Title Image

Arnica montana

Arnica montana

Arnica montana - Arnica montana
Asteraceae – Aster family

Parts used in medicine include the arnica flower - Arnicae flos and arnica flowerhead – Arnicae anthodium, collected at the beginning stage of blooming and dried in natural conditions (shaded and ventilated).

Arnica montana – appearance and origin:

Arnica appears in mountainous and submontane European areas, in Poland most prominently in Sudeten Mountains and the Masurian Lake District, rarely, in scattered areas of Lower Silesia, Lesser Poland Upland, Świętokrzyskie Mountains and West Bieszczady Mountains. Species under strict protection, currently grown. May be propagated by the division of older plants.

Glandular, hairy plant. Green stem, pubescent, straight, attains approximately 60 cm, growing from a short rhizome. On the peak of the stem, 1 small capitulum and 2 (less often 4) on the sides. Leaves sessile or serrate, basal combined into a rosette, obovate and elongated, very thick, without tails, with a main nerve easily visible from the bottom of a leaf web (5 or 7 veins). The stem leaves are smaller, collected into 1-3 pairs, opposite, somewhat sticky, 3-veined, sessile, involving the stem. The flowers are golden yellow or orange-yellow, combined into capitulums with a diameter of 6-8 cm. The bottom of the capitulum is hairy, while it’s involucre is glandular hairy. Central flowers tubular, androgynous, peripheral, pseudoligular with 3 serrations, columnar (female). The fruit is a hairy achene of 4-5 mm. The roots are numerous, thin, brown.

Arnica montana – effects and use:

The arnica herb contains: guaian-type sesquiterpene lactones, up to 0.3% (main components: fatty acids, alkanes, thymol and its ester, thymohydroquinone, polyacetylenes), triterpenes, flavonoids up to 0.6% (derivatives of quercetin and kaempferol), iridoid, free phenolics and related (gallic, caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic, cynarin), carotenoids.

Alcohol extracts from flowers and baskets are applied:

- Externally - as anti-inflammatory medicine and an anti-septic in bruisings, swellings and stomatitis. They positively influence the blood supply and fasten the healing process, simplify the absorption of effusions, and minimise arthritic pains.

- Internally - on account of the toxicity, rarely used as a stimulating drug for respiratory action and as a relaxant.

Helenalina (Arnica sesquiterpene lactone) is a contact allergen and often causes allergy. However flowers and baskets of arnica of the Spanish descent do not cause allergies, because of their small content of the lactone.

Arnica montana has also a positive effect on the circulatory system, helps with hemorrhoids, post-thrombotic syndrome, postpartum bleeding and menopause.
Overdose - causes gastric irritation, vomiting, accelerated heart rate, and even collapse, hence must not be picked up from it’s natural habitat or willingly ingested in any shape or form.