Arnica (Arnica montana, Asteraceae family) originates in Siberia and Central Europe. This plant is perennial, grows up to 30 cm, form a rosette at the base of about 20 cm. Arnica flowers between June and August (summer in the Northern Hemisphere) if appropriate growing conditions: sun exposure, soil rich in humus and well-drained and luminous forests. The flowers are yellow and identical to daisies.
The wild plant is getting endangered because of their harvest for medicinal applications and due to the destruction of their natural habitat for construction of farmland.
Harvesting, drying and storage
The dried arnica flowers should be collected on a sunny day, when fully open. The flowers are dry in a dry, airy place and at 20ºC. The flowers should be stored in sealed amber vials to maintain the medicinal capacity for 12 to 18 months.
The dried flowers are prescribed to relieve muscle pain, treat bruises and sprains. The arnica flowers have medicinal properties antirheumatic, analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Arnica tincture may be prepared at home: a glass vial should put about 120 grams of fresh or dried flowers and covering the flowers with 500 ml of alcohol 50% (the ratio should be 50% water and 50% alcohol). The vial should be stored in a dark place for 3 to 5 weeks. Arnica tincture is recommended by homeopaths to fatigue, sore feet and rheumatism.
The ointment recommended by homeopaths, can be made at home: cooking 20g of arnica flowers (dried flowers or powder) with 20g of olive oil for several hours on very low heat (without letting it burn). The oil obtained is mixed with molten bees wax – the amount of wax varies according to the desired consistency. The ointment should be stored in amber glass bottles.
The infusion (herbal tea) of arnica (1 teaspoon of flowers for a liter of hot water, but not boiled) acts as anti-inflammatory circulatory system and increases resistance to bacterial infections. The validity of infusion is of two days if stored in a refrigerator. The infusion can also be used for washing and relieve muscular and rheumatic pain.
Side Effects and Contraindications
The plant may cause allergic reactions, in this case the treatment should be discontinued.
Consumption should be prescribed by a health care professional because the consumption of high doses of arnica can be fatal. The arnica extracts can raise blood pressure. The arnica extracts must be diluted before use externally.
KRAPP, K. [et al.]. Manual de medicinas complementares. Barcelona; Loures; Porto: Oceano: Crerital: Nova Variante, . [VIII], Original title: The gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine
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