Arnica

Arnica montana, Compositae. The flower heads are the part of the plant used.

The flowers are gathered in summer.

Functions of arnica

Arnica is one of the best remedies for external local healing. It is the herb of choice for sports injuries such as bruises, sprains, wounds and shock.

Arnica:

  • is very useful with sprains and strains and other muscle and joint complaints. It is useful with the treatment of rheumatic pain, and the pain and inflammation of phlebitis and similar conditions.
  • for a lotion it can be used in combination with diluted witch hazel.

Notes on arnica

  • This herb should not be taken internally as it has a highly toxic effect. It should only be used on unbroken skin and you should stop using it if there are any signs of dermatitis.
  • The homeopathic preparation of the herb is safe to use internally, because of the low dosages.
  • Do not use arnica products for a prolonged period of time.

Dosages

This is best used as an ointment that contains up to 15% arnica oil.

You can make a compress of arnica tea or tincture to apply over the affected muscle or joint. To make the tincture to place on the compress pour 1/2 litre (one pint) of 70% alcohol over 50 gm (2 ounces) of freshly picked flowers. Seal in a tight, clear glass container and let stand for at least a week in the sun or in a warm place. Filter it and it is ready to use. To store it put it in a sealed container and keep it out of the direct sunlight.

For the gardener

The arnica plant has been found to grow most readily in sandy, humus rich soils. They prefer plenty of sunshine.

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References

Duke, J.A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

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