Arnica | Arnica montana

Other Names

Arnica Flower, Mountain Trails Wide, Arnica, Mountain Arnica, Mountain Root Flowers, Alpine Aster, Blood Flowers, Blood Drive, Christ Wurz, Donner Flower Angel Flower Angel Flower, Angels Herb Dyed Flower, Fall Cabbage, Case Herb Flowers, Gamsblumen, Leopard’s Bane, Locust Flower, Force Rose, Power Root, Power Root, Leopard Choker , Mitter Root, Monk Cap, Stitch Herb, Root Down, St-Luzianskraut, Verfangkraut, Arnica, Arnica Flowers, Wolferley, Wolffelei, Wolf Flower, Wolfsbane Wolf Thistle, Wound Herb, Arnica Montana L. Or A. Chamissonis, Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco, Arnica Cordifolia, Arnica Des Montagnes, Arnica Flos, Arnica Flower, Arnica Fulgens, Arnica Latifolia, Arnica Montana, Arnica Sororia, Arnikabluten, Bergwohlverieih, Doronic d’Allemagne, Fleurs d’Arnica, Herbe Aux Chutes, Herbe Aux Prêcheurs, Kraftwurz, Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco, Plantin Des Alpes, Quinquina Des Pauvres, Souci Des Alpes, Tabac Des Savoyards, Tabac Des Vosges, Wolf’s Bane, Wundkraut.

Description

Arnica has a deep-rooted erect stem that is straight and unbranched. Their opposite leaves are borne towards the apex of the stem, whereas the ovoid show off a rosette that consists of leathery basal leaves. The flowers are large in yellow or orange that are six to eight ccentimeterswide with about ten to fifteen ray florets and numerous florets in discs.

Arnica’s phyllaries are a bract under the flowerhead and have long, spreading hairs. Each phyllary is attached to a ray floret. Other species of arnica have an involucres or a circle of bracts that are arranged so that they are surrounding the flower head. These are arranged in two rows and only the outer phyllaries with the ray florets are exposed. As for scent, the flowers have a slight aromatic smell which can be risky if taken in the wrong dose.

Its fruit is seed-like and has a pappus of plumose with pale tan or sometimes white bristles. The entire plant has a distinct pine-sage odor that can be strong when the leaves of the mature plant is bruised or rubbed.

The flowers are hermaphrodite or have both male and female organs and are pollinated by various agents such as bees, flies, Lepidoptera and itself. The plant is capable of self-fertility and it thrives very well on well-drained soil and can grow on poor soil with enough supplied nutrition but arnica prefers moist soil. It can grow on neutral and basic alkaline soils and even survive in very acidic soil regions.


Ingredients

According to The Complete German Commission E Monographs, arnica contains sesquiterpene lactones of the helenanolid type, predominantly ester derivatives of helenalin and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin. Additionally, the herb contains flavonoids (e.g., isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin), volatile oil (with thymol and its derivatives), phenol carbonic acid (chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid), essential oil, bitter substances, flavones, procyanidins, helenalin, Arnicin, beta-sitosterol, camphor, flavonoids, inulin and coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin).

Collection period

July to August

Used Parts

The flower of the plant is used to make medicine, fresh or dried (flos Arnicae). The root is also used in European herbal preparations.

Uses

  • Aches,

  • Acne,

  • Analgesic,

  • Antibacterial,

  • Anti-Inflammatory,

  • Antispasmodic,

  • Arthritis,

  • Blood Purifier,

  • Boils,

  • Bronchitis,

  • Bruises,

  • Bruising,

  • Canker Sores,

  • Chapped Lips,

  • Circulatory Tonic,

  • Cold,

  • Complications Of Wisdom Tooth Removal,

  • Cough,

  • Diaphoretic,

  • Diarrhea,

  • Digestive Organs

  • Diuretic,

  • Eczema,

  • Fever,

  • Flu,

  • Gingivitis,

  • Gout,

  • Heart / Circulatory

  • Heart Failure,

  • Heart Problems,

  • Hematoma,

  • Hoarseness,

  • Inflammation Caused By Insect Bites,

  • Inflammation Of The Pharynx,

  • Insect Bites,

  • Irritating To Skin,

  • Joint Pain,

  • Metabolism

  • Muscle Pain,

  • Neuralgia,

  • Phlebitis,

  • Poorly Healing Wounds,

  • Reducing Pain,

  • Respiratory System,

  • Rheumatism,

  • Seasickness,

  • Skin Inflammation,

  • Sore Muscles,

  • Sore Throats,

  • Sprains,

  • Stomach Cramps,

  • Stomatitis,

  • Strains,

  • Swelling Of Bone Fractures,

  • Swelling,

  • Thrombosis,

  • Tonsillitis,

  • Varicose Veins,

  • Venous Insufficiency,

Application

Not only is arnica used as a soothing agent with its medicinal properties. It has also made its way in food production and manufacturing in general.

Arnica is traditionally used as an external herbal medicine for bruises. It is in fact approved by the German Commission E for topical use when applied for inflammation, bruises and joint pain. According to esteemed herbalist Michael Moore, the herb does not have an immediate effect but instead takes several hours to work in support of strains and bruises. Arnica flower should not be taken internally.

Arnica’s active chemicals may reduce swelling, decrease pain and act as antibiotics. It’s used as topical application for sprains, arthritis, bruises and various aches and insect bites. It is also found to heal chapped lips and acne.

In foods, it is a flavour ingredient in frozen dairy desserts, candy, beverages, baked goods, pudding and gelatine.

In manufacturing, it is applied in hair tonics and anti-dandruff preparations. The oil is also used in cosmetics and perfume.Summary

Summary

Arnica is traditionally used as an external herbal medicine for bruises. It is in fact approved by the German Commission E for topical use when applied for inflammation, bruises and joint pain. According to esteemed herbalist Michael Moore, the herb does not have an immediate effect but instead takes several hours to work in support of strains and bruises. Arnica flower should not be taken internally.

Side Effects

Arnica is safe when used in the amounts commonly found in food or when applied to unbroken skin short-term. The Canadian government, however, is concerned enough about the safety of arnica to prohibit its use as a food ingredient.

Amounts that are larger than the amount found in food are likely unsafe when taken by mouth. In fact, arnica is considered poisonous and has caused death. When taken by mouth it can also cause irritation of the mouth and throat, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, shortness of breath, a fast heartbeat, an increase in blood pressure, heart damage, and coma.

Arnica may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family.

References

  • Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20412090

  • WebbMD, Arnica – http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-721-

  • Wikipedia, Arnica – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica

  • “Arnica in Flora of North America”. Efloras.org. Retrieved 2009-12-22.

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