Medicinal Plants

Arnica Montana (Mountain Arnica)

Arnica Montana is a herbal medication used in the management of skin diseases. It possesses powerful medicinal properties, which are beneficial in treating wounds and burns. It can also be used to relieve the pain caused due to injuries and arthritis. Arnica Montana helps to treat clotting disorders and high cholesterol levels.

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

The active ingredients of Arnica Montana include sesquiterpene lactones like 11, 13- dihydrohelenaline and helenalin. The levels of sesquiterpene lactone in Arnica Montana are found to be in a higher concentration in the flowers while it is in a lower concentration in the stem of this plant.

Arnica Montana also contains lignans of the dibenzylbutyrolactone, furofuran, and dibenzylbutyrolactol types. The six dibenzylbutyrolactol derivatives having different stereochemistry including pinoresinol, phillygenin, matairesinol, epipinoresinol, nortracheloside, and nortrachelogenin have also been isolated from this plant.

The other constituents of Arnica Montana include flavonoids, 11alpha, 13-dihydro-2-O-tigloylflorilenalin, caffeic acid derivatives such as 1-methoxyoxaloyl-3, 5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, and 10-acetoxy-8, 9-epoxythymol isobutyrate14.

Arnica Montana Benefits and Uses

Arnica Montana can be used for the treatment of skin problems. It can help in the faster repair of wounds and ulcers. It can also be used to treat surgical wounds. The use of this herb can help the patients suffering from arthritis to obtain relief from the pain and stiffness caused by the same.

Arnica Montana for Arthritis

Arnica Montana can be used for treating arthritis. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces the damage caused to the joint. It also reduces pain in the joint by producing an analgesic action.

The use of Arnica Montana is beneficial in the management of osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can reduce the symptoms of these diseases such as joint pain, stiffness, and restriction of movements. It improves the range of movements of the joints and allows the patients to carry out their routine activities with ease. It also prevents the degeneration of the joint tissues thus slowing down the progress of arthritis.

How Does Arnica Montana Work in Arthritis?

Arnica Montana produces an anti-inflammatory action. It helps to reduce pain, redness and swelling in the joints. It also reduces damage to the joint tissues due to the inflammatory changes. Arnica Montana also produces an antioxidant action, which helps to protect the joint tissues against the damage caused by free radicals.

Arnica Montana preserves the functions and structure of the joint by inhibiting the age-related wear and tear. It protects the joints against the degenerative changes associated with the advancing age. Arnica Montana also produces a strong analgesic action, which helps to provide relief from the joint pains.

It also has the ability to stimulate the repair processes in the joints. This allows for the faster healing of the damaged tissues and restores the functions of the affected joints.

Research studies for the use of Arnica Montana in Arthritis

The effect of Arnica Montana in the patients suffering from osteoarthritis was evaluated in an open, multicenter trial. This clinical trial investigated the efficacy and safety of fresh gel obtained from Arnica Montana on the knee joints affected by osteoarthritis. The gel was applied twice a day in 53 women and 26 men with osteoarthritis.

After 3 and 6 weeks, a significant decline in the median total scores on the McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index and Western Ontario were observed in these patients. The scores related to the pain, function, and stiffness subscales showed a significant reduction at these time-points.

Additionally, the rate of adverse-event at the site of application of the gel was found to be very low. Sixty-nine patients among the participants described the tolerability to the gel as “good” or “fairly good.”

This study proved that Arnica Montana could be used for relieving pain and other symptoms caused due to osteoarthritis. It was found to be safe and effective in managing this condition. (1)

The synergetic analgesic effect of a combination of Arnica Montana and hydroxyethyl salicylate was evaluated during research. During this study, the combined effect of these 2 substances on the parameters of pain was investigated.

A combination of the active compounds of Arnica Montana and hydroxyethyl salicylate in ethanolic solution was applied cutaneously for the management of sports injuries and the disorders of the locomotor apparatus.

The synergism and efficacy of these substances as single substances and as a combination in terms of the analgesic effect produced after the cutaneous application were assessed. The results of this study showed that the transcutaneous electrostimulation application of the combination of active compounds in Arnica Montana and hydroxyethyl salicylate displayed a significantly higher analgesic effect when compared to the effect produced by the individual active compounds.

This study proved that there is synergy between the compounds of Arnica Montana and hydroxyethyl salicylate that could help enhance the pain-relieving action of each of them. (2)

Arnica Montana for Wound healing

Arnica Montana is commonly used as a healing agent. It promotes the wound healing processes. It can be used to treat traumatic wounds, surgical wounds, sprains, strains, muscle and ligament injuries, burns and ulcers.

How Does Arnica Montana Work in Wound healing?

Arnica Montana helps to treat wounds by accelerating the natural healing mechanisms of the body. It produces an anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. It helps to reduce pain and swelling at the affected site. Arnica Montana also stimulates the regeneration of the skin cells along the edges of the wound. This results in the faster bridging of the gaps between the wound.

Research studies for the use of Arnica Montana in Wound healing

The wound healing properties of Arnica Montana were investigated during research. The study was aimed at finding the effect of Arnica Montana on the Extracellular Matrix Gene Expression of the Macrophage Cell Line Differentiated to the wound-Healing Phenotype.

During this research, the macrophage-monocyte human THP-1 cell line was used to determine the efficacy of Arnica Montana. The cells line was cultured and differentiated using Interleukin-4 and phorbol-myristate acetate. It was later exposed to the Arnica Montana dilutions for 24 hours.

The total RNA was isolated and the cDNA libraries sequenced using a NextSeq500 sequencer. The genes having a significantly positive or negative fold changes were used as the differentially expressed genes. The results of this study proved that Arnica Montana had the ability to support the tissue healing processes. (3)

The efficacy of Arnica Montana in the healing of surgical wounds has been proved during research. The study was conducted to compare the effect of this herb on the surgical wounds in the patients operated for Hallux valgus as compared to Diclofenac.

The study included 88 patients that were operated upon for hallux valgus 4 days before commencing the research. The patients were treated with either Arnica Montana or Diclofenac.

In this double-blinded, randomized, parallel-group study, the effect of Arnica Montana administered orally, 3 times a day was compared to the effect of Diclofenac Sodium administered in a dose of 50 mg, 3 times a day. The outcome parameters included the patient mobility, postoperative irritation, pain, and the dependence on analgesics.

The results of this study proved that the effects of Arnica Montana and diclofenac were equivalent in terms of wound irritation. A descriptive analysis indicated the superiority of Arnica Montana with respect to patient mobility and tolerability. This research proved that Arnica Montana could be used to reduce wound irritation at the surgical site and enhance the patient mobility in a shorter period of time following the operative procedure. (4)

Arnica Montana for Clotting Disorders

Arnica Montana may be used in the management of clotting disorders. It can be used to prevent the abnormal clotting of blood. This property of Arnica Montana is beneficial in the management of myocardial infarction, cardiovascular stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis. It prevents the clotting of blood thus reducing the risk of these diseases.

How Does Arnica Montana Work in Clotting Disorders?

Arnica Montana helps to prevent the clotting of blood by inhibiting the platelet aggregation. It contains two sesquiterpene lactones, 11,13-dihydrohelenal and helenalin, both of which have the ability to block the collagen-induced platelet aggregation, and thromboxane formation. These compounds can also inhibit the 5-hydroxytryptamine secretion.

These properties of Arnica Montana help to prevent the formation of clots in the arteries and veins thus preventing the blockages in the blood vessels. This ensures an uninterrupted supply of blood to all parts of the body including the heart, brain, and the lungs. This helps to reduce the risk of disorders caused due to the loss of blood supply to these organs such as myocardial infarction, cardiovascular stroke, and pulmonary embolism.

The anti-platelet action of Arnica Montana also helps to prevent deep vein thrombosis that occurs due to the clot formation in the deep veins present in the calves.

Research studies for the use of Arnica Montana in Clotting Disorders

The antiplatelet effect of Arnica Montana has been proved during research. The ability of the two sesquiterpene lactone compounds of Arnica Montana, 11 alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin, and helenalin, to inhibit the human platelet functions via the thiol-dependent pathways was investigated during this research.

It was found that both the compounds inhibited the collagen-induced platelet aggregation. There was also an inhibition of 5-hydroxytryptamine secretion and thromboxane formation in a concentration-dependent manner.

It was found that both the compounds of Arnica Montana reduced the number of acid-soluble sulfhydryl groups in the platelets by almost 78% at the anti-aggregatory concentration. The platelet inhibition induced by these compounds could be prevented by the administration of thiol-containing cysteine.

These findings confirmed that 11 alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin, and helenalin in Arnica Montana had the ability to prevent platelet aggregation and the resulting blood clotting. Hence, it can be concluded that Arnica Montana could be used for the prevention of disorders caused due to the abnormal platelet activity. (5)

Arnica Montana for Hyperlipidemia

Arnica Montana can be used to treat Hyperlipidemia. It can lower the cholesterol levels. This property of Arnica Montana is beneficial for reducing the risk of diseases caused by the high levels of cholesterol such as myocardial infarction and stroke.

A high level of cholesterol results in the formation of plaques that get deposited in the blood vessels making them narrow. As a result, the blood supply to the vital organs such as the heart and brain is affected leading to a higher risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.

Arnica Montana prevents the plaque formation by lowering the cholesterol levels and thus, prevents these life-threatening disorders.

How Does Arnica Montana Work in Hyperlipidemia?

The Sesquiterpene lactones present in Arnica Montana block the process of lipogenesis. This prevents the proper metabolism of fats resulting in a lower cholesterol level.

Research studies for the use of Arnica Montana in Hyperlipidemia

The antihyperlipidemic activity of Arnica Montana was evaluated during research. The study was focused on finding the effect of the compounds of Arnica Montana such as sesquiterpene lactone on the metabolism of fats.

It was found that the naturally occurring sesquiterpene lactone administered in a dose of 20 mg per kg body weight per day resulted in a significant decline in the serum cholesterol level. It also helped to reduce the serum triglyceride level.

The administration of sesquiterpene lactone also resulted in the inhibition of the Thiol-bearing enzymes that play a role in lipid synthesis such as acetyl-CoA, acetyl-CoA synthetase, and citrate-lyase.

These findings support the premise that Arnica Montana could be used as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent. The beta-unsubstituted cyclopentenone ring, the alpha-epoxy cyclopentanone system, and the alpha-methylene-gamma-lactone moiety of the compounds in Arnica Montana appeared to be responsible for the lipid-lowering effect of this herb. (6)

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