Arnica flower health benefits

Arnica flower is packed with health benefits for the skin. Here are the best ways to use arnica and get the most from this versatile herbal remedy.
Arnica flower health benefits
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The world of homeopathic and alternative medicine is vast and often surpasses the boundaries of your everyday healthcare provider — but when you’re looking to maximize wellness and avoid the side effects of over-the-counter medications, certain herbal medicines can make a difference.

Arnica flower is one of these under-the-radar homeopathic products that we think deserves a closer look, especially as the benefits of arnica become clearer. Now that we have more evidence and clinical trial support for the use of arnica, we see that these supplements can be used safely and to great effect. 

If you’re unfamiliar with arnica and looking for the complete rundown with science-backed support, you’re in the right place. This article will cover the basics of this powerful plant, how it’s used, and how to get the most from arnica flowers in your daily routine. 

What is arnica flower?

The botanical background of arnica spans a long history of medicinal use, cultural significance, and modern science. 

The plant Arnica montana belongs to the Asteraceae family, alongside familiar plants like sunflowers and daisies. In fact, if you encounter wild arnica, you might think it’s a daisy, with its bright yellow flowers and short stalks.

How is arnica flower prepared and used?

To go from its organic plant form to a usable active ingredient, arnica flower can take multiple paths for processing and implementation. It starts with harvesting when the flowers are in full bloom — typically wild arnica flowers have the best concentrations of active compounds and the most potent essential oil profiles.

Once harvested, arnica is dried in order to prevent mold and to preserve phytochemicals in their natural state. Extraction is the next step, involving processes like solvent extraction or oil infusion, depending on the equipment and manufacturer's approach. Homeopathic methods can also be used to dilute raw arnica flower into a tincture, but this method tends to be less effective in harnessing the plant’s power.

Traditionally, arnica was used in pastes, ointments, oils, and tinctures. These applications have come a long way, of course, and now, we use arnica to provide the relieving effects in our best-selling topical creams. Broad Spectrum Relief CBD Cream, for example, uses arnica to deliver soothing sensations to the skin and reduce feelings of tension in muscles and joints. 

While the uses of arnica have made strides thanks to research and inventive product design, the fundamentals of this herbal remedy remain the same after centuries of use. Whether you choose the DIY route or find arnica in your favorite topical product ingredient list, you can’t go wrong. 

What are the top health benefits of arnica flower?

You now have an idea of how arnica goes from a flowering plant to a usable active ingredient, but what can you expect in terms of benefits? Remember, arnica should only be used on stable, unbroken skin and never ingested, so keep this in mind when comparing it to other herbal remedies.

With that said, let’s look at some of the ways that arnica can help the body heal, recover, and provide soothing relief to the skin and more.

Helps ease swelling and soreness*

Arnica’s main active components are compounds known as sesquiterpene lactones. These are a subfamily of terpenoids with alkylating capabilities, meaning they interact with the mechanisms that cause swelling in the body. 

Helenalin is a specific sesquiterpene lactone present in arnica, and it may help ease swelling by supporting a balanced immune response. When applied to sore muscles or joints, this can limit soreness and swelling, allowing you to move more freely and comfortably.

In addition to these terpenoid compounds, arnica contains antioxidant-rich flavonoids, as well as phenolic acids, both of which can combat swelling and help return balance to the body. Meanwhile, topical arnica is thought to help support circulation at the first layer of skin and below, allowing nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to flow through the region and recover.

These properties explain why arnica is popular among athletes — fitness enthusiasts, older people, and anyone experiencing soreness and swelling. Proper application of arnica topicals allows for frequent and versatile uses, meaning it’s always an option to help ease discomfort.

Support for proper wound healing

In addition to the benefit of reduced swelling and tension, arnica may help support the body’s natural process of healing wounds. This is thanks to factors like support for circulation, cleansing properties, and more. 

Wound healing is a complex and energy-intensive process for the body to undertake, meaning that the assistance of arnica’s compounds can make a difference in your recovery timeline. Traditionally, arnica has been used to help ease bruising and swelling, while minor skin irritation is another potential application.*

On the other hand, arnica is only recommended for use on intact skin, so avoid applying it on cuts, scrapes, and other open wounds. In these cases, start with cleaning the area to prevent infection and keep the wound covered until new skin forms again. Arnica may be applied carefully once the skin is intact, and only then should it be used to support the recovery process.

Soothes stiff joints and muscles

While some muscles and joints are swollen and tense from physical activity, others are stiff and inflexible due to a lack of activity or other conditions. Thankfully, arnica can be used to loosen up stiff joints and help you return to your exercise regimen, or simply enjoy moving freely without locking up or experiencing further discomfort.

Arnica’s main mechanisms are at play once again here, particularly the enhancement of circulation and its ability to reduce swelling around the internal structures of joints and bones. Even a minor reduction in swelling can provide joints with a greater range of motion, and careful, intentional movement can further flexibility over time.

This goes to show that arnica is not just for recovering from workouts or long days. It can also allow you to get back to doing what you love, whether it’s outdoor adventuring, gym workouts, or everyday exploration.

Supports overall recovery and rejuvenation

Bouncing back from physical activity becomes more difficult as we age, and arnica can be used strategically as a recovery booster and rejuvenator. Because it can be applied topically, this allows you to target specific areas of the body that are slow to recover or may need extra attention during the recovery process.

This makes arnica a great companion for any post-workout stretching routine or rest-day relaxation plan. Use arnica on knees, hips, shoulders, or elbow joints to help your body restore blood flow and reduce swelling that may be holding back your natural recovery ability.*

While more serious muscle discomfort and injuries like sprains should be addressed by a healthcare professional, think of arnica as a helpful asset for everyday recovery and post-workout wellness. Its ability to soothe general feelings of muscle aches and muscle soreness can be a key factor in maintaining consistency, whatever your fitness goals may be.

Pairs well with other compounds

Arnica’s origins and Europe and North America point to the ingredient being used on its own, though new formulations show that the ingredient is highly effective when used in combination with other compounds. 

For example, many modern arnica creams also include methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), peppermint, lavender, or eucalyptus. These extras provide additional soothing effects, both for the skin itself and the muscles and joints beneath the surface. MSM, for example, is known for providing a unique cooling sensation, offering quick relief as other ingredients take more time to work.

As formulations become more advanced and well-rounded, we’re seeing the inclusion of hemp extract as the basis of many arnica products. Sunmed’s Broad Spectrum Pain Relief Menthol Gel is a prime example of how arnica works in synergy with other plant-based remedies and the power of hemp extract to support and deliver fast, effective results. 

What is the best way to use arnica flower?

As long as you use arnica flower as directed, it is generally safe to apply topicals frequently. However, if you’re testing out arnica-based products for the first time, it’s best to know when, where, and how to make use of them. 

Here are some tips to make the most of products containing arnica, and some additional tips to get the best results.

Make it part of your recovery routine

If you’ve purchased a lotion or gel with arnica, you probably know intuitively where to use it. Provided the skin is intact and not severely irritated, you can safely apply arnica to muscles, joints, and other areas of the body in need of soothing comfort.

For instance, if you’ve just wrapped up a hard workout in the weight room, consider applying an arnica topical to the muscle group you’ve just targeted in the gym. That may be your arms and elbows, upper back and shoulder joints, or your knees and hips. Even if you aren’t feeling sore yet, the effects of arnica will help stimulate recovery and may help blood flow, potentially limiting next-day swelling.

You may also find use for arnica to help alleviate bruising or redness that might result from minor injuries, burns, or bites. Remember to only use on unbroken skin and pay close attention to healing progress over time. 

Add it to your CBD lifestyle protocol

Arnica and hemp extract go hand in hand, which is why we’ve featured these ingredients in some of our most popular Sunmed products. 

Because there are so many cannabinoids to choose from, we’ve made it simple with our lineup of arnica-enriched creams and gels. We give you the choice between broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD cream, depending on the types of cannabinoids you want to use to your advantage. Full Spectrum Relief CBD Cream pairs CBD with trace amounts of THC, while broad spectrum alternatives feature primarily CBD and minor cannabinoids.*

More broadly, using hemp extracts is a great way to support your wellness goals while you take advantage of arnica topical products. Compounds like CBD and THC help maintain balance and soothe the body from within, soothing tension and supporting muscle relaxation. This dual approach is the smart way to support overall recovery and stay active with consistency over many months and years.*

As you build out your wellness protocol, be sure to make room for both arnica and CBD — the benefits of both should not be overlooked.

The bottom line

Arnica is just one piece of the entire puzzle of health and wellness, but it might just be the one you’ve been missing. This unassuming flower is more powerful than it seems, especially when used in smart formulations with other ingredients like CBD.* 

To tap into the full benefits of arnica, consider how it fits in with the rest of your wellness protocol, from recovery and rest to physical therapy, skin support, and more. A well-rounded routine demands creative thinking, and a willingness to try remedies that go deeper than surface level.

Sunmed is here to keep you informed on the latest from the frontiers of science and research, while also digging into traditional medicine to uncover the very best of both worlds. With a foot in the past and the future, ingredients like arnica can be utilized safely and sustainably, giving you an edge in modern wellness and health.


Arnica montana L. - a plant of healing: review | NIH

Helenalin - A Sesquiterpene Lactone with Multidirectional Activity | NCBI

Arnica: What It Is and How To Use It | Cleveland Clinic

Therapeutic Efficacy of Cannabidiol (CBD): A Review of the Evidence from Clinical Trials and Human Laboratory Studies | NCBI