Arnica (Arnincae Montana)
Also known as:
Arnica cordifolia, Arnica des Montagnes, Arnica Flos, Arnica Flower, Arnica fulgens, Arnica latifolia, Arnica montana, Arnica sororia, Arnikabluten, Bergwohlverieih, Doronic d’Allemagne, Fleurs d'Arnica, Herbe aux Chutes, Herbe aux Prêcheurs, Kraftwurz, Leopard's Bane, Mountain Tobacco, Plantin des Alpes, Quinquina des Pauvres, Souci des Alpes, Tabac des Savoyards, Tabac des Vosges, Wolf's Bane, Wundkraut.
The dried flower heads and rhizome are used herbally and was first used by Swiss mountaineers to help prevent sore and aching limbs. It has seldom been used internally because of its irritant effect on the stomach.Arnica contains the substance: helenalin which is toxic in large amounts. The roots contain derivatives of Thymol, which is one of a group of naturally occurring compounds with strong antimicrobial action (aslo known as: biocides). Thymol can even reduce bacterial resistance to common antibiotics such as penicillin.
Used on unbroken skin to alleviate sprains, muscle pains and dislocations, it is also said to be helpful when painted on unbroken chilblains. Applied promptly, it helps prevent the formation of bruises by stopping the capillaries from bleeding. It works by stimulating the activity of white blood cells which process congested blood, and by dispersing trapped fluids from joints and muscles and bumped and bruised tissue. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities and it is these that help to reduce pain and swelling as well as improving wound healing.
Arnica should not be administered orally or applied to broken skin where absorption can occur. No consensus exists on topical dosing, and evidence from clinical trials is lacking to support therapeutic dosing. In homeopathic use, less concentrated strengths such as 200 C, 1 M (1,000 C), and 10 M (10,000 C) (C = centisimal dilution [1 part in 100]; M = millesimal dilution [1 part in 1,000]), are recommended for use pre- and postsurgically; clinical evidence is lacking to support therapeutic dosing.
Homeopathic doses of arnica are unlikely to exert any adverse reactions because of the minimal amount ingested. Arnica irritates mucous membranes and causes stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Allergy and contact dermatitis have been reported.
The plant is poisonous and ingestion can cause gastroenteritis, dyspnea, cardiac arrest, and death.