Last update Nov. 11, 2020

Arnica (topical use)

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

The flowers as well roots and leaves of this herbaceous plant are used.
It contains sesquiterpenic lactones, essential oil, flavonoids and traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Used topically on unbroken skin.
Indicated in traditional medicine without evidence of its effectiveness: topical anti-inflammatory to treat bruises, sprains and localized muscle aches (EMA 2014).

Do not apply on damaged skin. Do not take orally

It is very toxic when taken orally (Anderson 2017) with reports of gastroenteritis, cardiac arrhythmia, neurological problems and death (WHO 2007 p.77, nal 2001) in people who have taken it and a case of severe hemolytic anemia in a 9-day newborn whose mother took an arnica infusion (Miller 2009).

Since the last update date we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

The small dose and the low plasma absorption of most topical dermatological preparations make transfer to breastmilk in significant amounts unlikely to happen.

Do not apply on the chest so as to prevent the infant from swallowing it, nor over extended areas or for prolonged periods in order to avoid systemic absorption.
Wash your hands after application of arnica in order to avoid possible contact with the infant's mouth.

Oral use is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Arnica (topical use) is also known as

Arnica (topical use) in other languages or writings:


Arnica (topical use) belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Arnica (topical use) in its composition:


  1. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  2. EMA. Arnica montana L., flos. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). 2014 Full text (in our servers)
  3. Miller AD, Ly BT, Clark RF. Neonatal Hemolysis Associated with Nursing Mother Ingestion of Arnica Tea. Abstracts of the 2009 North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology.47 p 726, abstract 120. 2009 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 3. WHO monographs. 2007 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. [No authors listed] Final report on the safety assessment of Arnica montana extract and Arnica montana. Int J Toxicol. 2001 Abstract

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