This bright yellow flower native to the alpine climate of the Rocky Mountains is a perfect symbol of warmer weather on its way. Also known as leopard’s bane and mountain tobacco, arinca is in the same family as the sunflower and has been used since the 1500’s for its healing roots and medicinal flowers.
The most commonly known arnica is a species called Arnica Montana, this is what is typically used in homeopathic preparations found in stores. This type of arnica can easily be found in the mountains of Colorado, however there are several other varieties of arnica that are just as potent.
One of the other commonly found varieties in our area is Arnica Cordifiolia, or Heart Leaf Arnica.
Notice the difference in the leaves?
Which one is which do you think?
Now, to the unexperienced, these two plants may look completely different, which is why knowing and understanding botany to help you identify plants in the wild is so important, becuase you wouldn’t want to go using the wrong plant now would you…
Arnica is used topically for a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, superficial phlebitis, joint pain, inflammation from insect bites, and swelling from broken bones. More recent studies suggest it may also be helpful in the treatment of burns—making it the perfect summer companion.
It’s main action comes from it’s blood moving properties, helping to break up congested blood and bring fresh blood into an affected area, which is exactly what you are looking for when you have any type of musclaur injury or bruise.
This plant is truly a must-have for anyone who enjoys physical activity.
Arnica is planted in early spring and harvested throughout the summer and fall.
Latin Name: Arnica montana L., A. chamissonis, A. cordifolia
Parts Used: Fresh or dried flowers and leaves. The root is also used in European herbal preparations.
FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY UNLESS IN HOMEOPATHIC PREPARATIONS
Actions : Anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, blood moving
Contradictions: Use externally only. If you take any medicines regularly, discuss them with your doctor before you start using arnica supplements. They could interact with drugs like painkillers, steroids, blood pressure drugs, blood thinners, and herbs like ginkgo biloba, garlic, and saw palmetto.