Arnica - the wonder herb
The alpine plant Arnica is an important ingredient when dealing with aches and pains. Arnica can be applied externally or taken internally as a homeopathic remedy to assist with bruises, sprains, muscular aches and joint pains.
Arnica is mentioned as far back as the 11th century, and was used across Europe by physicians from the 16th century onwards for wounds.
Today the whole plant is often used in natural medicines, both fresh and dried, depending on the remedy. It is one of the most versatile complementary remedies. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, famous for soothing aches and pains. Legend has it that shepherds reported that sheep and goats grazing in the mountains would eat arnica when injured from falls. Even in cases of severe injury, the animals swiftly recovered. The story goes that the shepherds themselves also tried the plant and found that when they were injured, arnica helped speed their recovery (we do not recommend you try this as the raw plant can be toxic!).
Arnica is commonly known as Leopard’s Bane or Mountain Tobacco. It is a perennial with a creeping rhizome that sends up a rosette of small downy leaves in the first year. It has a tall stem with few leaves but large daisy-like yellow flowers, which rise in the summer of the second year, their smiling faces searching out the intense sunshine.
The plant is native to the mountainous regions of Central Europe, southern Norway, southern Russia in the east and Lithuania in the north.