Arnica : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Arnica : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Some wild occurrences of Arnica exist in Spain, some Balkan countries and northern Europe, but the plant is becoming increasingly cultivated since it was possible to develop an Arnica variety for field cultivation (“Arbo” variety). As a result, the cultivation of Arnica chamissonis Less. Obsolete as a substitution in East Germany.

Arnica: Which parts of the plant are used?

The flower heads (Arnicae floss) or the tincture obtained from them are mainly used as a remedy. Rarely is the root or the whole plant used.


Arnica – characteristics of the plant

Arnica is a 20 to 60 cm high, perennial herb with opposite, hairy leaves. The plant also has one to three, rarely five, flower heads, which are either terminally located or arise from the leaf axils.

The yolk-yellow flowers are large, with 15 to 25 individual flowers. The plant is subject to species protection.

Arnica as medicine

The drug Arnicae flos consists of the dry and mostly decayed flower heads and the individual ray florets or tubular florets. At the upper end of the ovary are the characteristic grey-white and bristly so-called pappus hairs, which give the drug its whitish appearance. The golden yellow tip of the ray florets has shrunk more than the tubular florets.


Smell and taste of Arnica

Arnica smells faintly aromatic. The taste of Arnica can be described as slightly bitter and pungent.

Arnica – application


apply Arnica

The approved and clinically proven use of Arnica is the external treatment of injuries and accidents. These can include bruises, sprains, contusions, burns (including sunburn) or rheumatic muscle and joint problems.

Arnica is also helpful for diaper dermatitis (local skin irritation, especially where the diaper is on babies).

Other application areas are inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, furunculosis (several inflamed hair follicles) and inflammatory processes resulting from insect bites and surface phlebitis (superficial inflammation of the vein walls).


Folk medicine and homoeopathic use

From the 18th century, the drug was used for various ailments such as varicose veins, phlebitis, bruises, external injuries, rheumatism, and gout and even often abused as an abortifacient (abortive).

In homoeopathy, Arnica is often used to treat injuries.

components of Arnica

The main active ingredients of arnica flowers are sesquiterpene lactones, such as helenalin esters, which are also responsible for the bitterness of the drug. However, the exact composition of the sesquiterpene lactones varies depending on the origin of the plant. For example, the flowers of the Spanish plant contain helenaline esters only in small amounts, and dihydrohelenaline derivatives dominate.

Other ingredients of Arnica are flavonoids and flavonols, triterpenes, essential oil of buttery consistency with a high proportion of fatty acids, polysaccharides, cinnamic acids, caffeic acid derivatives and coumarins. While the total content of flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones does not depend on the altitude of the cultivation area, the content of caffeic acid, for example, is influenced by the cultivation altitude.


Arnica: list of indications

Arnica is used for the following indications:

  • injuries
  • wounds
  • bruise
  • hematoma
  • bruises
  • sprain
  • bruise
  • burns
  • rheumatism
  • muscle and joint problems
  • diaper rash
  • inflammation of the mucous membranes
  • Furunculosis
  • Insect bite
  • phlebitis

Arnica – Dosage


Arnica: dosage and administration

The drug can be used whole or cut as a powder for infusions or in the form of liquid or semi-solid preparations for external (!) use. The tincture made from one part arnica flowers and ten parts 70 per cent ethanol works best for this, in which about 92 per cent of the sesquiterpene lactones go into the tincture. If an aqueous extract is produced according to the specifications of the standard approval, the proportion of the extracted sesquiterpene lactones is around 75 per cent.

Processing it in tea is no longer very common, and arnica blossoms as a component of tea blends were withdrawn from the market after subsequent approval.


Medium daily dose for arnica infusions and tinctures

The average daily dose is: for infusions, about two grams of the drug in 100 millilitres of water; for tinctures for poultices, three to tenfold dilution with water; and tinctures for mouthwash, tenfold dilution.

Preparation of arnica poultices

Two grams of the flowers (a teaspoon is about 0.5 grams) are poured with scalding water and passed through a sieve after about five to ten minutes. The tea should not be drunk but is only suitable for making poultices.


When and how not to use Arnica?

Arnica should not be used if you have an arnica allergy.

Due to the toxic effect of sesquiterpene lactones, the main active ingredient in Arnica, Arnica must not be taken orally in any form. The tea preparation is not intended for long-term use and also not for internal use.

The application is limited to creating envelopes, despite the name “tea”! Internal use of Arnica can cause miscarriage. Contact with open wounds and eyes should be avoided.

Storage of Arnica

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Arnica – synonyms

German plant name: Arnica

German synonyms of the plant: Mountain welfare rental, angel flower, mountain root flowers, mountain root flowers, angel flowers, angel herb, chamois flowers, fall herb flowers, blood flowers, Lucien herb, stitch herb, wound herb, fall herb, power rose, power root, welfare rental flowers, wolf flowers, wolf flower, wolf thistle, monk’s cap

Latin plant name: Arnica Montana L.

The Latin synonym of the plant is Doronicum Arnica Desf. Doronicus montanum Lam.

German drug name: arnica flowers

German synonyms of the drug: See synonyms of the plant

Latin drug name: Arnica flower

Latin synonyms of the drug: Arnica Flowers, Alpine Calendula Flowers, Ptarmica Flowers, Mountain Plantain Flowers, Arnica Flowers, Alisma Flowers

English name: Arnica flower, Leopard’s bane, Mountain tobacco (Droge); Arnica (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Asteraceae

Plant family German: Korbblüts


Arnica – effect


Arnica and its effects

By binding to proteins, sesquiterpene lactones can cause a change in their activity. Because of these and other properties, these arnica ingredients may have antibacterial, mutagenic, and anti-inflammatory effects.

For example, animal experiments have shown that helenalin inhibits the activity of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell, scavenger cells) and other inflammatory mediators. In addition to the sesquiterpene lactones, the flavonoids also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Above a specific concentration, helenalin and dihydro helenalin esters are also effective against pain, fungal infections, rheumatism and arthrosis.


Arnica: side effects and interactions

Prolonged use on damaged skin can lead to edematous dermatitis (skin inflammation), blistering, and eczema.

So far, no interactions with other agents are known.


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