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Arnica montana Ill.Koehler
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Subtribe: Madiinae
Genus: Arnica

See text.

Arnica (Ár-ni-ca) is a genus with about 30 perennial, herbaceous species, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The genus name Arnica may be derived from the Greek arna, "lamb", in reference to the soft, hairy leaves.

This circumboreal and montane genus occurs mostly in the temperate regions of western North America, while two are native to Eurasia (A. angustifolia and A. montana).

Arnica used to be included in the tribe Senecioneae, because it has a pappus of fine bristles. This was soon questioned and Nordenstam (1977) placed it tentatively in tribe Heliantheae s.l. This arrangement also became uncertain because of the sesquiterpene lactone chemistry in certain species. Lately Arnica was placed in an unresolved clade together with Madiinae, Eupatorieae, Heliantheae s.s. and Pectidinae.

Several species, such as Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis, contain helenalin, which is a sesquiterpene lactone that is a major ingredient in anti-inflammatory preparations (mostly against bruises).

Arnica species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix arnicella.



Frigid Arnica near a training radar site in the Alaskan Interior.

They have a deep-rooted, erect stem, that is usually unbranched. Their downy, opposite leaves are borne towards the apex of the stem. The ovoid, leathery, basal leaves are arranged in a rosette.

They show large yellow or orange flowers, 6-8 cm wide with 10-15 long ray florets and numerous disc florets. The phyllaries (a bract under the flowerhead) has long spreading hairs Each phyllary is associated with a ray floret. Species of Arnica, with an involucre (a circle of bracts arranged surrounding the flower head) arranged in two rows, have only their outer phyllaries associated with ray florets. The flowers have a slight aromatic smell.

The seed-like fruit has a pappus of plumose, white or pale tan bristles. The entire plant has a strong and distinct pine-sage odor when the leaves of mature plants are rubbed or bruised.

Arnica montana

The species Arnica montana, native to Europe, has long been used medicinally, but this use has not been substantiated.[1][2]


Medicinal uses

Arnica montana has been used medicinally for centuries.[1] The roots contain derivatives of thymol,[3] which are used as fungicides and preservatives and may have some anti-inflammatory effect.[4] Arnica is currently used in liniment and ointment preparations used for strains, sprains, and bruises. Commercial arnica preparations are frequently used by professional athletes.[5] Arnica should not be taken internally due to its toxicity, with the spurious exception of homeopathic preparations that are diluted at 24X or more, since only water remains.[6][7]

The thymol derivatives concentrated in the plants roots have been clinically shown to be effective vasodilators of subcutaneous blood capillaries. Arnica preparations used topically have been demonstrated to act as an anti-inflammatory and assist normal healing processes by facilitating transport of blood and fluid accumulations through a dilating action of subcutaneous blood capillaries (Holist Nurse Pract, 2008, 22(4):237-239). In one double-blind trial, Arnica montana was found to be equally effective as the more expensive diclofenac for accelerating wound healing after foot surgery, but was less effective than the same drug for pain relief.[8] However, Diclofenac does not promote wound healing as it is an anti-inflammatory drug and hence this comparison is not useful. A study of wound-healing after surgery to treat varicose veins found a trend towards a beneficial effect of reduction of pain and hematoma following surgery.[9]


Homeopathic preparations of Arnica are widely marketed and used, and enjoy popularity. In the UK the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has registered the product for sprains and bruising under the 'National Rules for Homoeopathic Products' (2006). These rules allow claims of efficacy for these conditions to be made on the packaging in the absence of similar evidence to that required for conventional medicines under the Medicines Act 1968 and 1971.[10] One small trial was claimed to suggest that the homeopathic use of Arnica to be no more effective than a placebo.[11] In some quarters, the fact that homeopathic Arnica has been the subject of published clinical trials at all has drawn criticism grounded on the allegation that the basic premise of the high dilutions used in homeopathy would be inherently flawed.[12] With respect to the range of homeopathic Arnica creams available on the market, these are generally formulated using the mother tincture rather than a dilution, and they therefore do in fact contain measurable quantities of the medicinally active substance.[citation needed]


Arnica contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten, and contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation.[13][14] If enough of the material is ingested, the toxin helenalin produces severe gastroenteritis, and internal bleeding of the digestive tract. [15]


  • Arnica acaulis (Walt.) B.S.P. -- Common Leopardbane
  • Arnica alpina (L.) Olin -- Alpine Arnica (synonym of Arnica angustifolia subsp. alpina)
  • Arnica amplexicaulis Nutt. -- Clasping Arnica, Streambank Arnica (synonym of Arnica lanceolata subsp. amplexicaulis)
  • Arnica angustifolia Vahl -- Narrowleaf Arnica
    • Arnica angustifolia subsp. alpina (L.) I. K. Ferguson
    • Arnica angustifolia subsp. tomentosa Downie & Denford
  • Arnica cernua T.J. Howell -- Serpentine Arnica
  • Arnica chamissonis Less. -- Chamisso Arnica
    • Arnica chamissonis subsp. foliosa (Nutt.) Maguire
  • Arnica cordifolia Hook. -- Heart-leaf Leopardbane, Heartleaf Arnica
  • Arnica dealbata Baldwin (formerly Whitneya dealbata)
  • Arnica discoidea Benth. -- Rayless Arnica
  • Arnica X diversifolia Greene (pro sp.) -- Curtis Churchmouse Threeawn, Rayless Arnica, Sticky Arnica
  • Arnica frigida C.A. Mey. ex Iljin -- Snow Arnica (synonym of Arnica griscomii subsp. frigida)
  • Arnica fulgens Pursh -- Foothill Arnica, Orange Arnica, Shining Leopardbane
  • Arnica x gracilis Rydb. -- Smallhead Arnica (a natural hybrid between A. latifolia and A. cordifolia)
  • Arnica griscomii Fernald
    • Arnica griscomii subsp. frigida (C. A. Mey. ex Iljin) S. J. Wolf
    • Arnica griscomii subsp. griscomii
  • Arnica lanceolata Nutt. -- Arnica, Lanceleaf Arnica
    • Arnica lanceolata subsp. amplexicaulis (Nutt.) Gruezo & Denford
    • Arnica lanceolata subsp. lanceolata Gruezo & Denford
  • Arnica latifolia Bong. -- Broadleaf Arnica
  • Arnica lessingii (Torr. & Gray) Greene -- Nodding Arnica
    • Arnica lessingii subsp. lessengii
    • Arnica lessingii subsp. norbergii Hult. & Maguire
  • Arnica lonchophylla Greene -- Longleaf Arnica
    • Arnica lonchophylla subsp. arnoglossa (Greene) Maguire
    • Arnica lonchophylla subsp. lonchophylla
  • Arnica longifolia D.C. Eat. -- Longleaf Arnica, Spearleaf Arnica
  • Arnica louiseana Farr -- Lake Louise Arnica
  • Arnica mallotopus (formerly Mallotopus japonicus)
  • Arnica mollis Hook. -- hairy arnica, wooly arnica
  • Arnica montana L. -- Mountain Arnica
  • Arnica nevadensis Gray -- Nevada Arnica
  • Arnica ovata Greene
  • Arnica parryi Gray -- Nodding Arnica, Parry's Arnica
  • Arnica rydbergii Greene -- Rydberg Arnica, Rydberg's Arnica, Subalpine Arnica
  • Arnica sachalinensis (Regel) A. Gray
  • Arnica sororia Greene -- Twin Arnica
  • Arnica spathulata Greene -- Klamath Arnica
  • Arnica unalaschcensis Less. -- Alaska Arnica
  • Arnica venosa Hall -- Shasta County Arnica
  • Arnica viscosa Gray -- Mt. Shasta Arnica


  1. ^ a b "Arnica in Flora of North America". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  2. ^ Clonal propagation of Arnica montana L., a medicinal plant Authors: Buthuc-Keul, A.; Deliu, C. Source: In Vitro Cellular and Development Biology - Plant, Volume 37, Number 5, September 2001 , pp. 581-585(5) Publisher: Springer
  3. ^ Weremczuk-Jezyna I, Kisiel W, Wysokińska H (2006). "Thymol derivatives from hairy roots of Arnica montana". Plant Cell Rep. 25 (9): 993–6. doi:10.1007/s00299-006-0157-y. PMID 16586074. 
  4. ^ Braga PC, Dal Sasso M, Culici M, Bianchi T, Bordoni L, Marabini L (2006). "Anti-inflammatory activity of thymol: inhibitory effect on the release of human neutrophil elastase". Pharmacology 77 (3): 130–6. doi:10.1159/000093790. PMID 16763380. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  5. ^ Jenna Sumara (2006). "Arnica: the natural alternative for treating sore muscles". The Final Sprint. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  6. ^ "Dynamization and Dilution". Creighton University Department of Pharmacology. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  7. ^ Vaughan, John Griffith; Patricia Ann Judd, David Bellamy (2003). The Oxford Book of Health Foods. Oxford University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0198504594.,M1. 
  8. ^ Jens-Hagen Karow, Hans-Peter Abt, Markus Fröhling, Hanns Ackermann, "The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine", Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 17-25, Jan. 1, 2008.
  9. ^ M. Wolfa, C. Tamaschkeb, W. Mayerc, M. Heger, "Wirksamkeit von Arnica bei Varizenoperation: Ergebnisse einer randomisierten, doppelblinden, Placebo-kontrollierten Pilot-Studie", Forschende Komplementärmedizin und Klassische Naturheilkunde, Vol. 10, pp. 242-247, 2003.
  10. ^ "Arnica registered by medicines regulator ", Telegraph, 16 May 2009
  11. ^ Susan Mayor, "Trial shows that homoeopathic arnica is no better than placebo", BMJ, pp. 326-303, 2003.
  12. ^ R.M. Youngson, "Randomized trial of homeopathic arnica", J R Soc Med, Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 239–240, Apr. 1997.
  13. ^ "Poisonous Plants: Arnica montana". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  14. ^ Edward Rudzki, Zdzisława Grzywa (1977) Dermatitis from Arnica montana Contact Dermatitis 3 (5), 281–281. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.1977.tb03682.x
  15. ^ Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1

Further sources

  • Maguire, B. (1943). "A monograph of the genus Arnica (Senecioneae, Compositae)". Brittonia 4: 386–510. doi:10.2307/2804900. 
  • Wolf, S.J. & K.E. Denford (1984). "Taxonomy of Arnica (Compositae) subgenus Austromontana". Rhodora Journal of the New England Botanical Club 86 (847): 239–309. 
  • Nordenstam, B. 1977 Senecioneae and Liabeae—systematic review. In V. H. Heywood, J. B. Harborne, and B. L. Turner [eds.], The biology and chemistry of the Compositae, vol. II, 799–830. Academic Press, London, UK
  • Baldwin, B. G. (1999). "New combinations in Californian Arnica and Monolopia". Novon 9: 460–461. doi:10.2307/3392142. 
  • Lyss, G., T. J. Schmidt, H. L. Pahl, and I. Merfort (1999). "Anti-inflammatory activity of Arnica tincture (DAB 1998) using the transcription factor NF-kappaB as molecular target". Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Letters 9: 5–8. 
  • Wolf, S. J., and K. E. Denford (1984). "Taxonomy of Arnica (Compositae) subgenus Austromontana". Rhodora 86: 239–309. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARNICA, a genus of plants belonging to the natural order Compositae, and containing 18 species, mostly north-west American. The most important species is Arnica montana (mountain tobacco), a perennial herb found in upland meadows in northern and central Europe (but not extending to Britain), and on the mountains of western and central Europe. A closely allied species (A. angustifolia), with very narrow leaves, is met with in Arctic Asia and America. The heads of flowers are large, 2 to 21 in. across, orange-yellow in colour, and borne on the summit of the stem or branches; the outer ray-flowers are an inch in length. The achenes (fruits) are brown and hairy, and are crowned by a tuft of stiffish hairs (pappus). The rootstock of A. montana is tough, slender, of a dark brown colour and an inch or two in length. It gives off numerous simple roots from its under side, and shows on its upper side the remains of rosettes of leaves. It yields an essential oil in small quantity, and a resinous matter called arnicin, C,2H2202, a yellow crystalline substance with an acrid taste. The tincture prepared from it is an old remedy which has a popular reputation in the treatment of bruises and sprains. The plant was introduced into English gardens about the middle of the 18th century, but is not often grown; it is a handsome plant for a rockery.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also arnica, and arnică




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic genus, within tribe Heliantheae - the arnica plants
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • See Wikipedia for species


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids II
Ordo: Asterales
Familia: Asteraceae
Subfamilia: Asteroideae
Tribus: Madieae
Genus: Arnica
Species: A. acaulis - A. amplexicaulis - A. angustifolia - A. cernua - A. chamissonis - A. cordifolia - A. discoidea - A. x diversifolia - A. frigida - A. fulgens - A. gracilis - A. griscomii - A. lanceolata - A. latifolia - A. lessingii - A. lonchophylla - A. longifolia - A. mollis - A. montana - A. nevadensis - A. parryi - A. rydbergii - A. sachalinensis - A. sororia - A. spathulata - A. unalaschcensis - A. venosa - A. viscosa


Arnica L.

Vernacular names

Русский: Баранец, Арника


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