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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Arnicabluten (Ger), Fleurs d'Arnique (Fr), Flor deArnica (Span), Leopard's Bane, Mountain Arnica, Mountain Tobacco, Wolf's Bane
(Arnica montana)
Also: Varieties native to North America are:
A. acaulis, A. chamissonis, A. cordifolia, A. fulgens, A. latifolia, A. mollis, A. nudicaulis, A. sororia,


NOT to be used on open wounds!! Not to be used without medical supervision! Causes large increases in blood pressure. Arnica is CARDIAC TOXIC! The essential oil is very powerful and must be used highly diluted. Do not use internally under any circumstances. Arnica should be dispensed by PROFESSIONALS ONLY. Internal use of Arnica can lead to death. Use only commercial products which are deemed safe for external use. Homeopathic preparations can be safely used. It's use is RESTRICTED in the United Kingdom and ruled unsafe in the United States. Internal use can severely irritate stomach. Can cause toxicity and blistering of internal mucosa. Can cause contact dermatitis when used externally...fair skinned and fair haired people are more likely to experience this. Can cause collapse upto and including death when taking internally. It initially lowers heartbeat and blood pressure, then dramatically raises it; irritates the digestive tract and kidneys. A little too much can cause dizziness and tremors. Taken internally is said to lead to transient depression and debility. Repeated external use can produce severe irritation/inflammation of the skin (helenalin the causative agent for skin irritation). Only dilute solutions of the tincture should be used as it can cause blistering and inflammation where applied.

CONTAINS: Essential oil (containing thymol), sesquiterpene (reduces inflammation, decreases pain, kills germs), lactones (arnicin, helenalin), dihydrohelenalin (anti-inflammatory and analgesic), flavonoids, polysaccharides, inulin, carotenoids, tannins, bitter yellow crystalline principle, phulin, and vasoactive constituents which are undetermined.
Flowers may contain more arnicin than the roots, but no tannin.
Root yields a small amount of oil and a resinous substance.
Active principles are sesquitepenoid lactones, helenalin (responsible for contact dermatitis), and dihydrohelenalin.

A perennial having dramatic yellow-gold daisy-type flowers and a basal rosette of downy leaves. Stem leaves are lance-shaped and opposite. Around the yellow flower's central disc are 10-14 yellow rays, each having 3 notches in their ends. Native to Central Europe and Siberia and found in the higher elevations of the Northern Hemisphere in open meadows. A protected plant in some parts of Europe.
In the United States it is perennial to Zone 6. A. montana can be substituted with a variety of US species. A. fulgens and A. sororia are native to southwest Canada and the western US. A. cordifolia grows from Alaska to New Mexico and Arizona and southern California. A. montana was official in the US pharmacopeia from 1820-51. The flowers were official in the USP from 1882-1905. A. montana, A. fulgens, A. sororia, A. cordifolia were official in the National Formulary from 1947-60. American products are derived primarily from A. fulgens, A. latifolia, and A. cordifolia.

PROPAGATION: By seed sown in fall (stratification required if spring sown) or by root division in spring. Perennial. Commercial growing requires 5 to 6 lbs. of seed per acre.
NEEDS: Well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil (according to one source...while another gives the instructions for well-draining, sandy, but moist soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5) in full sun. The varieties A. cordifolia and A. latifolia do best with light shade.
HARVEST: Flowers and rootstock. Flowers are taken when fully opened, then dried and used for creams, infusions, linaments and tinctures. Root is taken in fall after the leaves have died down. The entire plant can be dried and then powdered; it can then be mixed with equal portions of petroleum jelly or mineral oil for external use.
FLOWERS: Appear mid-summer.
SOLVENT: Boiling water; alcohol.


Aromatic, bitter, astringent, discutient (causes the removal of tumors or other pathological accumulations), diuretic, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-septic, anti-fungal.
External use is batericidal and vesicant. Stimulates peripheral blood supply and is locally healing. It is used mainly as a local irritant and vulnary for bruises and sprains. Has also been used for phlebitis, shingles and inflammed breast. Promotes wound healing and reabsorption of hemorraghes (bruises).
Has been used internally (professional use only!! See caution above) during emergencies after mental or physical shock, the pain and swelling after dental extraction, and for fractures and headaches (including concussion). Has been used as a "shock" remedy to help the body and mind cope with sudden, violent events.
Has been used before and after surgery to assist healing.
Stimulates immune system and heart.
Causes reabsorption of internal bleeding in bruises and sprains (a cream is applied to affected area or else a compress used which has been dipped in a solution of dilute tincture, then wrung and applied.
Relieves pain and inflammation (external). The liquid solution has been used on any UNBROKEN surface to stop pain. Used as a compress on rheumatic joints, bruises, painful and swollen feet. Also used to relieve pain of muscle spasm.
Has been used in Germany orally, intravenously or locally as a stimulant (increases temperature and secretions).
Has been used in liniments and creams (often combined with witch hazel) for dislocations, sprains, bruises, chilblains, varicose ulcers, and as a throat gargle.
Has been used primarily as an external tincture or salve. The extract being used to reduce inflammation and pain of bruises, sprains, tendons, dislocations, and swollen feet.
For impetigo the skin has been cleansed with 45% alcohol containing a few drops of arnica tincture.
Has been used in lotion or ointment form for swelling and bruises. Tincture is diluted 5 times with water for compresses applied to swellings. Dilute tincture has also been used as paint for chilblains.
For violent stomach and abdominal pain, a compress of arnica tea is made by boiling the entire plant in vinegar and water.
Has been used to clear fungal and bacterial infections (external).
A poultice of the tincture or a cream has been used for menstrual cramps.
Has been used internally (see caution note above!) for heart complaints and is used in Germany by physicians for heart conditions. Also for gout, rheumatism and feverish conditions (5-10 grains taken 3 to 4 times daily).
Has been used by professionals for short-term treatment of heart failure and coronary heart disease. Enhances circulation .
Has been used in cases of low fever and paralytic afflictions.
For falling hair (used to stimulate circulation) = Applied as a cream or ointment to affected areas or else a well diluted tincture is used as a hair rinse. Falling hair treatment should include support with nervines and vitamin B supplements.
Tender feet = 1/2 oz. tincture in a foot bath of hot water.
A. acaulis (Leopard's bane) has been used in tincture form for sprains and bruises. Was used by the Catawbas for back pain.
A. nudicaulis is considered stimulant, emetic, carthartic and has been used by the Germans for paralysis, amaurosis (blindness) and nervous diseases.
Salve has been used for chapped lips, inflammed nostrils, bruises, joint pain, skin rash and acne.
Has been used internally in Russian folk medicine to stop bleeding, for boils, inflammation of the genitalia, heart weakness, to stimuate the central nervous system, to promote bile, to reduce cholesterol.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
TINCTURE of the FLOWERS = 10-30 drops (US pharmacopia) TINCTURE of the ROOT = 10-30 drops (British pharmacoepaeia)
NO MORE THAN 5 drops of tincture diluted in water every 3 to 4 hours until symptoms subside
FLOWER = 1-2 grains
ROOT = 5 grains
INFUSION = 1 tsp dried flowers to 1/2 C. boiling water taken in 3 equal portions over the course of one day as diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant. (Medical supervision necessary).
EXTERNAL WASH = 2 heaping tsps flowers in 1 C. boiling water; use cold.
OINTMENT = Place 1 oz. flowers in 1 oz. olive oil or lard in double boiler for a few hours on very low heat; strain.
COMPRESS = Combine 1 Tbsp tincture in 5 Tbsp water; dip cloth, wring out and lay on injured area.
LINIMENT = Heat 1 oz. of flowers in 1 oz. of lard or oil for several hours. Strain and allow to cool before applying.
SPIRITS of ARNICA = Put flowers in brandy. In about 3 days the tincture may be used at the rate of 5 drop amounts.
TINCTURE = 1 pint of 70 proof alcohol is poured over 2 oz. of fresh flowers; seal in clear glass container and let stand for 1 week in the sun or a warm place; strain; store sealed and protect from direct light.
INFUSION = 2 tsp flowers to 1 C. boiling water; simmer for 10 minutes; cool; take in 5 drop amounts.

6X potency used for epilepsy and seasickness. Also used immediately before and after childbirth every 15-30 minutes for a few hours to help repair stressed tissues. Also taken every 1 to 2 hours to help healing after accidents.
3X potency used before sailing and every hour on board.
30X potency used for angina with arteriosclerotic condition.
Tincture of whole fresh plant is also used as well as tincture of the root. Used for abscess, apoplexy, severe anxieties, back pain, baldness, bed sores, black eye, boils, affections of the brain, bad breath, bronchitis, bruises, carbucles, chest problems, chorea (nervous affliction), corns, cramps, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentary, eccymosis (bruise), excoriations (deep scratch), exhaustion, eye problems, sore feet, meningitis, miscarriage, sore nipples, affections of the nose, paralysis, pleurodynia (intercostal muscle pain), purpura (purple blotches on skin caused by subcutaneous bleeding), rheumatism, splenalgia (pain relating to spleen), sprain, stings, suppuration, taste disorders, thirst, traumatic fever, tumors, affections of voice, whooping cough, wounds, retinal hemorrhage of the eyes, concussion, itching burning eruptions, respiratory problems, acute tonsillitis, pneumonia, hoarseness caused by overusing the voice, and sour night sweats. Used for disorders evidenced by hot head with cold body and scalp feels contracted with a cold spot on forehead; also chronic vertigo and where objects whirl about and especially when walking.

Used in aromatherapy for bruises and other injuries. Said to promote healing, create warmth, stimulate circulation, moisten skin, arouse, restore vitality, awaken.

Has been used to flavor liqueurs and cordials.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH