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Mexican Arnica

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Heterotheca inuloides

Other Common Name:

False arnica, Árnica mexicana, Árnica del país.

Parts of the plant used:

Mainly the flowers, although the leaves and stems are sometimes used.

How is it used?

Products containing Mexican arnica can be ointments and lotions for external or topical application and teas, tablets, or homeopathic tinctures for internal use.

What is it used for?

This plant has very similar uses to those of European Arnica (Arnica montana), which is the species more commonly used both in Europe and the United States. Both European and Mexican arnica belong to the daisy or sunflower family, although their active principles are not all the same. Ointments and lotions made from this plant are used to treat bruises, sprains, rheumatism, varicose veins, and diverse skin infections due to bacteria and fungi (molds). The active ingredients in this plant have mild anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic actions. In Mexican traditional medicine, arnica teas have been taken internally for the treatment nervous disorders, stomach ailments, and fever. Internal use of this plant is not recommended.


Safety / Precautions


  • Arnica teas, tablets and other products containing this plant (or similar species, such as European arnica [Arnica montana], for example), should not be taken internally, due to their potential toxicity, especially by small children, and patients suffering from heart disease.
  • Homeopathic drops or pills containing Mexican arnica are usually diluted medications, but should not be taken internally without the prior consent of a health professional.
  • Avoid ingesting any herbal product or supplement that contains arnica during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Do not apply arnica ointments, lotions, or pastes on broken skin, as this may cause irritation.
  • Discontinue any external application of arnica products at the first sign of inflammation or skin irritation.
  • Arnica preparations may cause allergic reactions, especially in people sensitive to other plants belonging to the daisy family, such as ragweed and feverfew, for example.
  • Do not use arnica products for prolonged treatments.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!