Arnica - Arnica chamissonis


Arnica chamissonis

Arnica is immensely popular in homeopathy due to its purported bruise-controlling and swelling-reducing effects.

  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Mountain tobacco, Mountain daisy, Wolf’s bane, Leopard’s bane
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, rhizome, whole plant
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About Arnica

Arnica is a North American species of perennial herb that grows widely in Northern, Southern, and Central California. It is an upright plant that can grow up to 2.5 feet high with exuberantly yellow daisy-like blooms and sessile, short-petioled green leaves.

Arnica is immensely popular in homeopathy due to its purported bruise-controlling and swelling-reducing effects. Many patients use it preoperatively to recover after local trauma and surgeries or to reduce the pain and inflammation after accidents. Traditionally, it is added to creams, salves, and ointments to mitigate swelling and bruising. However, it should not be applied to broken skin. It is added to beverages, baked items, and candies in small amounts as a flavoring agent. It can be dangerous if arnica is consumed in larger amounts by mouth. It can lead to excessive vomiting, organ failure, heart damage, internal bleeding, coma, and death. 

The main active ingredient of Arnica is alpha-pinene which exhibits antimicrobial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiradical activities. Its flower essence is also quite popular and is believed to revive the dead traumatized areas of our body and psyche to breathe new life into them.



Arnica can be started in early to late spring, preferably when the soil temperature reaches 55℉ or more. You can start its seeds indoors until the seedlings establish properly and can then transfer them to the garden beds to make a perfect groundcover.

It can tolerate any well-drained soil but will notably flourish if given sandy, alkaline soil. It thrives in full sun but if your zone suffers the tyranny of a hot arid climate, try giving your arnica just afternoon shade for healthy growth.

Arnica seeds take 10-14 days to germinate. It is a moderately fast-growing perennial that quickly sprouts to give short-petioled green leaves. The plant further grows actively during spring and summer to produce strikingly yellow blooms in July and August for open pollination, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Following the fertilization, a cypsela fruit appears that contains one seed that accounts for the perpetuation of the life cycle of arnica.



Arnica Flowers are harvested in summers when they are fully open and the plant is completely mature. 

Arnica flowers are harvested using a pruning knife.

Arnica flowers should be used within 48 hours of their harvest. Or they can be dried in the sun or warm for not more than an hour and should be quickly used for the purpose.



Arnica is used widely in external preparations to treat bruises, reduce swelling, and relieve pain.

  • Tincture - Macerate the arnica flowers in grain alcohol for 2 weeks. Strain the plant material away and preserve the tincture in an airtight bottle.
  • Tea - Steep some arnica flowers in hot steaming water for 10 minutes to enjoy arnica tea.
  • Salve - Arnica-infused oil is stirred in melted beeswax pellets to formulate an arnica salve.
  • Infused oil - Dried Arnica flowers are submerged in olive oil for 4 weeks in a dark dry place then strain the plant material away and reserve the oil.