What exactly is Arnica and why is it common for surgeons to recommend it for post-surgical recovery?
Arnica is an herbaceous plant in the sunflower family. It grows in the mountains of Europe, Montana and Siberia. It's sometimes called "mountain daisy" because it's petals look like the familiar flower.
Ointments and creams made from the flower head can be helpful for bruising, inflammation, joint pain, swelling and muscle soreness. While these claims are based on traditional homeopathic practice and not FDA evaluated, doctors and surgeons around the world suggest it for their patients, especially following cosmetic surgical procedures.
It can be applied topically as a cream or gel as well as orally administered through Arnica pellets. These two work together to relieve bruising and swelling post-op. Physicians generally advise against using Arnica in any form other than in a highly diluted homeopathic form. You should be under a physicians supervision when taking it in the pellet form by mouth. Reportedly, the strongest positive Arnica research has been in regards to skin application involving swelling or bruising after surgery or injury.
As always, be sure you check with your physician before beginning any natural or traditional new therapies!