Other Names of Arnica: Leopard's bane, Arnica Cordifolia, Wolf's bane, mountain tobacco, mountain arnica

Useful Parts of the Plant: Essence of blossoms

Arnica, most commonly known as leopard's bane, grows yellow colored blossoms around fall season. The extracts from these yellow colored flowers are used to make homeopathic medication known as arnica. This medication is used for a lot of different health conditions. This perennially growing plant is found in many parts of Europe and Asia. It is also extensively cultivated in North America. The herb grows to a height of about 1 to 2 feet. The herb has a round and fleshy stalk, which is very hairy. It also grows yellow and orange colored flowers that are used for medicinal purposes. The leaves of the plant are bright green in color and are toothed. The leaves on the upper parts of the herb are hairy too, just like the stalk. The leaves on the lower parts have rounded tips.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Arnica

Arnica contains a host of active components that can help reduce inflammation and soothe the body. It is also rich in antioxidants and contains tannins, carotenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils such as thymol, the active ingredient in thyme. The flowers can be used in their raw form, but are usually processed to extract the essence before being used. The essences of the arnica blossoms have been used for treatment of several external and internal disorders for a long time. In fact, the blossoms are applied topically on bruises, inflammation, and wounds, owing to their anti-microbial and anti-septic properties. Arnica is used in various homeopathic and Ayurvedic preparations to make medicines for various disorders. Since there is a possible risk of toxicity from concentrated volumes of the essence, most medications contain extremely diluted amounts of it.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Arnica

  • Arnica is applied topically for a variety of external conditions such as bruises, muscle aches, inflammation, open wounds, sprains, superficial phlebitis, swelling, and joint pain. Arnica can also be used for treatment of swelling from broken or disintegrated bones.
  • In homeopathic medications, arnica can also be used for treatment of joint pain, inflammation in the muscles, insect bites, and conditions caused due to overexertion. Arnica is usually considered safe for internal use, especially when consumed in accordance with the directions given on the medicine's label.
  • Arnica ointment can be used for the treatment of frost bites. Even if they do not appear as open wounds, the ointment can be used to treat the frost bitten areas of the body. Arnica can also be used for the treatment of chilblains.
  • The essence from the arnica plant can also be used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Since arnica is an anti-inflammatory agent, it can be used for massaging inflamed or painful joints.
  • Arnica can be rubbed topically for the treatment of pregnancy marks and striae of pregnancy. You can apply the arnica on your stomach very gently, at least four times a day.
  • Infusions of the plant can be used for the treatment of dark nails caused due to injuries from a heavy object.
  • Arnica can also be used for treating the appearance of bruises. Applying the extract on bruises and black eyes can help improve the appearance of the bruise.
  • Arnica mouthwashes can help in the treatment of bacterial infections in the mouth. Conditions like gingivitis and pyorrhea can be treated by washing the mouth with arnica and water regularly.
  • Lotions containing arnica extracts can be applied on skin for the treatment of skin infections, itching, open wounds, and eczema. Arnica extracts can also be applied on the vaginal to treat vaginitis and vaginal irritation.

Other Uses of Arnica

  • Arnica is also used to make homemade cigarettes and is therefore also known as mountain tobacco.