Arnica use while Breastfeeding
Arnica Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
The flowers of various Arnica species contain flavonoid glycosides, terpinoids, amines, coumarins and volatile oils. The flowers are most commonly used to make homeopathic products that are used topically as an analgesic agent. Arnica in homeopathic preparations has been used to treat mastitis and breast pain. It is also sometimes used to treat postpartum perineal pain. No information is available on the excretion of Arnica components in breastmilk. Maternal use of Arnica tea probably caused hemolytic anemia in one breastfed infant. Arnica is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) as a food by the US Food and Drug Administration, but is not allowed in food in Canada. Oral ingestion of botannical Arnica products should be avoided because of its many toxic components, but homeopathic products and topical application are usually safe during breastfeeding. Arnica should not be used on broken skin and may cause allergic skin reactions as well as cross reactions in those allergic to members of the Asteraceae or Compositae families of plants (e.g., chamomile, chrysanthemum, dandelion, marigold, sunflower).
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Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
A 9-day-old breastfed (extent not stated) infant developed hemolytic anemia 48 hours after his mother had begun drinking tea made from Arnica flowers. The infant's total bilirubin was 41mg/dL, with a direct bilirubin of 5 mg/dL and a hemoglobin of 5 g/L. The infant was otherwise healthy with normal G-6-PD status. After exchange transfusions and phototherapy, the infant's anemia corrected and bilirubin lowered to 9.9 mg/dL. The mother stopped drinking the tea and resumed breastfeeding with no further hemolysis. The infant's hemolysis was probably caused by the Arnica tea.
Possible Effects on Lactation
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
1. Castro M. Homeopathy. A theoretical framework and clinical application. J Nurse Midwifery. 1999;44:280-90. PMID: 10380446
2. Dennehy C, Tsourounis C, Bui L, King TL. The use of herbs by California midwives. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2010;39:684-93. PMID: 21044150
3. Allaire AD, Moos MK, Wells SR. Complementary and alternative medicine in pregnancy: a survey of North Carolina certified nurse-midwives. Obstet Gynecol. 2000;95:19-23. PMID: 10636495
4. Miller AD, Ly BT, Clark RF. Neonatal hemolysis associated with nursing mother ingestion of arnica tea. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2009;47:726. Abstract. DOI: doi:10.1080/15563650903076924
Arnica chamissonis Arnica cordifolia Arnica fulgens Arnica latifolia Arnica montana Arnica sororia
CAS Registry Number
- Complementary Therapies
- Plants, Medicinal
LactMed Record Number
Information from the National Library of Medicine's LactMed Database.
Last Revision Date
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