Recently I was chatting to a lovely Mammy of three who told me she only just heard of Arnica and she couldn't believe she had never come across it before. So I thought I would repost this bit of info on this wonderful healing plant.. a must have for any parents first aid kit!
Most people would have heard of Arnica from the homeopathic cream available in chemists. We do not use Arnica internally in herbal medicine as it is considered toxic. We do however us it a lot externally with fantastic results. We make an oil from our Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis over the summer months.
As an oil for external use it is an excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic. We use it for painful aching muscles, sprains, bursitis, nerve pain, any type of bruising including post surgery, swollen joints and pain with torn cartilage. We usually mix it with other oils we make like Hypericum oil (St.John's wort) or Comfrey oil.
In our home and on the farm it has become an essential part of our first aid kit. We always have it on hand for bruises. If applied as soon as possible bruising from accidents is often completely avoided with a reduction in pain. Very useful when you have an adventurous Little Ones like ours. I mostly give it to patients post surgery, for example post knee or hip replacement to speed up recovery and to alleviate the severe bruising and pain. It is also a valuable ingredient in some of the acne creams I make up specifically for people. Arnica oil is not to be used on broken skin as it could be absorbed into the blood stream and is therefore not an oil we sell to the public. We do however sell Arnica plants through our nursery to support and encourage traditional herbal remedy making in Ireland. It's grows very well here but does need a little specific care to get a good bed of it going to have enough for making your own oil. We harvest and processing our Arnica flowers when they are in full flower - from June to October. This is one of the many useful plants for children I'll be talking about on our Herbal Care for Children workshop.