Arthritis is a condition affecting the joints of the body.
Arthritis can be of a hundred different types depending on the mechanism by which it affects the joints.
Arthritis, of any type, mainly causes inflammation of the joints leading to its symptoms of joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
The degree of pain varies from one patient to another. The main part of treatment is to alleviate joint pain which can help the patient in performing day to day tasks.
Generally, medicines are used to relieve pain and inflammation in the body. Supportive management like diet restriction, weight control, exercise etc. is also mandated in the management.
Other complementary and alternative therapies are also recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
Before we discuss the benefits of topical arnica gel in arthritis let us know some more about this natural ingredient.
What is Topical Arnica Gel?
Arnica is a perennial herb which is native to North America and Europe. It was used since the sixteenth century.
Arnica is known by the scientific name of Arnica montana. It is also referred to as mountain tobacco, medicinal leopard's bane, wolfsbane, and mountain alkanet.
Traditionally, arnica was used topically as well as in the form of arnica teas that are prepared from the flowers, roots or leaves. It was used to treat fever, stomach problems, and muscle pain.
Arnica contains therapeutic chemical constituents like arnicin, resin, volatile oil, and tannins. Arnica herb is used in flavoring food and in preparation of cosmetic products.
Arnica gel finds use in the treatment of painful conditions like bruises, rheumatism, sprains, varicose veins, skin infections and in mouthwash or gargles.
Arnica teas are only used topically in modern times and internal use is now obsolete.
Benefits of Topical Arnica Gel in Arthritis
Benefits of topical arnica gel in arthritis are due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Arnica has been used to reduce pain and inflammation for centuries and modern -day research also proves these effects to be beneficial in arthritis. Arnica gel usage can relieve pain and its effect is comparable to other pain-relieving medicines.
1. Topical Arnica Gel Alleviates Joint Pain in Arthritis
Joint pain is the most bothersome symptom of arthritis that disables a person from performing daily activities.
Arnica is known to be beneficial in the management of pain since olden times.
A clinical trial involving 79 patients with osteoarthritis proved the efficacy of topical arnica gel usage reduced joint pain, stiffness and improved the functioning of joints.
Arnica gel is as effective as ibuprofen (pain-relieving medication) in reducing pain in arthritis patients. The chances of adverse effects are higher in comparison to that of arnica gel.
Research also suggests the possibility of using arnica gel instead of using Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID's), which are generally used as allopathic medicines for pain.
What does this mean? Arnica gel has been proven effective in reducing joint pain and stiffness in arthritis patients. It is also found to be equivalent to the effect of other pain-relieving medications.
2. Arnica Gel Provides Anti-inflammatory Effects in Arthritis
Inflammation is the root cause of arthritis which results in pain and swelling of the joints. Arnica gel has been used to reduce inflammation in for centuries.
Arnica contains chemical constituents called as ‘sesquiterpenes’ which claims responsibility for the anti-inflammatory effects of arnica topical gel.
The anti-inflammatory property of arnica has been demonstrated by animal studies.
It helps in reducing swelling by blocking the action of histamine (a chemical that causes inflammation).
However, studies in human subjects and arthritis patients are yet to be done to confirm the anti-inflammatory benefits of topical arnica gel.
What does this mean? Arnica gel has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation. It is proven by research to contain anti-inflammatory properties which can benefit arthritis patients in reducing inflammation.
Arnica gel must be applied twice daily for three weeks for effectively reducing joint pain.
The usage of topical arnica gel is found to be safe and effective for up to six weeks.
Arnica topical gel is only meant to be applied to the skin. Do not swallow this preparation or take arnica teas as it is toxic. Arnica gel must not be used on the skin by pregnant women as it can be toxic.
Refrain from applying this gel to broken skin.
Test the ointment on a small patch of your skin (preferable forearm). If there is any sign of inflammation or irritation do not use the gel.
Caution is advised in patients who are allergic to feverfew and ragweed, as they might be allergic to arnica gel too.
Always use FDA or regulatory body approved topical arnica gel. Improperly formulated or concentrated gel could harm your skin.
Topical arnica gel is a naturally obtained ingredient from a herb that has been providing relief from pain and inflammation in humans for centuries together.
Topical arnica can be effective in arthritis symptom management. It has been proven by research to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
Scientific studies on animals have also regarded arnica gel with properties of anti-inflammation. This effect can be beneficial for arthritis patients in reducing inflammation.
However, more studies on humans and arthritis patients are necessary to strengthen the scientific basis of the anti-inflammation property of topical arnica gel.
Topical arnica gel is a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for pain in arthritis with its effect comparable to that of pain-killer medicines.