Monday, 11 November 2013

Arnica Montana - Herbs for Dogs and Cats

Safe to use as an alternative medicine
for most dogs and cats
In this article...
1. Arnica
2. Health Benefits
3. Cautions

4. Side Effects
5. Drug Interactions
6. General Guideline for Daily Herbal Intake

1.0 Arnica
Also known by the name: Carduus marianus, Silybum mariamum, Silybum, Silybin, Silymarin, Silymarine, St. Mary’s Thistle, Marianus, Marianum, Our Lady’s Thistle, etc.

Arnica is a member of the daisy family. Arnica is a perennial alpine herbal plant with orange-yellow daisy like flowers. At one time the wild Arnica Montana plant grew in abundance in regions of Europe and America. A hardy meadow and mountain plant it was known to grow at elevations up to 8,500 feet. Today, the wild arnica plant is considerably scarcer and is a protected plant in many parts of Europe.

Arnica was first used in Europe in the 16th century as a medicinal plant. The flowers heads alone are used for medicinal purposes -as an ingested and topical treatment. The whole plant including the roots are also used for medicinal ingested and topical treatments.

Medicinal Properties of Arnica Montana

Arnica, an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory herb that has many other properties from the following active ingredients:
  • Inulin;
    • Antidiabetic;
    • Immunostimulant;
    • Lypolytic;
    • Probiotic;
  • Flavoinoids;
    • Antioxidents;
  • Sesquiterpene lactones;
    • Reduce inflammation by promoting the dispersion of fluids that build-up in bruised, injured tissue;
      • This increased circulation and drainage helps to speed healing by improving the flow of blood, lymph and platelets in and out of the affected area;
    • Helps to clean-up inflammatory waste and lactic acid – thus reducing swelling and moderating pain after injury, muscle strain  and surgery;
  • Magenese;
  • Mucilate, and;
  • Multiple volatile oils.
Arnica Montana can be used in various forms:
  • Topical:
    • Cream;
    • Gel;
    • Diluted tincture;
  • Ingested
    • Homeopathic:
      •  Tablet/pill or tincture;
  • See section 6.0 below for dosage and safe usage guidelines.
2.0 Health Benefits

A partial list...
  • Antibiotic;
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Anti-diabetic;
  • Immunostimulant;
  • Lypolytic;
  • Probiotic;
Ingested use tablet/pill…
  • Aches;
  • Altitude sickness;
  • Brain injuries;
  • Bruises – pain and swelling;
  • Emotional stress (including due to trauma, trauma before and after surgery);
  • Muscle exhaustion from over-exertion;
  • Other injuries;
    • Blows, falls, fractures (for pain management);
  • Sprains;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Painful joints:
    • Cartilage;
    • Muscle.

Topical Use cream, gel or tincture…
Applied to skin to reduce/treat:
  • Aches;
  • Acne;
  • Arthritis;
  • Bruises – pain and swelling;
  • Insect bites;
  • Muscle exhaustion from over-exertion;
  • Other injuries;
  • Blows, falls, fractures (for pain management);
  • Septic conditions;
  • Sprains;
  • Pain:
    • Cartilage;
    • Muscle.
  • Post labour;
    • For postnatal treatment of episiotomy stitches or tears – adding a few drops of arnica oil to warm distilled water to bath the area to speed healing.

3.0 Cautions…
  • Arnica should never used on open tissue injuries - damaged or broken skin, as arnica can cause bleeding due to its sesquiterpene lactones that work to quickly stimulate dilation and circulation of peripheral blood vessels – this can lead to increased blood flow  of an open tissue or already bleeding wound;
  • Arnica is not intended for prolonged use as it can, over-time cause adverse side effects;
  • Never use arnica gels, creams, tinctures around the eyes or mouth area.
  • If your dog or cat is pregnant or lactating do not use arnica;
  • If you dog or cat is allergic to arnica or related members of the daisy family – Astercaeae/Compositae family (i.e. chamomile, marigolds, etc.), ragweed do not use arnica.
  • As arnica can irritate the digestive system do not use as an ingested treatment on dogs or cats that have a stomach or intestinal condition such as:
    • Crohn’s disease;
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS);
    • Ulcers,
    • Etc.

4.0 Side Effects...

If arnica is used for too long as a topical application it can cause:
  • Abrasion if dog or cat licks the area of application;
  • Irritation of skin:
  • Lesions;
  • Redness.
If arnica is ingested for too long or in higher than recommended dosages (excessive amounts) it can cause;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Dizziness;
  • Irritation of the throat;
  • Ulcers of the mouth;
  • Vomiting;
  • An extremely toxic dose can cause:
    • Depressed circulation, respiration and temperature;
    • Heart problems;
    • Nervous system paralysis;
    • Organ failure;
    • Collapse and may cause;
    • Death.

5.0 Drug Interactions…
  • Anticoagulant, Antiplatelet drugs
6.0 Administration and Dosage

Ingested use – Arnica 30c…
  • Arnica contains the toxin helenalin – for this reason ingested use arnica should only ever be used in homeopathic form (i.e. Arnica 30c);
  • For prevention of infection, tissue damage (bruise or closed wound), trauma
  • Dosage
    • Dosage is every two hours for up to three doses – then stop dosing.
    • For severe cases of infection, tissue damage (bruise or closed wound), trauma dosage is every fifteen (15) minutes until symptoms are relieved;
    • Dosage can be given once or twice a day for up to a week after the injury occurred. 
    • Dosage should be given no closer than 15 minutes prior to or after feeding;
    • Don’t allow ingestion of water or other fluids for fifteen minutes after treatment.

Topical Application – using Tincture…
  • For arthritis, prevention of infection, tissue damage (bruise or closed wound), trauma, sore muscles, and sprains.
  • Preparation:
    • Mix 1 tablespoon of arnica tincture (use alcohol-free or low alcohol) with 1 pint of purified water;
    • Dip a cloth, cotton ball, sanitary pad, etc. into the arnica/water mixture;
    • Apply to the arthritic joint, bruised or wounded area making sure to moisten the skin (not just the fur);
    • Wrap the area in gauze or cloth;
    • Secure the wrap so that your dog or cat cannot remove the wrap and lick the wound or arnica.
Topical Application – using Cream or Gel…
  • For arthritis, prevention of infection, tissue damage (bruise or closed wound), trauma, sore muscles, and sprains.
  •  Preparation:
    • Apply to the arthritic joint, bruised or wounded area making sure to moisten the skin (not just the fur);
    • Wrap the area in gauze or cloth;
    • Secure the wrap so that your dog or cat cannot remove the wrap and lick the wound or arnica.

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  1. Hi there, I purchased some Arnica 30c (GNC brand). It says to let it dissolve in the mouth. Is this safe to give my cat, or is there a company/store that carries homeopathic Arnica in pills safe for them?

    1. GNC Arnica contains magnesium sterate - not recommended. Purchase Borion Arnica 30 C


Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

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