European arnica, mountain daisy, leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco
What is Arnica?
Native to the moist, grassy, upland meadows of Central Europe and the western United States, Arnica is a lovely, yellow-flowered, perennial woodland plant in the same family as the sunflower. While there are many species of medicinal arnica flowers flowers around the world, the most common species is Arnica montana, a particularly vibrant species with large yellow flowerheads. While harvested in early bloom, their blooming season typically stretches from mid summer to late autumn. The impressive healing properties of Arnica were first written about in the 12th century by a nun named St. Hildegard, an avid botanist and physiologist. Since then, Arnica has been used to relieve muscle aches and bruises since at least the 16th century by mountain people in Alpine areas, its leaves were chewed by Swiss mountaineers to prevent fatigue due to climbing (hence, “mountain tobacco”), and is now one of the most used homeopathic medicines in the world to help recover from overexertion, trauma, minor injuries, or surgery.
Benefits of Arnica:
Arnica is most typically used as a slow-working but extremely effective topical medication for bruises, inflammation, and joint pain and should not be ingested or used on open wounds or on broken skin
How to consume and apply Arnica:
Arnica can be used as an infusion using one teaspoon of the dried herb to ½ a cup of water, as a tincture using one part herb to ten parts alcohol, as an oil using one part herb to five parts oil, as a mouthwash using one part tincture to ten parts water, or as an ointment using one part arnica oil to four parts of base.