Use of Arnica Montana for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Arnica Montana for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

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The use of conventional medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) is not without the potential for developing serious side effects. Narcotic medications for example, can produce lethargy, fatigue, constipation, and in certain cases can even depress your breathing. Other medications may preclude the use of prescription medications. Nonsteroidal medications, such as ibuprofen may not be the best choice for someone with heart disease or kidney disease. Long term use of acetaminophen can affect your liver and kidney health over time. It is not uncommon to experience severe pain and stiffness associated with OA. A natural alternative to add to your treatment regimen is Arnica Montana.

This is a homeopathic preparation that is safe, has minimal side effects, and is effective in treating the inflammation and pain of OA as well as other forms of inflammatory arthritis. Arnica Montana has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation in the joints; it is felt to inhibit the NF-kappa B pathway which is an important pathway that promotes inflammation. It may also decrease the formation of proinflammatory proteins in the joint space itself.

Arnica Montana comes in an oral form and topical forms. If you are suffering from knee OA or hand OA, applying Arnica topically can help improve pain and regain overall function. In one study, the application of a topical Arnica plant gel to the knee for those suffering from significant OA of the knee in over 80 men and women noted significant improvement in pain and stiffness as well as overall functioning.

It has also been found effective for the treatment of hand arthritis as well. In another study when compared to ibuprofen gel, it was found to be as effective in reducing pain and increasing functional use of the hands. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about adding Arnica Montana to your treatment regimen.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder


  • Jager C, Hrenn M et al. “Phytomedicines prepared from Arnica flowers inhibit the transcription factors AP-1 and NF-kappaB and modulate the activity of MMP1 and MMP13 in human and bovine chondrocytes.” Planta Medica. 2009 Oct;75(12):1319-25.
  • Knuesel O, Weber M et al. “Arnica montana gel in osteoarthritis of the knee: an open, multicenter clinical trial.” Advances in Therapy. 2002 Sep-Oct;19(5):209-18.
  • Ross SM. “Osteoarthritis: a proprietary Arnica gel is found to be as effective as ibuprofen gel in osteoarthritis of the hands.” Holistic Nursing Practice. 2008 Jul-Aug;22(4):237-9.
  • Widriq R, Sutter S et al. “Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study.” Rheumatology International. 2007 Apr;27(6):585-91

Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis

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