What is Arnica?
Arnica is made up of numerous herbs from the sunflower family. Crazy, isn’t it? Sunflower herbs are supposed to cure an aching, sore, painful back and other muscles and also relieve stiffness? Arnica, is a greek-derived name referring to the soft, hairy leaves of the herb. (Arnica doesn’t sound much like a gel does it?) As you can see from the picture of the arnica derived plant, it actually looks somewhat like a long-leafed sunflower. Why anyone would think that the oils or gel from these Arnica herbs could actually be used as a pain remedy? I haven’t the slightest idea. I suppose the best answer is that studies of other cultures have proven that arnica has been used for centuries among many civilizations as a pain remedy. Turning it into a gel obviously makes it easier to rub arnica into the skin. Despite its history, however, there is absolutely no scientific studies or research that have proven arnica, much less arnicare arnica gel is an effective pain-relief remedy. This explains my hesitance to use or try these gel or cream products. The arnica gel, itself is clear with a very slight, yellow tint. Arnica looks like a clear-yellow , think gel. Though the makers of Arnicare arnica gel say it has no odor, it does have a little bit of a scent which sort of reminds me a little of a sweet, dandelion or weed with a bit of alcohol aroma. Arnica does not have an unpleasant odor and seems to dissipate after you’ve applied the gel. So, that explains what arnica gel is, the next question is, does arnica gel really work?
Does Arnica Gel Work?
I can only speak for myself, but personal experience is the best research for natural pain medications, isn’t it? When I throw my back-out, the pain and stiffness is severe and the first three days it is nearly impossible to straighten my back when I walk. I wouldn’t even dream of expecting a natural, pain gel to help such a severe pain. At the onset of pain I usually begin the anti-inflammatory treatment which consists of either Aleve or Advil. As much as I like Aleve for headaches and other problems, it did very little for my back. This was confirmed when I called my doctor, asking for a muscle relaxant the next day. The nurse told me that Ibuprofin or Advil is much better for back pain and now I believe her. I bought the Arnicare arnica gel on the 3rd day of my malady as I was already loosening up and getting better. I applied some arnica gel to my lower back and experienced absolutely no difference in the symptoms. While my back was getting better on its own, I went back to the Capsaicin Cream which is also a natural remedy derived from hot peppers, but is a cream and not a gel. Unlike the arnica gel, Capsaicin cream actually provides a warming, heat sensation and really does provide some relief from the stiffness and pain – most noticeably, the stiffness. Does arnica gel work? My answer is, no. My recommendation for pain-relief cream is Capzasin HP Capsaicin Cream.