What is the best arnica gel?

Homeopathic remedies for joint and muscle pain are plentiful. There are dozens of herbs and plants with purported medicinal benefits, including those of an analgesic. Supplements made with arnica have excellent reputations for relieving arthritis pain, soothing sore muscles and accelerating healing for bruises and sprains. They are commonly used on the skin as a topical gel, ointment or cream since oral arnica remedies need to be diluted to offset dangerous side effects if ingested.

The herb, Arnica montana, has been used homeopathically for five centuries, but its modern use focuses on reducing inflammation and addressing overexertion and injuries. For its multiple uses and multi-ingredient formula, the best arnica gel is MediNatura T-Relief Extra Strength Pain Relief.

What to know before you buy an arnica gel

Arnica gel uses

The topical form of arnica treats a wide variety of conditions. Arthritis pain and sore muscles are the most common ailments that arnica gel is marketed to relieve. It also is used for bruising, joint pain, sprains, swelling and healing wounds. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it versatile for new applications, such as being applied to burns. 

Topical gel vs. ointment vs. cream

Gels are made from water, cellulose and alcohol. They provide hydration without leaving a residue on your skin. People with oily skin may find gels take longer to evaporate. The cream is equal parts water and oil. It absorbs quickly through the skin and is ideal for covering large body areas. The ointment is closer to 80% oil. It remains on the skin longer and is commonly used for antibiotics or corticosteroids.

Safety concerns

Pure arnica taken orally in large doses is dangerous. That is why oral remedies are heavily diluted. Topical arnica gel has a small percentage of arnica mixed with other ingredients and is safe for use when following the dosing instructions. 

According to WebMD, there is not enough clinical evidence to support arnica’s safety in children. It is recommended that it not be used for children or women that are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What to look for in an arnica gel

Odorless

Some arnica gels have a slight odor that dissipates when exposed to the air and rubbed into your skin. Many arnica gels are manufactured without an odor for easy application.

Purity

Look for arnica gels formulated without dyes, fragrances and parabens, which are chemical preservatives.

Dose

Topical arnica is typically used two to four times per day. Each arnica gel has a different recommended dose. Some are required, and others are based on the level and frequency of pain experienced. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure maximum effect.

Container size

Arnica gel containers come in sizes that range from 1 to 5 ounces. There are some bulk packages that include two or three containers for a discounted price.

How much you can expect to spend on an arnica gel

Arnica gel has a wide range of prices based on container size, bulk packaging and additional ingredients. You can find arnica gels available in bulk packages or larger containers for as low as $1.50-$2.50 per ounce. Most arnica-only gels are priced between $2.50-$4 per ounce. For $4-$6 per ounce, you’ll find topicals commonly made with other ingredients, grease-free and odorless. 

Arnica gel FAQ

What are the side effects of arnica gel?

A. Topical arnica gel can cause a mild allergic reaction in people that have allergies to the Asteraceae plant family. These plants include ragweed, daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemums.

Used in excess, arnica can increase blood pressure. It also should be used with caution in people taking prescription blood thinners, aspirin or NSAID products. Check with your health care professional before starting arnica use.

How quickly does arnica gel work?

A. When used for bruises or swelling, arnica gel can work within a few hours to two days. For pain relief, arnica gel may take one to two weeks to be effective. If your pain has not lessened after several weeks, stop using the product and consult your health care professional.

What else can naturally treat pain besides arnica?

A. Other natural ingredients also have reputations for relieving pain. Essential oils of peppermint, rosemary and lavender are well-known remedies. Turmeric and ginger are also popular supplements. Capsaicin, found in chili peppers, can treat mild pain. Some supplements incorporate echinacea and calendula with arnica. 

What is the best arnica gel to buy?

Top arnica gel

Best MediNatura T-Relief Extra Strength Pain Relief

MediNatura T-Relief Extra Strength Pain Relief

What you need to know: This potent arnica gel treats multiple types of soreness and incorporates 12 active ingredients.

What you’ll love: The gel treats nerve pain, sore muscles, bruises, back and joint pain, and arthritis pain. It is made with arnica and a variety of plant-based ingredients like echinacea and calendula.

What you should consider: The gel is oily and takes a while to absorb. The odor was unpleasant to some consumers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top arnica gel for the money

Best Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel

Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel

What you need to know: This popular pain gel is doctor recommended for arthritis pain and comes in a non-greasy, unscented form.

What you’ll love: Made with diclofenac sodium, Voltaren directly attacks arthritis pain with its nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory properties. It is clinically shown to reduce stiffness, improve mobility and relieve pain. It is free of dyes and parabens.

What you should consider: Some consumers reported drying and irritated skin.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Boericke and Tafel Arniflora Arnica Gel

Boericke and Tafel Arniflora Arnica Gel

What you need to know: This arnica gel is fast-acting and made for pain from overexertion and sports injuries.

What you’ll love: It is made with a tincture of 8% Arnica montana in an easy-to-use application. It relieves pain, swelling and muscle stiffness from physical trauma and over exercising. It is odorless and quickly absorbs through your skin.

What you should consider: It doesn’t work for every consumer.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and iHerb

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.