Many people will have heard of Arnica, but what is it?
Arnica is a plant which is related to the common daisy – part of the Compositae family. Other members of this family are used herbally – e.g. Calendula, Echinacea and Dandelion.
There are several varieties of Arnica, but the most well-used is “Arnica Montana”.
As Arnica is so commonly used for homeopathy and as a herb, it has led to over-harvesting. Also hybrids of Arnica have developed, so it’s a good idea to check both the originating source and purity for the Arnica product you buy.
Arnica contains selenium and manganese, which are two important elements needed for a healthy body.
How to use with animals?
Many animals can use arnica – horses, dogs, cats and others.
It’s possible to get Arnica as a homeopathic tablet or as a skincare lotion/gel. It’s often used for relieving the symptoms of bruising and aches/pains. It can also form part of homeopathic remedies to relieve your horse’s or dog’s exertion after strenuous exercise.
Arnica can be used as an essential oil – use it only in diluted form and do not apply to unbroken skin.
Does Arnica work?
There have been few clinical trials, and research took place several years ago that tested Arnica in pill form for people, and said it didn’t work. But this didn’t look at the topical application of Arnica, which it’s most used for in both people and animals. Also the use of homeopathy can be a controversial subject, so analysis can be skewed when considering Arnica use in that context.
So as Arnica is popular, why hasn’t there been more clinical trials?
Unfortunately, generally there are few clinical trials for assessing the benefits of herbs for people, even less so for their use for animal health. This is largely because a pharmaceutical company cannot easily patent a plant – and therefore profits are going to be minimal, versus the cost of a clinical trial being very expensive. The lack of clinical trial proving the effectiveness isn’t evidence that it doesn’t work!
As with any complementary therapy, always get your Veterinary Surgeon’s approval to use with your animal to make sure it’s going to be safe and effective. If you’re interested in using it as an essential oil, then have a consultation with a professional animal aromatics (zoopharmacognosy) practitioner – they will also liaise with your Veterinary Surgeon.
Do I use it here for my own animals?
I have used Arnica in the past, and do think it is great for soothing aches. But as I now adore Aloe Vera and the whole of my aloe vera range (as am a Forever Business Owner), I tend to use Aloe based products now for the majority of skin/healthcare.
Until next time,
ps: If you use Arnica with your animals, please feel free to add a comment here
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