Arnica is used for bruises, sprains, muscle soreness, and muscle spasms often associated with sports activity. Arnica is also used to treat muscular aches, joint pain, and arthritis. It is believed that the arnica plant has anti-inflammatory properties. Arnica has also been used for wound healing, superficial phlebitis, inflammation caused by insect bites, and swelling caused by broken bones. Arnica can be applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture. It can be made into compresses or poultices. It is usually used topically because serious side effects can result from oral administration of arnica but should never be applied to broken skin.