Arnica Essential Oil
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: A. fulgens, A. sororia, leopard's bane, wolf's bane.
General Description: A perennial alpine herb with a creeping underground stem, giving rise to a rosette of pale oval leaves. The flowering erect stem is up to 60cms high, bearing a single, bright yellow, daisy-like flower. The whole plant is very difficult to cultivate.
Distribution: Native to Northern and Centtral Europe; also found growing wild in the USSR, Scandinavia and northern India. The oil is produced mainly in France, Belgium and Germany.
Other Species: A related plant, A. cordifolia, and other species of Arnica are used in America, where it is known as 'mountain tobacco'.
This herb stimulates the peripheral blood sypply when applied externally, and is considered one of the best remedies for bruises and sprains. It helps relieve rheumatic pain and other painful or inflammatory skin conditions, so long as the skin is not broken! It is never used internally due to toxicity levels.
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, stimulant, vulnerary.
Thymohhydroquinone dimethyl ether (80 per cent approx.), isobutyric ester or phlorol (20 per cent approx.) and other minor traces.
The tincture is mainly employed in pharmaceutical skin products. The oil from the flowers finds occasional use in herbaceous type perfumes. It is also used to flavpour certain liquers.