A perennial plant whose brown rootstock produces a slightly hairy, branched stem; the stem can reach from 1 to 2 feet in height. Arnica grows 1 to 3 pairs of oblong, ovate basal leaves. The upper stem leaves are smaller and
sessile; all leaves are bright green and pubescent on the upper surface. The stem terminates by branching into 1 to 3 peduncles, each bearing a flower which is present from June to August. The flowers are bright yellow and daisy-like, with strongly-scented foliage. The root is dark brown, cylindrical, usually curved, and bears brittle wiry rootlets on the under surface.
Arnica chamissonic is very similar to the more well known Arnica montana, but is hardier and easier to grow. It has more blossoms and somewhat larger, hairy leaves. It will bloom from June until August if spent blossoms are removed.
Family: Compositae (Sunflower Family)
Other Names: Arnica flowers, Arnica root, Leopard’s bane, Mountain arnica, Mountain tobacco, Wolfsbane
Flowers: June – August
Parts Used: Flowers
Habitat: Moist, sandy soil; full sun. Northern mountain areas of Canada and America.
Constituents: Arnicin (a bitter yellow crystalline principle), carotenoids, flavonoids, inulin, phulin, sesquiterpene lactones, tannin, and thymol.
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, cardiac, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, hemostat, nervine, stimulant, vulnerary.
Main Uses: Abdominal pains, arthritis, bleeding, bruises, burns, cancer, fractured bones, fever, headaches, internal bleeding, irritation, mouth inflammation, pain, sore throat, sprains, swelling, and wounds.
The active components in Arnica are sesquiterpene lactones, which are known to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. Arnica works by stimulating the activity of white blood cells that perform much of the digestion of congested blood, and by dispersing trapped, disorganized fluids from bumped and bruised tissue, joints and muscles.
Arnica is known to stimulate blood circulation and can raise blood pressure, especially in the coronary arteries.
Preparation and Dosages:
Infusion: Put 2 teaspoonfuls of the flowers to 1 cup boiling water; simmer for 10 minutes; cool. Use externally as needed. 3 to 10 drops internally.
Tincture: Fresh plant, flower or root tincture [1:2], dry flowers or herb tincture,
[1:5, 50% alcohol] and dry root tincture [1:5, 60% alcohol].
External: Dilute with one or two parts of water, applied as needed.
Salve: Heat 1 ounce of flowers with 1 ounce of cold pressed Arnica oil for a few hours. This is useful for bruises, chapped lips, inflamed nostrils, joint pain, skin rash, sprains, and acne.
Warning Warning! Some people are particularly sensitive to this plant and many cases of poisoning have resulted from its use. It can cause vomiting, weakness, increased heart rate and nervous disturbances.