- Arnica (Arnica montana)
- Grow Arnica for a Homemade Sore Muscle Salve
- Richo’s Blog
- Arnica Plant Care: Learn How To Grow Arnica Herbs
- Arnica Herb Uses
- Arnica Growing Conditions
- How to Grow Arnica
- Arnica Plant Care
- If you love to grow rare and exotic medicinal herbs, Gowing Arnica Montana is good for you, the plant is easy to grow and provide lovely blooms in yellow color.
- Growing Habit
- How to Grow Arnica Montana
- Growing Arnica
- Requirements and Care
- Russian Flower Names
- Giant Snowdrop
- Prairie crocus
Arnica (Arnica montana)
Arnica is a very hardy plant that originates from central Europe. It has a dark brown cylindrical rhizome with green foliage. The leaves form a flat rosette at the base of the plant with the flowers emerging from this. The flowers are orange yellow in colour, look similar to a daisy and typically reach 30–60cm in height. The plant is a perennial, dying down over winter and then coming away again the following spring.
Arnica has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant. It has well known external uses as a soothing remedy for bruises and sprains. The active components in Arnica are known to reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and kill germs. As alternative forms of healing become more popular, products such as Arnica will be used in greater quantities.
The flowers from Arnica are harvested, dried and then either steam distilled, or soaked in oil to leach out the active components. This is then used in a range of health products.
|Propagation:||Arnica is grown from seed in propagation trays and then pricked out.|
|Yields/ha:||300–700kg dry flowers/ha in year 3.|
|First harvest:||Some flowers harveted in 1st year. More production in years 2 and 3.|
|Full production:||Year 3.|
|Training/Pruning:||Cut back in winter.|
|Time of flowering:||November–February depending on site.|
|Soil type:||Moist, sandy and very well drained soils. Plants seem to have some tolerance to drought conditions. pH 5.5–7.5|
|Fertilisers:||General NPK fertilisers OK. Watch excessive N as it may cause disease problems on new lush growth.|
|Weed control:||Essential. Arnica is a very slow growing plant and competition from weeds such as white clover is a major problem. One of the main impedimants to organic production.|
|Pest/Diseases:||Snails, Looper caterpillars, Rabbitts. Also watch for Phoma. Can be very susceptible to disease under high humidity conditions.|
|Harvesting:||The flowers are harvested from Arnica usually when fully opened. Gloves are usually worn. Flowers are dried at or below 45°C to protect the active components before extraction.|
|Marketing:||Three New Zealand companies are currently looking to buy Arnica. It is one of the only medicinal herbs that is in short supply.|
Arnica, (genus Arnica), genus of some 30 species of plants in the composite family (Asteraceae), most of which occur in the mountains of northwestern North America. Arnica species are perennial herbs that grow 10–70 cm (4–28 inches) tall. The simple leaves are oppositely arranged with toothed or smooth margins and often feature glandular trichomes (hairs). The composite flower heads are generally yellow and produce achene fruits (a type of simple dry fruit) with a pappus (bristles) for dispersal. Several species have rhizomes. Though fairly common in homeopathic and folk medicine, Arnica is toxic and can cause fatal poisoning if taken internally.
One of the most important species, mountain arnica (Arnica montana), is a perennial herb of northern and central European highlands. It yields an essential oil formerly used in treating bruises and sprains and is often grown as a garden ornamental. Narrowleaf arnica (A. angustifolia) of Arctic Asia and America has orange-yellow flower heads 5–7 cm (2–2.5 inches) across and is a protected species in some countries.
Grow Arnica for a Homemade Sore Muscle Salve
The most commonly used medicinal arnica species is Arnica montana, which is an herbaceous, clump-forming perennial that’s hardy in zones 4 to 9 and is native to the mountains of central Europe. It grows best at high elevations, with 6,000 feet above sea level being its sweet spot. The folks at Strictly Medicinal Seeds have successfully grown arnica at 2,000 feet above sea level (Williams, OR), and they’ve also heard reports of it being grown successfully up to 8,000 feet above sea level. Those of us who live at lower elevations should try growing meadow arnica (Arnica chamissonis), which is less dependent on elevation and is hardy in Zones 4 to 10. The German Commission E has determined that meadow arnica is interchangeable with A. montana in terms of its anti-inflammatory affects.
Both arnica species should be started from seed indoors and then transplanted outdoors after danger of spring frost has passed. Germination can take up to 14 days, and soil should be kept moist in the meantime; arnica is a light-dependent germinator. Established plants prefer slightly acidic, moist soil in a sunny location. Seeds for both arnica species can be purchased from Strictly Medicinal Seeds.
Harvest yellow arnica flowers in mid- to late-summer and spread them on a screen or paper towel to dry.
Homemade Arnica Salve
Rub this salve on sore muscles and bruises or massage into hands when osteoarthritis pains flare.
- To first step is to make arnica infused oil. To do this, first fill a pint jar 1/3 of the way with dried arnica flowers.
- Fill the jar with the carrier oil of your choice (olive, almond, sesame, etc.)
- Cover and let sit in a warm, sunny location for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Strain the plant material from the infused oil. Compost the spent flowers and set the oil aside.
- To make the salve, measure the infused arnica oil and then find ¼ as much beeswax. For example, if you have 1 cup of oil, then find ¼ cup beeswax.
- Add the oil and beeswax to a double boiler and heat until the beeswax is thoroughly melted.
- Pour finished mixture into tin cans or small jars and let cool completely before using.
Hannah was inspired to write this blog post during her time enrolled in The Herbal Academy’s online school where she worked her way through the Entrepreneur Herbalist Package. She is managing editor for Heirloom Gardener and senior editor for Mother Earth News. Read all of Hannah’s posts here.
| 24 Comments
Arnica chamissonis (Meadow Arnica)
Arnica montana (Mountain Arnica), the endemic European species, is considered official. However, other species of Arnica (there are 28 in North America) are used by local herbalists, and appear to be medicinally interchangeable with the official species. Arnica chamissonis (Meadow Arnica) enjoys a wide distribution in North America and Europe, and is listed in the German Commission E Monograph as a viable substitute for A. montana in herbal medicine. Finding substitutes for the official species is a worthy goal, since populations of A. montana are declining over much of its range. Collection of flowers for medicinal purposes is illegal in France. The plant is classed as “vulnerable” in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Lithuania and Slovenia. A. montana is variously protected in Czech Rupublic, France, Italy, and the Ukraine. The plant is listed as “critically endangered” in Luxembourg, “threatened” in Sweden, and “extinct” in Hungary.
Collection of flowers and roots for medicinal purposes, combined with encroaching agriculture and urbanization has contributed to depopulation of the wild stands, creating shortages of the herb in commerce. Under the circumstances, it makes sense to grow Arnica. Those living at altitude will do well to concentrate on the A. montana, which makes large flowers that are easy to pick and make lots of medicine. Those living at lower altitudes might have better luck with A. chamissonis, which is a bit easier to grow. Given a suitable soil and sun exposure, this plant will thrive even at sea level.
Arnica seeds respond well to standard flower seed propagation methods. Prepare a light seeding mix that is free of lime and contains sand, forest loam and peat moss (or coir). Press the seeds into the surface of the soil or barely cover and tamp, then keep the flat warm, in the light, and evenly moist until germination, which occurs in 1 to 3 weeks. The seedlings will be quite small and slow growing at first. Once they are large enough to handle, individuate into pots and tend them for up to a year before transplanting out to the garden.
Once a good patch is established, it is fairly easy to produce more plants by means of division. Dig a rhizome, pot it up, and aerial parts will soon appear. Arnica enjoys a full sun exposure and loose, moist to mesic, acidic soils. The plant is intolerant of lime. Because it is rhizomatous (reproducing by way of underground creepers), it quickly populates a raised bed with a dense, monotypic stand. We have found that amending the native soil with compost, coir, peat, and sand, making a very loose mix that can easily be penetrated by the runners, helps promote the spread of Arnica and will result in a good yield of medicinal flowers in the fall of the first year, in the summer of the second year and for years thereafter.
Harvest the flowers in early flowering stage and dry on screens in a warm, dark and well ventilated place. Dry until crispy. It is a good idea to use the flowers soon after drying, as they tend to get buggy in storage. Arnica is apomictic, meaning that seed formation is initiated asexually by spontaneous division of the gamete prior to the blossoming phase. The plant does not require pollination in order to make viable seed, and every seed will produce a plant identical to the mother plant. For the purpose of seed saving, this means that there is no need to collect seed from a minimum number of individuals, and there is no concern about hybridization with other species–the seeds you harvest will remain true and strong whether harvested from one seed head or a thousand. So feel free to grow your Arnica and save your own seed–nature needs your help!
Plant Profiles Home
© Missouri Botanical Garden
Follow that Sheep
According to a European folk tale, the medicinal value of arnica was discovered by shepherds who noticed that injured sheep and goats were attracted to the plant.
Arnica grows primarily in the western mountains, from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in the north to the southwestern U.S., but it can also be found in small isolated pockets as far east as Lake Superior.
History and traditional uses
First Nations used poultices of arnica to soothe strained muscles and bruises. Settlers from Europe recognized North American arnica as closely related to a familiar European medicinal plant, Arnica montana, also employed to soothe minor aches and pains, as well as to treat wounds.
Current findings and new possibilities
Arnica contains several chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory or counter-irritant properties, which help relieve minor pains. It is currently being investigated for possible pain relief for arthritis. Arnica products for external application are readily available in Canada and used widely in Europe.
However, arnica is also a highly poisonous plant. In Canada, products containing arnica cannot be marketed for internal use, and arnica should not be applied to injured areas if the skin is broken.
In the Canadian garden
While A. fulgens and A. cordifolia are both sometimes used as garden plants, they can be harder to find than other arnicas, especially the European native A. montana. Both the North American and European species make cheery displays in July and August of bright yellow daisy-like flowers that dance on long stems well above the leaves. Plants need sun, good drainage, and acid soil, and are often grown in alpine, rock, or herb gardens.
Commercial growing and harvesting
Most commercial arnica products have been made from the European species, Arnica montana. Due to over-harvesting, this plant is becoming rarer in its native habitat, increasing the demand both for other species and for farm-grown arnica. Some arnica is gathered from the wild in Canada, but commercial production of the native and/or European species is also being fostered in several regions.
Arnica Plant Care: Learn How To Grow Arnica Herbs
A member of the sunflower family, arnica (Arnica spp.) is a perennial herb that produces yellow-orange, daisy-like blooms in late spring and early summer. Also known as mountain tobacco, leopard’s bane and wolfbane, arnica is highly valued for its herbal qualities. However, before you decide to grow arnica or use the herb medicinally, there are a number of things you should know.
Arnica Herb Uses
What is arnica herb for? Arnica has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Today, the roots and flowers are used in topical treatments such salves, liniments, ointments, tinctures and creams that soothe tired muscles, relieve bruises and sprains, ease the itch of insect bites, soothe burns and minor wounds, promote hair growth and reduce inflammation. Although the herb is usually applied topically, homeopathic remedies with highly diluted amounts of the herb are available in pill form.
Arnica is generally safe when used topically, although products containing arnica should never be used on broken skin. However, arnica should never be taken internally except when the doses are small and extremely diluted (and with the guidance of a professional). The plant contains a number of toxins that can cause a variety of potentially dangerous results, including dizziness, vomiting, internal bleeding and heart irregularities. Ingesting large amounts can be deadly.
Arnica Growing Conditions
Arnica is a hardy plant suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The plant tolerates nearly any well-drained soil, but generally prefers sandy, slightly alkaline soil. Full sunlight is best, although the arnica benefits from a bit of afternoon shade in hot climates.
How to Grow Arnica
Planting arnica isn’t difficult. Just sprinkle the seeds lightly on prepared soil in late summer, then cover them lightly with sand or fine soil. Keep the soil slightly moist until the seeds germinate. Be patient; seeds usually sprout in about a month, but germination can take much longer. Thin the seedlings to allow about 12 inches between each plant.
You can also start arnica seeds indoors. Plant the seeds in pots and keep them in bright, indirect sunlight where temperatures are maintained at approximately 55 F. (13 C.) For best results, grow the plants indoors for several months before moving them to a permanent outdoor location after all danger has passed in spring.
If you have access to established plants, you can propagate arnica by cuttings or divisions in spring.
Arnica Plant Care
Established arnica plants require very little attention. The primary consideration is regular irrigation, as arnica is not a drought-tolerant plant. Water often enough to keep the soil lightly moist; don’t allow the soil to become bone dry or soggy. As a general rule, water when the top of the soil feels slightly dry.
Remove wilted flowers to encourage continued blooming throughout the season.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.
If you love to grow rare and exotic medicinal herbs, Gowing Arnica Montana is good for you, the plant is easy to grow and provide lovely blooms in yellow color.
USDA Zones: 5 to 9
Propagation Method: Seeds
Soil Type: Slightly acidic to neutral
Bloom Color: Yellow
It grows up to 30 to 60 cm. tall and produces daisy like yellow flowers in summer, often grown as perennial, you can also grow it as annual. Arnica montana is native to mountainous regions of Central Europe and grown across the US and Canada.
How to Grow Arnica Montana
Arnica montana is hardy perennial in temperate climates, it grows easily from seed, but due to slow germination if you live in a climate with short summer it is better for you to find a potted plants or seedlings from a nursery.
Grow arnica montana in the USDA zones 5 to 9. This plant survives low winter temperatures.
Sow fresh arnica seeds outdoor in summer or adjust the time according to the required germination temperature, which is around 55 F (13 C) in the low nitrogen soil, at least an inch apart. Rake the soil lightly to make sure that the seeds make good contact with the soil, water thoroughly after sowing. The seeds will germinate within a month. Thin out the unhealthy seedlings as they grow, to reach a final gap of about 10-12 inches between plants.
Requirements and Care
Arnica montana, grows well in full sun, but can enjoy the shade in the afternoon, especially in warmer climates.
Prepare suitable soil for growing Arnica montana. The basic requirement for this plant is moist soil with good drainage. The plant tolerate poor soil, but grows best in an equal mixture of clay, peat and sand. It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil, and soil pH should be around 5.5 to 7.3.
Water your Arnica plant regularly so the soil will stay moist, ensure good drainage.
This plant does not require supplemental fertilization.
Flowers blooms in summer, you can make beautiful cut flowers of them. If you want to use them for medicinal purposes, collect the flowers as soon as they bloom in, air dry them and keep in air tight jar .
Caveat: Arnica is ruled unsafe for internal use and can be harmful if ingested.
Also Read: Flowers that are toxic
Russian Flower Names
snowdrop image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
Russia is a rugged country filled with an abundance of native flowers. Despite its often harsh weather conditions, many types of flowers flourish across the Russian landscape. Several of these flowers bloom in the late winter or early spring, filling otherwise barren winter scenery with bright splashes of color. Numerous varieties of indigenous Russian flowers are commonly found throughout the United States.
Camomile (Matricaria recutita), a member of the daisy family, is the national flower of Russia. Camomile flourishes quickly with minimal care and typically grows to between 10 to 12 inches in height. Beginning in the late spring and continuing into the summer, camomile produces pretty flowers with delicate white petals surrounding a bright yellow center disc. Camomile grows well in full sun conditions and sandy, well-drained soil. Known for its many medicinal purposes, camomile is used to treat a variety of conditions, including stomach problems, depression and inflammation. It is also used in a variety of commercial products, including lotions, cosmetics and sunscreen, according to the website Complete Herbal. Camomile is probably most popularly known as the key ingredient in camomile tea. Camomile is hardy to USDA planting zones 4 to 9.
The giant snowdrop (Galanthus woronowii) is native to southern Russia. This showy white flower, which resembles a bell, begins to bloom in late winter. The appearance of the giant snowdrop is usually one of the first signs of the onset of spring, often pushing through a layer of snow. This plant thrives in full sun with moist, well-drained soil and grows up to 12 inches in height, according to the website The Plant Experts. Giant snowdrop is hardy in USDA planting zones 3 to 9, although it does particularly well in zones 5 to 9.
Arnica (Arnica montana) grows in the wild in mountainous areas of southern Russia. Arnica has a short blooming period, blossoming in July to produce bright yellow flowers. Arnica grows well in moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate full or partial sun. Arnica has many medicinal purpose and is used topically, as well as ingested. This plant causes irritation upon contact with skin, according to the Plants for a Future website. Unable to tolerate frost, arnica is hardy to USDA planting zone 6.
Prairie crocus (Pulsatilla patens), a member of the buttercup family, is commonly found throughout eastern Russia. Flourishing in hot, sunny locations, this plant is typically found in open woods and prairies. This early-blooming plant appears at the very beginning of spring, often before the frost has disappeared, producing mauve, six-petaled flowers with bright yellow centers. Prairie crocus thrives in hot areas with full sun exposure and sandy soil, according to the Nature North website. Prairie crocus flowers open only on sunny days, and if the weather is cold or cloudy, they remain closed. Prairie crocus is hardy to USDA planting zones 3 to 8.