Arnica- Arnica Montana

The Herb- Arnica (Arnica Montana) also called Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco

Parts Used- Flowers, The flowers are collected between June and August.

Habitat- Arnica Montana can be found in nutrient-poor meadows and clay soils. You can find it in alpine meadows. It is often found at elevations of 3,000 m (9,800 ft). In some regions, it can be found on nutrient-poor moors and heaths.

What Does the Herb Look Like?

Arnica Flower
Adobe Stock @By dvoriankin

The leaves form a flat rosette, from the center of which rises a flower stalk. They are 1 to 2 feet high, bearing orange-yellow flowers, disk-like flowers. The rhizome is dark brown, cylindrical, usually curved, and bears brittle wiry rootlets on the underside of the surface.

Herbal Actions and Constituents

Herbal Actions

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Vulnerary
  • Antirheumatic


The active components of arnica are sesquiterpene lactones, such as helenalin and 11,13- dihydrohelenaline and chamissonolid. Sesquiterpene lactone levels in arnica are found in higher concentrations in the disk flowers and lower concentrations in the plant’s stem.

  • Sesquiterpene lactones include pseudoguanolidesarnifolin, arnicolides, helenalin, and the recently isolated 6-0isobutyryl-tetrahydrohelenalin and 2 [[beta]]-ethoxy-6-0-isobutyryl-2, 3-dihydrohelenalin.
  • Flavonoids include eupafolin, patuletin, spinacetin, commonaciniatin, and methylated flavonoids, including betuletol and hispidulin.
  • Volatile oil containing thymol and various ethers of thymol.
  • Mucilage and polysaccharides.
  • Misc: resins, bitters (arnicin), tannins, carotenesetc.

Uses- This herb is excellent for inflammation. Helpful for muscular aches and pains and offers analgesic activity. Works to stimulate circulation. This herb is an analgesic, antiphlogistic, anti-inflammatory, and bactericidal.

I love using this herb in compresses, ointments, and creams for swelling, bruising, muscle strains, and sprain.

Easy Arnica Compress Recipe

2 cups boiling water.

2 tablespoons arnica flower

Remove the boiling water from the heat source. Add the herb and allow it to steep for 1 hour.

Dip in a cloth and use it as a compress.

Adobe Stock@By HENADZY

Safety and Contraindications

Arnica should not be used on open wounds, like cuts or scrapes. It can be toxic if used this way. In addition, some side effects can include eczema, edematous dermatitis, and use should be discontinued if any signs of redness or irritation occur.

Do not use it internally. Toxicity from internal use can potentially damage the liver, kidneys, and heart. It is also contraindicated in pregnancy. Topical use only unless in a homeopathic formula.


Heart of Herbs Herbal School Educational Materials

Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark

Arnica. A Modern Herbal | Arnica. (n.d.).

Deutsch, J. E., & Anderson, E. Z. (2008). Complementary therapies for physical therapy a clinical decision-making approach. Saunders Elsevier.

Lennard, T. A. (2011). Pain procedures in clinical practice. Elsevier Saunders.

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