Every year we use the winter months to do research on natural remedies. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the need for pharmaceutical products, including over-the-counter products. Many of the remedies we research have been around for hundreds of years but are new to us. Arnica is one of them!
What is Arnica Montana?
Arnica Montana is just one variety of this flower. It looks like a common daisy. It is yellow flower with common names like mountain arnica or wolf’s bane There are many varieties of Arnica, but this particular version has been used for a variety of ornamental and medicinal functions for hundreds of years.
It has grown in popularity, but is hard to source in many areas, and expensive to purchase. Also, it is hard to know if you are getting a good source that still contains the healthy anti-inflammatory properties that are naturally contained in this flower.
Given this, we have decided to grow our own arnica flowers and are looking forward to a harvest that can be turned into healthy products for our family and yours. Arnica is relatively easy to grow here in Missouri and doesn’t have high soil demands.
While we wait for our arnica seeds to sprout and the summer weather to allow us to plant, we purchased some high quality Arnica flowers dried. From these we are making our first batch of Arnica oil which should be ready in 6 weeks.
Why grow Arnica?
The herbal form of Arnica is very potent and is easy to make.
There are a number of beneficial compounds found in Arnica montana such as: helenalin, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, thymol, and various other ethers.
This unique mixture gives the plant its powerful and well-known effects. It is important to note, however, that this plant should never be consumed orally, nor placed directly on open wounds. But it has a wide range of topical uses that make it a must have for any herbal medicine cabinet.
The arnica flower (part of the sunflower family), when steeped in oil, releases its anti-inflammatory properties. This oil can then be used in ointments, salves, and creams to help reduce pain and swelling that can come from muscle aches/tension, bruises, bumps, headaches, and even arthritis.
Arnica oil helps increase blood circulation to the application area which can both reduce pain and speed up healing time.
Heath Benefits of Arnica Oil
Heals bruises. Because arnica oil increases circulation, it can heal bruises faster than a bruise left untreated.
Relieves muscle pains, soreness and other types of inflammation. Arnica increases circulation so when it is applied topically, the heat is brought to the area relieving muscle aches, sprains and inflammation. So much better than taking an OTC medicine!
Helps with arthritis-related pain, which is largely caused by inflammation. Reducing the inflammation will reduce the pain.
Relieves tension headaches. Because arnica is a great remedy for sore muscles, it often can relieve tension headaches because of stressed or strained neck muscles. Using the oil or a salve with arnica can bring lasting relief as it relaxes these muscles.
Arnica can also improve dandruff and encourage hair growth. Using the oil topically on the scalp can help stimulate hair follicles and in some cases promote new hair growth. Arnica oil can also help remove other built-up oils and dead skin cells which improves dandruff problems.
Like any herbal remedy, it is important to check with an herbal specialist and do not overuse any remedy, just as you would not over use an OTC product.
By the summertime, we should have a wonderful salve made that you can try out which will also include St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort will also be growing on our farm and will be used to make herbal remedies for us and for you!
Anytime we can remove or lesson our need for over-the-counter products, we reduce the side effects and damages of those products. So having this in your medicine cabinet is a win!
Look for our herbal salve available this coming summer!