Arnica - Arnica spp. (in the Asteraceae or Aster family)
Parts used: Fresh whole plant or flower heads.
Taste/smell: Light and flowery.
Dosage: 1:1 fresh plant liquid extract: 1 - 10 drops 1 - 4 times per day in a little water; or externally as an oil.
Mental picture and specific indications: Arnica is specific for traumatic injury symptoms or similar conditions where there is bruising of tissues with blue and red coloration as seen in a new bruise. It is also specific for symptoms due to severe mental trauma.
Use: (a) Stimulates circulation, (b) Antiphlogistic, (c) Anti-inflammatory, (d) Bactericidal, (e) Mild analgesic activity, (f) Immune enhancing, (g) Anticoagulant, (h) Topical counter-irritant.
Arnica is used internally or externally for musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains, strains, bruises, rheumatism, varicose veins and sore muscles. Internally, it is used for angina and trauma to tissues as well as mental trauma. Some of the chemical constituents are essential oils and flavonoids.
Contraindications: Arnica may be toxic when used externally on open wounds or for long periods of time. The side effects include edematous dermatitis with pustules, eczema and even necrosis with long term use in high concentrations. It is to be discontinued with the first sign of redness. Only trained professionals should use this herb internally. The side effects seen with internal use are gastroenteritis, dyspnea or cardiac arrest. Toxicity from internal use can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and heart. It is also contraindicated in pregnancy.