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The yellow, daisy like flowers of the Arnica plant make a cheerful addition to the herb or perennial garden. A member of the sunflower family, Arnica is easy to grow and quite adaptable, preferring moist but well drained soil, but tolerant of both clay and sandy soils, partial or full sun. It is hardy to all temperate zones.
While the European species, Arnica montana, is considered the official species and most often used in commercial products, there are 28 North American native species of arnica. In my Northern New Jersey herb garden, I grow Arnica chammisonis, a native variety known as Meadow Arnica, which I started easily from seed. If you live at a higher altitude, you may have luck growing Arnica montana (Mountain Arnica).
For more information about growing arnica, visit: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arnica+montana
Regarded by herbalists as one of the best remedies for external healing, Arnica has been used since the 15th century to treat bruises, sprains, strains and torn ligaments, as well as inflammation and pain due to arthritis, rheumatism and similar conditions.
Today Arnica is used topically in over-the-counter creams, salves and ointments that are formulated to treat muscle pain and spasms from sports injuries, arthritis, bruises and muscle and joint inflammation. It can also be taken internally, but only in very small homeopathic doses.
Arnica is an active ingredient in Womanswork Arnica and Peppermint Muscle Rub. I infuse freshly dried Arnica montana flowers in pure sunflower oil for six weeks. Oil infusions have traditionally been used as a way of adhering beneficial ingredients onto the skin. Because the oil softens the keratin (outer) layer of the skin, it allows for easy absorption of the soothing herb.
Click here to read about Dingle Hill Flowers & Herbs, the farm where some of the herbs we use for Womanswork after gardening skin care products are sourced.