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Arnica montana

Arnica montana

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Genus: Arnica
Species: A. montana
Binomial name
Arnica montana

Arnica montana (also known as leopard's bane, wolf's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica), is a European flowering plant with large yellow capitula.


Distribution and habitat

A. montana is endemic to Europe, from southern Iberia to southern Scandinavia and the Carpathians. It is absent from the British Isles and the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas. A. montana grows in nutrient-poor silcaceous meadows up to nearly 3000 m. It is rare overall, but may be locally abundant. It is becoming rarer, particularly in the north of its distribution, largely due to increasingly intensive agriculture. In more upland regions, it may also be found on nutrient-poor moors and heaths.


A. montana has tall stems (20–60 cm), supporting usually a single flower head. Most of the leaves are in a basal rosette, but one or two pairs may be found on the stem and are, unusually for composites, opposite. The flower heads are yellow, approximately 5 cm in diameter, and appear from May to August.  

Medicinal uses

This plant is often used as remedy in herbal medicine. When the plant is in flower, the entire plant is used. An infusion of the leaves, used externally, is used as a treatment for bruising and sprains, but should not be used on broken skin, as it may lead to irritation. A cream or diluted tincture may be applied to treat alopecia.

In homeopathic medicine, A. montana is used for sprains, bruises, muscle aches, physical and emotional shock and for long term consequences of trauma [1]. A topical preparation of A. montana has been shown to be as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands.[2]

In the United Kingdom, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has granted the first UK product registration under the European Directive on traditional herbal medicinal products to the A Vogel/Bioforce product Atrogel Arnica Gel [3].


Arnica montana, like many compounds used in homeopathy, is toxic in its pure form. As a homeopathic treatment it is usually given as a highly diluted tincture or tablet. An undiluted tincture can cause tachycardia, enteritis and even collapses. As long as it is prepared properly, and taken in the prescribed manner, A. montana, can be taken internally to reduce swelling and bruising associated with plastic surgery. The plant must be prepared properly because the plant in its pure form contains compounds that, if ingested, inhibit liver function in the human body which, in turn, causes death in most cases. Because of these internal effects, Arnica was once used as a means of assassination. Countermeasures after accidental ingestion include carbon or charcoal ingestion to absorb traces of the toxins in the digestive tract and the ingestion of liquids to dilute the concentration of toxins. There are, however, no known antidotes for these compounds.


  1. ^ Morrison, MD, Roger (1993). Desktop guide to keynotes and comfirmatory symptoms. Grass Valley, CA: Hahnemann Clinic Publishing. 
  2. ^ Widrig R, Suter A, Saller R, Melzer J. (2007). "Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study". Rheumatol Int 27 (6): 585-91. PMID 17318618.
  3. ^ Press release: MHRA grants landmark registration for Traditional Herbal Medicine. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (2006-11-08).
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Arnica_montana". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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