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.