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 Arnica :
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Arnica montana


Names : Leopard's Bane, European Arnica

Habitat : Native to Europe, Siberia and North West N. America.

Collection : The flowers are collected between June and August.

Part Used : Flower heads.

Constituents :

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

Indications : Whilst this herb should not be taken internally as it is potentially toxic, it provides us with one of the best remedies for external local healing and may be considered a specific when it comes to the treatment of bruises and sprains. The homeopathic preparation is entirely safe to take internally, especially when taken according to homeopathic directions. The herb itself, used externally, will help in the relief of rheumatic pain, the pain and inflammation of phlebitis and similar conditions. It may in fact be used wherever there is pain or inflammation on the skin, as long as the skin is not broken. Arnica has been shown to be an immuno-stimulant, as both the sesquiterpene lactone helenalin and the polysaccharide fraction stimulate phagocytosis. Sesquiterpene lactones are known to have anti-inflammatory activity and their biological effects appear to be mediated through immunological processes. As helenalin is one of the most active, this might help account for the use of Arnica for pain and inflammation.

Ellingwood considered it specific for "bruised, sore, lacerated and contused muscular structures." In addition he recommends it for the following pathologies: muscular soreness, pain, soreness of the breasts, severe injury, old sores, abscesses.

Combinations : For a lotion it may be combined with distilled Witch Hazel.

Preparations & Dosage : You can prepare your own tincture of this herb as follows: pour 1/2 liter (one pint) of 70% alcohol over 50 grams (two ounces) of freshly picked flowers. Seal it tightly in a clear glass container and let it stand for at least a week in the sun or in a warm place. Filter it and it is ready for use. To store it, put the tincture in a sealed container and keep it out of direct sunlight.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Arnica

ArnicaDuquenois P [A still mysterious medicinal plant, Arnica montana L]

Pharm Weekbl 1971 Mar 19;106(12):190-7 (Published in French)Hofmeyr GJ Piccioni V Blauhof P Postpartum homeopathic Arnica montana: a potency-finding pilot study.

Br J Clin Pract 1990 Dec;44(12):619-21 Kaziro GS Metronidazole (Flagyl) and Arnica Montana in the prevention of post-surgical complications, a comparative placebo controlled clinical trial.

Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1984 Feb;22(1):42-9Labadie RP [Arnica montana L.] Pharm Weekbl 1968 Jun 21;103(25):769-81 (Publishedin Dutch)Schroder H Losche W Strobach H Leven W Willuhn G Till U Schror K Helenalin and 11 alpha, 13-dihydrohelenalin, two constituents from Arnicamontana L., inhibit human platelet function via thiol- dependent pathways.

Thromb Res 1990 Mar 15;57(6):839-45Tveiten D Bruseth S Borchgrevink CF Lohne K [Effect of Arnica D 30 during hard physical exertion. A double-blind randomized trial during the Oslo Marathon 1990]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 1991 Dec 10;111(30):3630-1 (Published inNorwegian)Willuhn G [New findings from research on arnica]

Pharm Unserer Zeit 1981 Jan;10(1):1-7 (Published in German)

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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