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How Does Arnica Work? Exploring Nature's Remedy for Aches and Pains

How Does Arnica Work? Exploring Nature's Remedy  for Aches and Pains

We aren't doctors here at  YUNI, but we do know a thing or two about natural remedies. Mother Nature has provided us with several accessible ways to treat muscle pain and soreness, so you won't need to rely on medication.

Cold therapy, heat therapy, and rest are the first steps to relieving sore muscles naturally, Followed by drinking lots of water to flush out toxins and carry tissue-repairing nutrients to your cells and a protein-rich diet to help rebuild muscle tissue. Last but not least is our favorite soothing remedy: arnica.

If you lead an active lifestyle, you know how common it is to deal with muscle strains, soreness, inflammation, and bruises. Finding a natural solution that's easy to use and (actually) works to reduce swelling and pain is essential.

You've probably heard of it and may even use it, but you may be left wondering, how does arnica work?

What is arnica?

Arnica, scientifically known as Arnica montana, is a medicinal plant with various names, such as mountain tobacco, wolf's bane, and leopard's bane. It is characterized by its vibrant yellow flowers, which bloom in the summer and continue to adorn the plant throughout the fall. The extract derived from these flowers is commonly used to produce arnica oil, which is utilized in gels, salves, patches, and massage oils.

Arnica oil has been recognized for its efficacy in alleviating a range of minor aches and pains. It has been traditionally employed as a remedy for bumps, bruises, and mild muscle pain since the 1500s. The popularity of arnica as a natural remedy has continued to grow over the years.

While anecdotal evidence supports its effectiveness, several clinical studies have also shed light on the therapeutic properties of arnica. For instance, a randomized controlled trial published in the European Journal of Sport Science in 2020 found that topical arnica preparations effectively reduced muscle soreness and improved recovery in athletes after intense exercise (Klosterhalfen et al., 2020).

How does arnica gel work?

Arnica improves circulation and lowers the body’s inflammatory response. When applied topically, arnica helps increase blood flow to the affected area, facilitating the removal of accumulated blood and reducing swelling associated with bruises, sprains, or muscle strains. By improving circulation, arnica supports the body's natural healing processes, aiding in the recovery of damaged tissues.

One of the key components in arnica, helenalin, has been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation (Schmidt et al., 2005). By targeting inflammation, arnica helps to minimize the swelling associated with bruises, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis, allowing the body's natural healing processes to take place more effectively.

How does arnica work on bruises?

When it comes to treating bruises, arnica works by addressing the underlying factors that contribute to their formation. Bruising occurs when an impact ruptures the blood vessels in a specific area, resulting in blood leakage and discoloration. Arnica helps in the healing process by promoting blood circulation in the affected area.

By increasing blood flow, arnica assists in clearing the remnants left behind by the bruise, such as blood cells, minerals, and other elements. This improved circulation aids in the removal of pooled blood, reducing swelling and discoloration. Additionally, arnica has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can further contribute to alleviating bruising.

How long does arnica take to work?

The time it takes for arnica to work can vary depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated. In general, when applied topically, arnica may provide noticeable effects within a few days to a week of regular use, gradually reducing pain, swelling, and bruising. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper guidance and to ensure appropriate usage of arnica for optimal results and safety. Remember, everyone's body responds differently, so patience and consistency are key when incorporating arnica into your wellness routine.

The best arnica gels

YUNI has elevated the anti-inflammatory benefits of arnica gel by ingeniously blending it with cooling essential oils, resulting in a natural menthol relief perfect for post-workout. The CHILLAX Muscle Recovery Gel is specially formulated to help you recover naturally and return to your passions quicker. But ensure you only use it externally and never on open wounds.

The potent, long-lasting formula allows you to stay active, free from the typical greasy residue and medicinal odor often associated with post-workout anti-inflammatory gels.

Arnica isn’t a cure

It's important to remember that arnica gel isn't a cure for muscle-related medical conditions. It's simply a way to help you manage the pain and disturbance that may accompany common soreness.

Arnica is especially beneficial for delayed onset muscle soreness, which presents itself 48 to 72 hours after the body experiences a new and unfamiliar strenuous exercise routine. It is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that increase inflammation and pain response. But worry not. Your body targets these small tears and goes into repair mode, leaving you stronger and more prepared for your next intense workout.

On the other hand, slight muscle overuse or strain can usually be remedied using natural remedies and rest, but if your pain is intense and you suspect joint or muscle injuries, immediately stop activity and ice the area to reduce swelling. And if you don't see an improvement in about 1-2 weeks, you should visit your healthcare provider.

Your doctor can order imaging tests to determine a proper diagnosis and even recommend a physical therapist to assist in the natural healing process. Physical therapists can aid in pain management and, most importantly, ensure your reintroduction to physical activity is safe.


Klosterhalfen, T., Knie, B., Schmitz, C., Rahlfs, V. W., & Reiss, N. (2020). The effectiveness of topical arnica preparations: An exploratory review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(7), 927-934.

Schmidt, C., Schoeneberger, D., & Liedtke, S. (2005). Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of A. montana L. and evaluation of interference with activated neutrophil functions. Phytomedicine, 12(7-8), 572-579.

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