Arnica (Arnica montana)


Arnica Summary

Arnica is a flower found in mountainous regions of both Europe and North America.

It's considered to be one of the best for treating injuries like broken bones, strains, sprains, and bruising.

It can prevent excessive fluid from leaking into the interstitial spaces, leading to bruising, swelling, and pain.

Most accounts don't recommend arnica internally, and some case reports have suggested liver toxicity as a result.

As such, arnica should not be used on broken skin, which offers a direct route to the bloodstream, and eventually the liver.

Topical creams, salves, and liniments are common, and easy methods of applying arnica and are a great thing to have around in a first aid kit.


+ Indications

  • Bruises
  • Sprains
  • Muscle soreness/aches
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Inflamed insect bites
  • Haemotomas
  • Oedema resulting from fracture
  • Rheumatic arthritis
  • Furunculosis
  • Alopecia neurotica

+ Contraindications

  • Do not take internally

Herbal Actions:


  • Antinflammatory
  • Vulnerary
  • Anti-ecchymotic
  • Analgesic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Rubefacient

What Is Arnica Used For?

Arnica is used for treating minor wounds, bruising, and inflammation of the skin. It makes for a great first aid herb.


Weekly Dose

Family Name



Mountainous regions of Europe and North America

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Constituents of Interest

  • Arnicin
  • Coumarins
  • Rutin
  • Inulin

Common Names

  • Leopards bane
  • Mountain tobacco
  • Mountain snuff
  • Wolf's bane


  • Unknown


  • Unknown


  • Not safe for consumption. Avoid using on open cuts.


  • Unknown

Duration of Use

  • Long term use topically is acceptable.

Botanical Info:

Asteraceae is the largest of the flowering plant families with as much as 1911 genera (including Arnica), and 33,000 species.


Clinical Applications Of Arnica:

Arnica is used topically to heal minor wounds, bruising, and inflammation. It should not be used on broken skin or internally.



There have been numerous case reports and older studies suggesting that arnica may be harmful to the liver if ingested internally. As a result, arnica is not recommended for use on open wounds or internally.



Justin Cooke BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)


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To see all references, visit the full arnica monograph.