Arnica

Synonyms: Mountain Tobacco, Leopard's Bane
Scientific Name: Arnica montana L.
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy Family)

Habitat

The plant is indigenous to the mountainous regions of Central Europe, from southern Norway and Lithuania to southern Russia.

Constituents

Description

If you want to find it Arnica montana in the wild, you will have to climb up high as this plant is at home in mountain heathland and unfertilized or barely fertilized mountain pastures, where it displays its radiant yellow flowerheads from June to August. As in all members of the daisy family, the flowerhead consists of numerous individual florets: small tubular florets at the center surrounded by larger tubules with long petals extending outwards - the ray florets. A characteristic feature of Arnica is that the ray floret has three teeth at the tip. The robust stems bearing the flowers rise from a rosette of leaves and can reach a height of up to 50 cm. The whole plant is perennial and survives the hard mountain winter by withdrawing its energy into the rootstock.

Uses

As an important vulnerary, arnica relaxes tissue, making it especially beneficial to sore muscles. Arnica is also known to stimulate the circulation of mucous membranes.

Interesting Facts

The origin of the name Arnica is disputed. According to some sources it is derived from the Greek arnakis, meaning lamb's skin, an allusion to the downy sepals. Others see the name as an abbreviation of the word ptarmike from the Greek ptarmos, meaning to sneeze. The ancient Greek physician Dioscurides is said to have given this name to the members of the daisy family because of their tendency to cause sneezing. As a third variant, the name is thought to originate from the Arabic word arnich.

One of the German names for Arnica is wolf's blume or wolf flower. Arnica has the wild nature of the wolf. The entrapped mountain sunlight flashes from its flowers, reminding one of the yellow eyes of a wolf. In late summer, when the wind is rustled through the ears of corn, the corn wolf roams through the corn. In heathen times this mythological figure symbolized the strength of the field, the spirit of the corn, and provided the energy for ripening. As soon as he left the field, the corn withered. Farmers used to place arnica around their fields to keep the corn wolf within its borders As a "wolf's plant," they believed it could stop the corn wolf from leaving the field. As soon as the last corn was cut, he would escape and slip into the last sheaf. This was often decorated and carried into the village amidst great rejoicing. Later, farmers placed Arnica around the fields on Midsummer's Day to protect the corn against

Bilwisschnitter – the corn demon.

Arnica was dedicated to Freya and was one of the most important herbs associated with the feast of St. John. Alongside St. John's wort and bracken, it was an obligatory part of any summer solstice ritual. Arnica was also believed to have magical powers that could influence the weather - it was burned to keep thunderstorms away. A German rhyme goes:

'Set arnica alight, set arnica alight
Make the thunderstorm take flight'

The Plant at Dr. Hauschka Skin Care

As soothing care for sore muscles, Arnica is contained in Dr. Hauschka Birch Arnica Energizing Body Oil, which stimulates and relaxes after physical exertion.

This stimulation also supports the regenerating action of Dr. Hauschka Revitalizing Hair & Scalp Tonic which strengthens the hair and scalp.

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