Arnica : A healing plant and a wonderful medicinal herb for your garden

Arnica

Genus: Arnica montana OR chamissonis
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy Family)
Growing Arnica: 
I grow the North American variety, since it is a native species here. Testing shows that the properties of both Arnica montana (European) and Arnica chamissonis (American) are very similar. The plants like acidic soil and will withstand our Canadian summers as long as it doesn’t get colder than -36 degrees C.
It likes moist soils and sun, although it does tolerate some shade.

It also boasts some beautiful daisy-like bright yellow flowers, so it makes a wonderful ornamental plant to plant alongside other flowering species. I see loads of bees around mine. The fact that it’s a medicinal herb and also a pollinator is a big plus in my books


What’s the difference between the Arnicas?

A.Montana grows in Europe, and is an old folk-remedy for pain and wounds.
A. chamoissonis is the North American variety.

In Norse mythology, the plant was sowed around wheat fields in midsummer because it was said to have protected the crops from the Norse demon Bilwis. It is an herb of Freya, and considered a sacred herb of midsummer.

Other Names
Leopard’s Bane
Mountain tobacco
Sneezewort
Fall-kraut
Bergwohlverleih (German name)

Chemical Breakdown
Flavonoids, lignans, arnicin (which gives it its bitter properties), resins, and carotenoids.
Arnica also contains helenalin, which can be toxic if taken in large amounts.

Herbal Uses
Arnica is used on unbroken skin as an anti-inflammatory, to reduce pain and to help treat bruises, sprains and muscle strain. It’s becoming more and more popular ingredient in commercial creams, and at the pharmacy in over-the-counter pain creams.

Medical Properties
It is used to help the symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, contusions and hematoma.

Arnica is part of the herbalists basic toolkit for trauma.

Arnica is an anti-inflammatory.

Sources: Cassells, A.C., Walsh, C., Belin, M., Cambornac, M., Robin, J.R., Lubrano, C.
Journal Article 1999, 0167-6857
Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture. Establishment of a plantation from micropropagated Arnica chamissonis a pharmaceutical substitute for the endangered A. montana
Kluwer Academic Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A%3A1006224215503

“Arnica” http://www.naturesupplies.co.uk/arnica/

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