- Arnica montana L.
- Composite family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and
Arnica is a perennial plant; the horizontal, brown, branched rootstock sends up a slightly hairy, simple or lightly branched stem that reaches a height of 1-2 feet. The basal leaves are oblong-ovate and short-petioled; the upper leaves are smaller and sessile. Each plant has 1 to 9 large, yellow, daisy-like flowerheads, 2-2 1/2 inches wide, whose rays are notched on the outer tips. The flowers appear from June to August.
Other varieties: A. fulgens, A. sororia, A. cordifolia, etc.
Found in mountainous areas of Canada, the northern United States, and Europe. A European native.
Diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, stimulant, vulnerary
Legends, Myths and Stories
Arnica montana was used in Russian Folk medicine.
Arnica is on the list of strictly protected plants since it is threatened with extinction. Please respect this.
Arnica is used externally mostly. Used as a salve or tincture, helps heal wounds, bruises, arthritis, and irritations. Only very dilute solutions of the tincture should be used (the herb can cause blistering and inflammation). Used as a poultice but not often. Native Americans used the ointment for stiffened, cramped muscles, poor appetite, hair loss, and arnica tincture to open wounds and gashes, sprains.
Formulas or Dosages
Use professionally prepared remedies when possible.
Infusion: use 1 tsp. dried flowers with 1/2 cup boiling water. Take in 3 equal portions during the day for diaphoretic, diuretic, or expectorant action.
External wash: steep 2 heaping tsp. flowers in 1 cup boiling water. Use cold.
Tincture: use a dilute solution of 1 to 2 tbsp. to a cup of water.
Ointment: heat 1 oz. flowers in 1 oz. olive oil or lard in a water bath (in a double boiler) for a few hours. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth.
One reference cautions not to use arnica on broken skin.
The herb can cause blistering and inflammation. An irritant to the stomach and intestines, can cause serious damage to the heart; and fatalities from poisoning have been reported.
Arnica should not be used for any purpose without medical supervision.