If you’ve ever used an Arnicare pain reliever, then you’ve already experienced the healing power of homeopathic Arnica montana. And as a reader of this blog, you probably know a thing or two about the flower that it’s made from. In this post, we’re digging deeper into the history of this legendary plant that so many rely on for pain relief.
Arnica montana is the Latin name for a perennial that grows 1 to 2 feet tall with yellow, daisy-like flowers that appear in July and August. Its common names include mountain daisy, leopard’s bane, and mountain tobacco. While the origin of the name “arnica” is uncertain, it likely comes from the Greek word for lamb’s skin, “arnakis,” in reference to the soft, fuzzy hairs on the plant’s leaves and stem. If you want to find Arnica in the wild, then you’ll need to climb high. This variety only flourishes in the mountain meadows of northern and central Europe and Siberia.
The History Behind Arnica
The first mention of Arnica’s medicinal properties was in the 12th century by German nun and herbalist St. Hildegard of Bingen. In her folk remedy book, Physica, she says, “If spots and blisters erupt between the skin and flesh, then let the person cook the herb in water and wrap the blemishes, and then the person will be healed.”
For centuries, European herbalists used fresh and dried Arnica flowers in salves, poultices, and teas to treat a variety of conditions. It became popular among Swiss mountain climbers who sought it to relieve muscle fatigue. We now know that Arnica’s healing power comes from unique anti-inflammatory compounds like helenalin and flavonoids.
A Superb Herb in Homeopathy
Pure Arnica oils and extracts can be dangerous, and they should never be ingested or taken orally due to their high concentration of active compounds. Fortunately, Arnica’s healing history lives on in homeopathy, where it’s safely used in a microdosed form.
From root to petal, the entire Arnica plant is used in homeopathic preparations. Boiron goes to great lengths to ensure it is responsibly sourced. The harvesting process is done by hand to preserve the survival of this species and the land on which it grows. When fresh Arnica arrives at the Boiron lab, teams of botanists and pharmacists examine and clean every flower. Moisture levels are checked, and other tests are conducted to verify health and quality before the plants are prepared into a homeopathic tincture.
As a homeopathic medicine, Arnica montana relieves muscle pain, stiffness, and swelling, and also reduces discoloration from bruises.* It can be found as the active ingredient in Arnicare pain relief products. Boiron also offers oral Arnica pellets as part of our “blue tube” single medicine line. For pain or bruises from minor injuries, overexertion, or falls, take 5 pellets of Arnica montana three times a day or as directed by a health care professional. Arnica pellets may also be prescribed after surgery or cosmetic procedures.
Learn more about homeopathic uses of Boiron Arnica montana in this video featuring pharmacist Gary Kracoff, NMD, RPh.
*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.
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