Arnica for horses? Piancavallo Arnica is better!

Today we are taking you back to a topical subject that we have already covered in a previous article that is “Arnica for horses”.

More and more frequently it is easy to come across products that bear the label "Arnica for horses", "Arnica for horses for human use" or "Arnica 90%". But what do these names really mean? Are these really the best and most effective products on the market, or are they just a fad?

Gel Arnica cavalli Piancavallo

What's in the Arnica for horses?

In the horse-riding world, Arnica (which is usually in a gel form) is widely used on racehorses to aid rapid recovery from fatigue, injuries and to provide relief for sore tendons and joints, benefiting from its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

But how much Arnica is there actually in these products? Usually very little!

Most companies selling Arnica products, do not directly source the raw material and then process it themselves, but they use Arnica extracts, which are available on the market, in their products. These are however of dubious quality and origin.

These extracts which are generally very poorly concentrated (e.g. water extracted), do not often contain mountain Arnica but some subspecies which result in being much poorer in active ingredients (e.g. Arnica chamissonis).

At times they are even made from the so-called Mexican Arnica (Heterotheca inuloides Cass), a plant which is widespread in Central America, and that remotely resembles Arnica but does not even belong to its genus.

To improve and increase the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory action, companies using these extracts which are poor in real mountain Arnica often supplement their products with synthetic components such as Phenoxyethanol and Methyl Salicylate, the latter has recently been banned by the EU Regulation 2022/1531.

In this interesting article, published by FEM2-AMBIENTE, there is an explanation on how it is possible to identify the actual species, which have been collected and used, through the DNA analysis.

Gel Arnica 90

Beware of “idioms”

When we read 'Arnica for horses', our subconscious probably refers to the saying 'a horse dose', which is why it immediately makes us think of something very strong, concentrated, and effective. But this is not necessarily the case.

Also, beware of the distinction between veterinary products and cosmetics for human use. It is important to be aware of what we are smearing on our skin!

The same thought goes towards the words 'Arnica Gel 90%'. Have you ever wondered what that means? It does not mean that there is 90% of Arnica in that gel, but it does mean that that product is made of 90% Arnica water extract.

What matters, however, is not the quantity of extract in the product, but the quality of the extract and the raw material from which it was made. 

Arnica 90


Mountain Arnica at risk of extinction

Mountain Arnica (the species of the Arnica genus which is the richest in active ingredients), as we have repeatedly stated in our blog, is unfortunately threatened with extinction.

The uncontrolled harvesting of wild specimens over the years, combined with climate change and poor management of mountain pastures, is putting the survival of this plant at risk.

Increasingly serious for example is the situation in France, where in the Vosges, as reported in this article, the harvest of mountain Arnica was cancelled in the summer of 2022.

The little more than experimental cultivations, which can be counted on the fingers of one hand, are very rare. The difficulty in finding suitable soil, high cultivation costs, low seed germinability and unpredictable productivity discourage potential growers.

All these factors have led to a real shortage of raw material, compared to a high market demand. The result? Lots of low-quality products on the market.

Arnica per cavalli Piancavallo ARMO1191

Arnica for horses? Piancavallo Arnica is better!

This is why, to remove all your doubts, we advise you to use the Piancavallo Arnica, the true organic mountain Arnica from the largest cultivation in Europe.

Our raw material, cultivated in the total respect of nature and of the protected specimens that still survive and grow spontaneously in our mountains, is selected, and harvested by hand, flower by flower, waiting for the ideal balsamic period.

Our extract which is obtained by using the innovative supercritical fluid technique, is a concentrate of study, green technology, and nature.

As explained in detail here, we leave nothing to chance, which is why we have our extract analysed by the University of Padua laboratory. This procedure, known as titration, has attested a presence of sesquiterpene lactones (the substances which mostly characterise mountain Arnica, and to which the main therapeutic activities are attributed) by 12%, a quantity three to four times higher than the best titrated extracts currently on the market (3-4% sesquiterpene lactones).

We follow and control the entire supply chain, from the production of the raw material to the marketing, collaborating with the best laboratories for the processing and manufacturing of the products which are all strictly made in Italy.

Arnica for horses? My choice is Piancavallo Arnica!

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