by prompting the body to produce white blood cells, which cleans up congested blood and disperses trapped fluids from the affected area.

• Reducing diabetes-related vision prob- lems — Some studies suggest that arnica can help improve retinal microcircula- tion, reducing the risk of eye problems caused by diabetes.

• Protecting against infections — The active compounds of arnica give it the ability to protect the body against various bacterial infections.

•Relieving osteoarthritis — Arnica sup- plement can help relieve common prob- lems associated with osteoarthritis, such as pain and muscle stiffness.

Other forms of arnica may also de-

liver the uses mentioned above. For in- stance, arnica oil may be used for relieving muscle aches and spasms, while arnica gel may be helpful for healing bruises and al- leviating osteoarthritis in the hand or knee.

Other Possible Benefits of Arnica In addition to the traditional uses of

arnica, some studies suggest that this herb may also deliver the following benefits:

• Help reduce mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy • Promote hair growth • Alleviate acne breakout • Reduce bleeding

While further studies are still needed

to confirm the numerous benefits of arnica, researchers do know that the thymol de- rivatives and sesquiterpene lactones of this herb are mainly responsible for its me- dicinal properties, which include:

• Anti-inflammatory • Analgesic • Antibacterial • Anticoagulant

Because of its therapeutic effects, ar- nica is commonly used by athletes as well as patients who underwent surgical or dental procedure.

Some Studies Confirm the Anti-inflam- matory and Analgesic Benefits of Ar- nica

Even though arnica has been used as OCTOBER 2020 15

a traditional medicine for centuries, there are still a lot of doubts regarding its effi- ciency, which is why numerous studies have been conducted on this plant. While some of these studies dispute its benefits, there are still those that confirm its com- mon uses.

A double-blind placebo controlled

study conducted in 2003 focused on the effects of arnica in marathon runners. It involved 82 individuals, some of which were given pills of arnica in the morning and evening while others took placebo pills. The results show that the group who took arnica supplement experienced milder muscle soreness after running than the placebo group. A recent study conducted in 2016 also

confirmed the pain-relieving and anti-in- flammatory properties of this herb in post- surgical settings. This study was published on the American Journal of Therapeutics, and its result shows that arnica can be a valid alternative for NSAIDs for treating post-traumatic and postoperative pain.

Understanding the Side Effects of Arnica Even though highly diluted forms of

arnica are considered generally safe to use, they may still cause several adverse effects, especially if you're allergic to its compound called helenalin. Some of the side effects that you may encounter are: Heart irregularities Dizziness Tremors Weakness Vomiting Liver damage Kidney disorder Mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation I do not recommend using the topical forms of this herb for a prolonged period

of time, since they may cause skin prob- lems, such as rashes, blisters, eczema and peeling. It's also important to note that this

herbal remedy is not suitable for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as those who have broken skin, digestion problems and high blood pressure. Arnica may interact with other medications as well, especially with pain killers, steroids and anticoagulant drugs.

Talk to Your Physician to Achieve Relief and Healing Even though arnica is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic, you should understand that this herbal supple- ment may not be able to cure the underly- ing causes of your pain, which is exactly why I recommend seeking the help of a physician in addition to taking this homeo- pathic remedy. Your doctor can help diagnose the possible causes behind body pain or swell- ing and identify the best way to treat your condition for good. Physicians who are familiar with homeopathic remedies may also help you find the best form of arnica to use.23 Successful pain management may require certain lifestyle and dietary changes as well. Finding the best approach to break free

of painful body problems may take time. But with the help of your physician, along with natural remedies, you'll eventually be able to achieve relief and healing.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of Mer- An osteopathic physician, best- selling author and recipient of multiple awards in the field of natural health, his primary vision is to change the modern health paradigm by providing people with a valuable resource to help them take control of their health.

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