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Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Arnica montana

Other Common Name:

European arnica, Leopard’s bane, Árnica europea.

Parts of the plant used:

Principally the flowers, although the leaves and root are sometimes employed in traditional medicine.

How is it used?

The most common form of usage is as an ointment for external application, although teas, capsules, tablets, and homeopathic preparations are also available in commerce.

What is it used for?

Various products (usually ointments) made from this plant are used to treat bruises, sprains, rheumatism, varicose veins and diverse skin infections due to bacteria and fungi (molds). The compounds contained in this plant have mild anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic actions. In traditional medicine, arnica teas have been taken internally for the treatment of various disorders including stomach ailments and fever. Internal use of this plant is no longer recommended in modern phytotherapy (science-based herbalism). Arnica preparations are also used as mouthwashes and gargles for gum and throat infections. These preparations should not be swallowed.


Safety / Precautions


  • Arnica teas, tablets and other products containing this plant or similar species, such as False or Mexican arnica (Heterotheca inuloides), for example, should not be taken internally, due to their potential toxicity, especially by small children, and patients suffering from heart disease.
  • Homeopathic drops or pills containing arnica are usually very diluted medications and are commonly regarded as safe, but should not be taken internally without the prior consent of a health professional. •Avoid ingesting any herbal product or supplement that contains arnica during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Do not apply arnica ointments, lotions, or pastes on broken skin, as this may cause irritation.
  • Discontinue any external application of arnica products at the first sign of inflammation or skin irritation.
  • Arnica preparations may cause allergic reactions, especially in people sensitive to other plants belonging to the daisy family, such as ragweed and feverfew, for example.
  • Do not use arnica products for prolonged periods.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!