Have you used Arnica gel? I was only familiar with the homoeopathic version of Arnica, pills and creams, but I tried a sample of the gel, which is made from non-homoeopathic Arnica flowers – just straight herbal stuff. It really does the trick – anything that aches or twinges, just shove it on (gently!) and it totally helps, pretty quickly.
I did a bit of digging around and found out that there are lactones in it that are extremely anti-inflammatory. So I gave some to my partner to use after a heavy day out working (he works on planting contracts, which is quite heavy duty on the muscles), and he was thoroughly impressed. He now carries it around in his jeep as well as having it handy at home! It doesn’t seem to stop being effective after a few weeks of using it, as he’s found with other topical painkillers.
Arnica seems to have been a very popular medicinal plant for many centuries, with lots of folk stories attached to it. For example, it used to be hung up on roofs as a protection against lightening! Don’t try this at home – it is not scientifically proven… On the other hand, there seems to be quite a lot of research evidence for Arnica used as a gel.
• A study of patients with osteoarthritis of the fingers found that Arnica gel was as effective as the commonly used synthetic topical painkiller, ibuprofen gel. 
• A study in patients suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knees found that 3 out of 4 experienced an improvement in their condition after using Arnica gel. 
• A study of patients with rheumatic complaints in at least one body site found that average pain measurements decreased by 50% over 3 weeks of using Arnica gel, with 43% being able to reduce other pain medication. 
• A preparation of Arnica flowers was found to be more effective in the treatment of muscle ache when applied externally than placebo. 
 Widrig R et al. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study. Rheumatol Int. 2007; 27: 585-591.
 Knüsel O et al. Arnica montana gel in osteoarthritis of the knee: an open, multicentre clinical trial. Advances in Therapy. 2002; 19 (5): 209-218.
 Knüsel O et al. AtroMed®-Gel bei rheumatischen Beschwerden am Bewegungsapparat. Sonderdruck Aus Ars Medici 13 2006: 1-3.
 Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Arnica. In: Herbal Medicines. 3rd ed. Great Britain: Pharmaceutical Press; 2007: 64-66.
Here’s the exciting bit – AVogel have 50, yes, FIFTY Sports Packs to give away to the first people to tweet this article. Click the button below to be entered into this very generous and exciting draw:
This post was guest written by A Vogel