica holds anti-inflammatory properties and will thus help to diminish swelling of affected areas. In fact, arnica’s main usage is for such ailments, including aches, sprains and even arthritis.

2. Dandruff

Arnica oil is well regarded as a homeopathic anti-dandruff remedy. Arnica oil reportedly strengthens hair roots, nourishes hair strands and gets rid of dandruff. It also allows for your hair to grow longer and stronger while staving off the onset of greying.

3. Fragrance

It is a flower after all! Arnica has been used in fragrances. If you have the fresh flower, try rubbing the petals against your wrists and behind your ears for a light, floral finish. Arnica oil can also be applied to the body as a fragrance.

4. Food Flavoring

Arnica is often used as a flavor ingredient in beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, gelatins and puddings.

5. Insect Bites

Much in the same way arnica targets aches, sprains and bruises, it helps to ease irritation caused by insect bites. Rub a bit of arnica oil on the affected area and watch it work its magic!

6. Acne

Because of arnica’s ability to fight inflammation, it makes for an all-natural acne-fighting agent. Acne itself is an inflammatory disease and arnica is a great way to combat or prevent the onset of acne.

7. Wisdom Teeth

If you go au natural, even after an invasive, not-so-natural situation, like the removal of wisdom teeth, arnica may be helpful in reducing inflammation, easing swelling and accelerating the healing process without the use of painkillers and antibiotics.

8. Antibiotic

The active chemicals in arnica make fit as a local antibiotic, having long been used in liniments and creams for dislocations, sprains, bruises, chilblains and varicose ulcers.

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Photo Credit: Jason Hollinger