Arnica (Arnica montana)


Arnica Overview:

Arnica is a flower found in mountainous regions of both Europe and North America. The flowers are used on injuries like broken bones, strains, sprains, and bruising. It is considered to be one of the best for this as it can prevent excessive fluid from leaking into the interstitial spaces, leading to bruising, pswelling, and pain.

Most accounts do not recommend arnica internallywith some case reports suggesting liver toxicity. 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

Main Herbal Actions:


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

Main Uses:

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


Part Used


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

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.


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To see all references, visit the full arnica monograph.