Introduction of Arnica:mountain arnica or wolfsbane.
✵The article gives records of the herb Arnica, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source five plant species, ①.Arnica montana, and other Arnica species in USA (the United States of America), ②.Arnica fulgens Pursh., ③.Arnica sororia Green., ④.Arnica latifolia Bong, and ⑤.Arnica cordifolia Hook., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these five plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Arnica, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Arnica(mountain arnica, wolfsbane).
English Name: Arnica.
Latin Name: Arnica montana L.and related species.
Common Names: Leopard's bane, mountain snuff, mountain tobacco, mountain arnica, wolfsbane.
Property and flavor: The flower heads are aromatic, the taste is bitter and irritating.
Brief introduction: Arnica is the dried flower heads of Arnica montana or other Arnica species, in USA (the United States of America), species used include Arnica fulgens Pursh., Arnica sororia Green., Arnica latifolia Bong, and Arnica cordifolia Hook. Arnica is classified as a protected species in many countries.
Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Arnica as the dried flower heads of the species ①.Arnica montana, and other Arnica species in USA, ②.Arnica fulgens Pursh., ③.Arnica sororia Green., ④.Arnica latifolia Bong, and ⑤.Arnica cordifolia Hook. It is a plant species of the Arnica genus, in the Asteraceae family (the daisy, or composite family). The dried flower heads are used medicinally for centuries, and the rhizomes are sometimes used as well, in Europe, the ethereal oil of the flowers, the dried flowers, the leaves collected before flowering and dried, the roots, and the dried rhizome and root are used medicinally. These five commonly used species are introduced:
Botanical description: Arnica montana is a perennial herb in the Asteraceae family (the daisy, or composite family). The plant grows up to 15~60 cm, it has basal downy leaves, and flowers from May to August. There are achenes following its yellow-orange ray flowers which surround the yellow disk florets, the flowers at the top stem form a solitary bloom. The leaves grow in tight clusters at the base of the stem, and the flowers are yellow, somewhat like a daisy.
Ecological environment: The Arnica Montana is also known as wolfs bane or mountain arnica, according to herbal works it is native to Europe, the plant blooms every year from May to August. It grows on mountains, its title Latin word “Montana” meaning from mountains. The plant grows in its native habitat including grasslands, shrublands, and alpine mountain environments. It can also be found in forests, meadows and seeps, dry pine forests, and pastures. In Europe it is distributed from Scandinavia to southern Europe, it is also found in Central Asia.
Growth characteristics: Arnica montana tolerates most soils if they are lime-free, and in a well-drained location in full sun to partial shade, but prefers slightly alkaline moist sandy loam. This plant is toxic, however, has been listed as endangered in many locations due to its collection for medicinal uses.
(2).Arnica fulgens Pursh.
Botanical description: Arnica fulgens Pursh is also known as Arnica fulgens, hillside Arnica, foothill arnica, orange arnica, shining leopardbane. It is a plant of the Arnica genus, the Asteraceae family. Arnica fulgens is a herbaceous perennial plant, it has one or more unbranched stems, and grows up to 10~75 cm tall. It blooms from May to July, or late in August.
Ecological environment: Arnica fulgens is native to North America, mainly USA and Canada, in North America it distributes in the central and northwest areas of North America, north to British Columbia, south to California, and Colorado. It grows in the wild field and is not cultivated, it grows in meadows and seeps, lower montane coniferous forest, and great basin scrub. The plant prefers moist and well-drained humus-rich soil, preferably lime-free, a mixture of sand, loam, and peat.
The plant is normally harvested from the wild for medicinal use in America, it has a similar reputation to Arnica montana in Europe.The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications to unbroken skin.
(3).Arnica sororia Green.
Botanical description: Arnica sororia, a dicot, is a rhizomatous perennial herb, it is also known as twin arnica, it has one or more piliferous glandular stems, and grows up to 10~50 cm tall. Several pairs of broadly lance-shaped leaves grow along the stems, the lower leaves grow on petioles, and the leaves grow up to 14 cm long. The inflorescence has a daisy-like flower head, rarely more than one per stem. These are lined with phyllaries coated in glandular hairs. The flower head has a center of glandular yellow disc florets and a fringe of yellow ray florets. The fruit is achene, a few millimeters long, with a white pappus.The plant flowers in early summer.
Ecological environment: The plant is native to the western American continent, western USA, and western Canada. The plant grows in grasslands and conifer forests, and sagebrush steppe, damp meadows, dry rocky soils in sagebrush communities, shrub-steppe, east-side forests, at mid-elevations.
(4).Arnica latifolia Bong.
Botanical description: Arnica latifolia Bong is also known as broadleaf arnica, its synonym is Arnica latifolia var. angustifolia Herder. Its other common names are Broad Leaved Arnica, Mountain Arnica, and Daffodil Leopardbane. It is a plant of the Arnica genus, the Asteraceae family. Arnica latifolia is a perennial herb, it has a long rhizome, and the stem of the plant is piliferous and mostly naked, it grows 10~50 centimeters tall. There is a cluster of leaves that grow around its base and usually a few pairs along the lower part of the stem. The leaves are lance-shaped to broad and nearly cordate and are usually toothed. One or more daisylike flower heads are lined in piliferous phyllaries and form a flower cluster. Each flower head has a yellow disc florets center and several yellow ray florets up to 3 centimeters long. The fruit is achene with a white pappus.
Ecological environment: Arnica latifolia usually grows in open places, leaves are usually sessile, not commonly cordate. It grows in mountain habitats such as forests, meadows, and open places, the plant prefers sandy or loamy soils, it does not grow well in clay soils.
Arnica latifolia Bong is native to the North American continent and distributed mainly in western North America from Alaska to New Mexico.
(5).Arnica cordifolia Hook.
Botanical description: Arnica cordifolia Hook is also known as Heartleaf Arnica, it is a perennial plant, that grows up to 15~60 cm, upright and glandular, piliferous, one or few stems, usually unbranched, it has 2 to 4 pairs of cordate leaves,"Cordifolia" means "heart-leaf", the cordate leaf is often evident, but its leaf shape is highly variable, some top leaves are elongated triangles, the leaves at lower part are shallowly serrated at the edge. The flower heads are composed of 10 to 15 ray flowers with pointed tips surrounding a disk with long soft hairs.
Ecological environment: Arnica cordifolia usually grows in shady woods, the light shade cast by trees or rocks at mid to high elevations in mountains, leaves are usually petiolate, usually habitat in west side forest, east side forest of America, meadow, subalpine, alpine, etc. It is one of the most common of all Arnicas.
Arnica cordifolia Hook is native to the North American continent, from Subarctic America to west and west-central USA, it distributes mainly in the west and north of America continent.
Characters of herbs: The flower grows in the leaf axils of the upper pair of leaves, the flowers have a diameter of 6~8 cm, are usually egg york-yellow to orange-yellow, occasionally light yellow. The rhizome may also be 3-headed with many yellow-brown secondary roots. The 5-ribbed fruit is black-brown and has a bristly tuft of hair.
Pharmacological actions: ①.its effective components sesquiterpene lactones helanalin and dihydrohelanalin and derivatives help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, inhibit bacteria, albeit mildly; ②.counterirritant; ③.help to soothe scrapes and aches; ④.antiseptic; ⑤.anti-inflammatory; ⑥.numbing agent for pain;
Medicinal efficacy: Arnica montana is a widely used therapeutic plant used traditionally to treat various ailments, the herb has been widely used as a homeopathic remedy for the treatment of several inflammatory conditions in pain management and postoperative settings. The herb has a wide range of uses but is most commonly used for bruising, swelling, post-workout recovery, and skin clarity. In Europe, it is used as counterirritants, anti-inflammatories, and to relieve pain. It is also used to soothe a sore throat, cool inflamed hemorrhoids, and used in herbal preparations for psoriasis and seborrheic eczema.
Administration of Arnica:
Administration Guide of Arnica
Herbal classic books:
Common recommended dosage of Arnica: 1 tablespoon tincture per half liter water, an infusion is prepared using 2 grams arnica per 100 milliliters of water, dilute the tincture 3 to 10 times with water for use in poultice, ointment is used in a concentration of 15% arnica oil or 20~25% percent tincture. Do not use arnica internally or on broken skin.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: The FDA classified arnica as an unsafe herb. Experts around the world strongly discourage taking internal forms of arnica, it can irritate mucous membranes and cause burning pains in the stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and drowsiness. 1 ounce of the tincture may generate shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, and heart damage, an overdose can be fatal. In contrast, most people tolerate external formulations well, but allergic reactions with contact dermatitis are relatively common, avoid the plant if you have an allergic reaction to arnica or other members of the daisy family.
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1.Introduction of Arnica:mountain arnica or wolfsbane.