Arnica (Arnica montana)


COMMON NAME (English) /LATIN NAME (Latin): Arnica (Arnica montana)

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat & Cultivation: Yellow, ornamental wild flowers that can be seen in meadows, hilly fields or home gardens during summer and autumn. Sun loving, hardy, perennial that can be cultivated from seeds, growing in sandy and acid soils. Native to the northern meadows and highlands of Europe, Siberia and Central Asia. Officially added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia in 1820, and endorsed by the German health authority’s Commission E regarding uses of the herb in Germany.

Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones, Flavonoids, volatile oil (includes thymol, mucilage, polysaccharides)

Actions: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Astringent, Anti-bacterial, Antirheumatic, Antiarthritic, Stimulates blood circulation

Parts Used:

  • Aerial parts (whole top, especially flowers - fresh/dry)

  • Roots (dry)

Traditional Uses: Infused Oil, Ointment, Lotion, Cream, Gel

  • Sprains & Strains: Swollen joints or limbs, injury pain may be treated by applying oil, cream, or ointment onto the affected area 3x/day or as need it. Another alternative is applying a pad, as a compress, that has been soaked in diluted tincture. Apply compress 6x per day every 1-2 hours.

  • Bumps & Bruises: May be treated by applying oil, cream, or ointment onto the affected area several times/day.

  • Swellings: Apply ointment 2-3x/day. Arnica combines well with Witch Hazel and/or Comfrey.

  • Acute Injury: Make a poultice by steeping 3 Tbsp of arnica flowers in hot water for 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool for a minute and then apply it onto the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Apply it 3-4x/day in case of an acute injury.

  • Shock, Trauma & Pain injury: Internal consumption ONLY as a homeopathic

  • Hair Loss: The loss may be patchy or total. Can also be hereditary, or mild loss may be due to vitamin deficiency. Apply cream or ointment to the affected area, or apply well-diluted tincture.



Many studies have been conducted to test safety and efficacy of the plant. The German health authority recognized, approved and endorsed use of Arnica montana. Products containing Arnica montana are common addition when comes to treatment of external injuries.  

Various studies have been done to show pain-management on bruising, swellings, and after-surgery care on patients who undergo plastic surgery, tonsils removal and hand operations.

In a study that involved 204 people who suffered osteoarthritis in their hands was found that applying arnica gel and similar-appealing gel (containing 5% ibuprofen) after 3 weeks each group showed similar improvements in pain relief and hand function. The study is to be conducted further.

Numerous helpful effects of arnica are contributed to sesquiterpene lactones, which is a group of compounds which helps to fight inflammation and relive pain.

The plant is widely used as a first-aid in the United States.

Caution: Do not take internally. Use homeopathic Arnica internally only. Homeopathic Arnica has been significantly diluted. Do not try to self-medicate yourself as the plant may cause toxicity (hearth arrhythmias, respiratory collapse). Do not use on broken skin - plant may cause skin irritation. If skin rash appears, please discontinue use. Do not apply it near the mouth and eyes to avoid absorption of toxic compounds. Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Credits: Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine (Andrew Chevallier)), The Complete Medicinal Herbal (Penelope Ody), Healing Remedies (C. Norman Shealy), National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs (Rebecca L. Johnson & Steven Foster, Tieraona Low Dog & David Kiefer), University of Maryland Medical Center, National Library of Medicine
  • Jana Glanzer