Arnica, a plant with the botanical name of Arnica Montana, is part of the Compositae plant family. It is also commonly called Wolf’s Bane, Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco, Common Arnica and Arnica Flower. It is a perennial wildflower.
A little history on how arnica was used
It is one of the herbs most recognized for its external use. Beware: Taken internally it can be quite poisonous. The Greeks even used it for this purpose. It would be ground into a powder and used to poison enemies. Arnica wine was often made for this reason. The Greek naturalist Theophrastus wrote that when slaves became angry with their owners, they sometimes ingested tiny bits to make themselves ill and unable to work.
The external soothing qualities have been well-documented historically both in Europe and in North America. European herbalists concocted healing remedies with their arnica, while American Indians made healing ointments and tinctures with our native species.
A topical cream, lotion, or oil made from arnica helps relax stiff muscles, treat wounds, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation and bruises. A 1981 German study found two substances in this herb, helenalin and dihydrohelenalin, which produce anti-inflammatory effects.
Arnica’s Skin Care Benefits
The herb is primarily for external use. Arnica Montana flowers contain sesquiterpene lactones, phenol carbonic acid, flavonoids, coumarins, and volatile oil.
Helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone, is the main restorative compound in Arnica Montana, along with flavoids, help soothe and renew the skin after exposure to stress.
Arnica’s antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties may be of some benefit to those with inflammatory skin disorders. It also stimulates the forming the granular tissues and thus accelerating the healing process. Because of its healing properties, it can be used on bruises, sunburn, minor burns, as well as superficial phlebitis.
To make your oil, heat three ounces of the flowers in three ounces of almond oil, using a double boiler on low heat for four hours. Strain the oil and let it cool before applying.
Also try our Balancing Oil Free Skin Conditioning Serum loaded with a highly concentrated mixture of 19 herbs including Arnica!