Just when you think you’ve read up on all the different teas, we throw another one out there that is entirely unknown! A small, lovely yellow flower used for tea has some serious dangers hiding behind each petal. Should you or should you not drink arnica tea? Let’s find out!
What Is Arnica Tea?
Arnica tea is a tisane (herbal tea) made from brewing the flowers or roots of an Arnica plant. Traditional and folk medicine use this herb to treat a variety of inflammatory ailments and conditions.
What Is Arnica?
Arnica is a genus belonging to the Astracacea family (which includes sunflowers.) There are many species of Arnica. However, the most common species used for tea and homeopathic uses is Arnica montana.
Arnica is also known by other common names such as leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco, and wolfsbane. This flowering herbaceous plant produces vibrant yellow blooms that look similar to daisies. The flowers and the roots of an Arnica plant are often used to make homeopathic extracts. When it comes to Arnica tea, the flowers are dried and used to brew and make tea.
The external use of Arnica has been in existence for a long time. Indigenous tribes used it as salves to treat arthritic pain, wounds, bruises, muscle pain, skin infections, phlebitis, insect bites, and more.
The flower of the Arnica plant was made into an external medicine, whereas the roots were used to flavor foods and drinks. The roots are used today as a pesticide/insecticide ingredient because of a constituent it contains called thymol. Thymol is a naturally occurring compound also found in Thyme. Thymol is prevalent in the cosmetic industry and over-the-counter herbal product industry.
However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find Arnica tea online or in retail shops. We managed to find an off-brand of this tea, and the ingredient is Mexican Arnica (Heterotheca inuloides) sold either as “Arnica Tea” or “Tea de Arnica.” The packaging lacks any caution or warning about this tea. Other products containing Arnica have warnings such as “external use only.”
So, why is this tea so difficult to find? You’ll find out as we open up this “Pandora’s box!”
Is There Caffeine In Arnica Tea?
Arnica tea is a tisane (herbal tea). Tisanes do not contain caffeine because they are not made from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Some tisanes may have a true tea (black, green, oolong, yellow, white) blended in, and if they do, then there may be up to 40 mg of caffeine in the tea.
Is It Safe To Take Arnica Every Day?
We are not medical experts who have the expertise to tell you whether or not tea is safe or unsafe to consume. Several factors may hinder the safety of tea. Those who have medical conditions, are taking medication, or have allergies may experience side effects, adverse reactions, drug interactions, or a medical condition becoming worse.
Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) lists Arnica as a poisonous plant. Ingesting Arnica may cause a rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, severe gastroenteritis, or death. Likewise, a report entitled “Complementary Therapies for Physical Therapy” mentions Germany approves Arnica for topical use but backs that statement up with caution that ingestion of Arnica may be toxic. It goes on to mention a tea made from Arnica may cause gastroenteritis.
Yet another source warns of Arnica’s side effects and adverse reactions. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center cautions against ingesting Arnica because of potential tachycardia, internal bleeding, coma, vomiting, vision loss/disturbance, and anemia. Arnica also acts as a blood thinner.
Poison Control published an article cautioning the public on the ingestion of Arnica. The article notes Arnica prevents a person from forming blood clots which can lead to bleeding problems. Any other drugs or herb being taken that thins the blood plus consuming Arnica can lead to serious and even life-threatening problems.
Blood Thinning Drugs and Herbs
The article goes on to state that Canada banned Arnica as a food ingredient because of its danger. In the event larger amounts of Arnica are ingested, irritation of the inside of the mouth, throat, and stomach can occur.
Can You Drink Arnica Tea Bags?
Whether Arnica tea comes in loose-leaf form or in tea bags, we cannot safely recommend ingesting a tea made from either.
Arnica Tea Benefits
Now that we know the dangers of ingesting Arnica, let’s see what is Arnica tea good for.
A published paper entitled “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Arnica Montana Extract and Arnica Montana” lists the numerous uses of Arnica. This herb is used in many products such as shampoo, hair conditioner, fragrances, cosmetics, deodorants, shaving cream, depilatories, hand and face moisturizers, and more.
Within the traditional/folk medicine community, Arnica is widely used mainly for topical treatments for skin wounds, rashes, bruises, or as a topical analgesic. However, we were challenged to find evidence-based data stating Arnica tea is safe to consume, although it is most likely used on occasion with homeopathic treatment.
Is Arnica An Anti-Inflammatory?
Statements of Arnica topical solution used within traditional, folk, or homeopathic medicine were briefly mentioned in numerous articles. However, there is no evidence-based data supporting the efficacy of this herbal treatment.
A Better Tea Alternative
If you’re looking for a tea that has as many benefits as Arnica tea, why not try a lovely green or black tea?
BioMed Central’s article on the benefits of green tea notes that it’s an immune booster, fights off chronic diseases, and inhibits infections and viruses.
Our top green tea recommendations:
Likewise, black tea was the highlight of a study in The Current Pharmaceutical Design Journal, which highlights black tea benefits that include anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterials, immune booster, and reduces chronic conditions.
Our top black tea recommendations:
Arnica is often sought after by those with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle aches, and other painful conditions. A tea such as black tea provides the benefits needed to help alleviate chronic pain. Best of all, black tea is a safer alternative to Arnica.
Healthy Alternatives to Arnica Tea
Since arnica tea is considered unsafe to ingest, we do not recommend preparing it. Below are several safer alternatives with a tea just as lovely with a beautiful flower brew.
Most chrysanthemum tea drinkers prefer the traditional unadulterated form of this tea. Freshly picked flower buds are a must to get the very best flavor. This tea is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. You gain those benefits in a tea similar to Arnica but is much safer.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 freshly picked Chrysanthemum flower bud (thoroughly washed)
- Honey to sweeten
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Remove from the heat.
- Place the flower into the hot water.
- Cover and allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the cover.
- Pour the tea into a teacup and add a few drops of honey to sweeten.
Black Peach Tea
This lovely fruity tea is enjoyed year-round, hot or cold.
- 6 cups of water
- 6 teaspoons of loose-leaf Ceylon black tea
- 1 whole fresh peach washed, sliced, and pitted (donut peaches are the best!)
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Remove from the heat.
- Place the loose-leaf tea into a tea infuser.
- Drop the tea infuser into the hot water.
- Add the slices of fresh peach.
- Cover and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Pour the tea into a teacup and enjoy hot or over ice.
Finding Better Alternatives
Enjoying a cup of Arnica tea comes with risks, and unless you are tempting fate, it might be better to seek a safer tea alternative. Such a beautiful little flower is safer to be admired from afar rather than in your belly.