Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Herb of the Week: Arnica

Today's herb of the week is one that I have considered a life saver on many occasions: Arnica Montana. The plant itself is not a huge plant, standing only one to two feet tall, but its medicinal qualities are quiet powerful. The arnica flower is somewhat similar to that of a daisy with its yellow head,  and blooms between mid summer and autumn. Like most herbs used for its flowers, it is best harvested at the beginning of the blooming season.  According to the plant can be found in the northern hemisphere worldwide. The plant prefers sandy and acidic soils and full sun. 

Arnica Montana Botanical Drawing

The most common uses for arnica is for bruising and pain. A study posted on PubMed was conducted to determine the results of using arnica on laser-induced bruises. The study compared the results of using arnica, white petruleum, 1% vitamin K cream with .3% retinol, and 5% vitamin K cream.   The study found that arnica was more effective for the reduction of bruising than the placebo or low dosages of vitamin K cream with retinol. Arnica can also be taken internally if it is in a homeopathic form to help with bruising. Many doctors recommend this herb to their patients before surgery, to help with the bruising and soreness that will follow. According to Henriette's Herbal Homepage, "In all cases after sever cutting operations, where there has been destruction of muscular tissue, soreness follows and pain, which is ameliorated to an excellent advantage by the internal use of small doses of arnica."  Please note: this herb should be used in topical applications only, unless it is in homeopathic form, as it is poisonous if ingested or used on open wounds. 

Arnica Pain Relief Salve by Muir Botanicals
What makes arnica so efficient in treating bruises is that it is capable to quicken the healing of tissues and the re-absorption of discharged blood. Circulation and blood supply are also improved when using this herb, which makes it not only great for bruising, but for sprains, inflammation and muscle pain as well. Arnica has been used for relief for arthritis, muscle cramps and spasms, for children who have pain from bumping into something, and even broken bones. 

Herbs2000 states that it is also good for fighting off infections, especially caused by listeria and salmonella bacteria. When mixed with other herbs such as Calendula it is uses in treating skin rashes. It is also very useful for nerve pain and damage because it is not only anti-inflammatory but has analgesic properties as well. My favorite application of arnica is in a salve I've created with other pain relieving herbs and essential oils that help with inflammation. This is an excellent concoction for pain of the joints, muscles and nerves.

For more information about arnica or to set up a consultation please comment below or email me me at

*All information on this page is intended for educational uses only, and is not to be taken as medical advice. It is always improtant that you consult your health care professional before taking any herbs or natural remedies, as it may do harm to your body or conflict with medication.*

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