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Arnica montana - L.

Common Name Arnica, Mountain arnica
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Deadly in large quantities. The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications to unbroken skin[9, 14, 65, 172]. Alcoholic extracts of arnica can cause toxic effects on the heart and raise blood pressure [301].
Habitats Calcareous soils in mountain pastures[7]. Found especially on granite or siliceous soils in the Alps, up to 2500 metres. Pasture and open woodland, usually on poorer acid soils[200].
Range C. Europe.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Arnica montana Arnica, Mountain arnica

Arnica montana Arnica, Mountain arnica


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Arnica montana is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Arnica montana var. alpina L. Arnica montana var. angustifolia

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiecchymotic  Antiphlogistic  Antirheumatic  Epilepsy  Nervine  Sternutatory  Vulnerary

Arnica has a long history of herbal use, especially as an external treatment for bruises and sprains[232, 238] - it is an ingredient of a number of proprietary preparations[238]. Internally, it has been used in the treatment of heart complaints and as a booster for the immune system[238]. Arnica increases local blood supply and accelerates healing, it is anti-inflammatory and increases the rate of absorption of internal bleeding[254]. Generally the plant is nowadays only recommended for internal use as a homeopathic medicine, principally for treating shock, injury and pain[254]. If used as a decoction or tincture it stimulates the circulation and is valuable in the treatment of angina and a weak or failing heart, but it can be toxic even at quite low doses and so is rarely used this way[254]. The flowers are the part most commonly used[4, 232], they are harvested when fully open and dried - the receptacles are sometimes removed since these are liable to be attacked by insects[4]. The root is also used, it is harvested after the leaves have died down in the autumn and dried for later use[4]. The whole plant is antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine, sternutatory, vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 46, 165]. Although a very valuable remedy, it should be used with caution. It has been known to cause contact dermatitis when used externally and collapse when taken internally[238]. Only take it internally under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The freshly crushed flowers cause sneezing if inhaled[232]. The leaves have also been smoked as a tobacco[232], though it is unclear whether this was for medicinal reasons The whole plant, harvested when in flower, is used in homeopathic remedies[232]. It is especially useful in the treatment of traumatic injuries, sores and bruises[232]. The homeopathic dose has also been used effectively in the treatment of epilepsy and seasickness, and it might be of use as a hair growth stimulant[268]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Arnica montana for fever and colds, inflammation of the skin, cough/bronchitis, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, rheumatism, common cold, blunt injuries, tendency to infection (see [302] for critics of commission E). The essential oil has to be diluted before being used externally [301].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist, well-drained humus rich soil, preferably lime-free[200]. One report says that it is often found in calcareous soils in the wild[7]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.8 to 7.6. Prefers a mixture of sand, loam and peat[1]. Prefers a position in full sun[1, 134]. Succeeds in light woodland[14] and in a rock garden or border[1, 14]. Plants are hardy to about -25°c[187]. This species is declining in the wild, probably because of over-collection as a medicinal herb. It may become extinct in part of its range[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in pots outdoors. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame[4]. A period of cold stratification is helpful[238]. The fresh seed can germinate in 3 - 4 weeks at 13°c according to one report[134], though it can be slow, difficult and erratic and take 2 years to germinate[268]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the following spring. Division in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

EUROPE: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary (extinct?), Netherlands, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania (extinct?), Ukraine, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, France, Portugal

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Arnica angustifolia alpinaMountain TobaccoPerennial0.5 3-7  LMHSNM031
Arnica cordifoliaHeartleaf ArnicaPerennial0.5 0-0  LMHSNM021
Arnica diversifoliaRayless arnicaPerennial0.3 0-0  LMHSNM011
Arnica fulgensHillside Arnica, Foothill arnicaPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHSNM02 
Senecio pseudoarnicaSeaside RagwortPerennial0.5 -  LMNM11 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

tzentiotl   Sun Mar 12 2006

me gustaria saber que tipo de sutancias son las que la hacen venenosa y que la diferncias de la arnica mexicana(la heteroteca inuloides cass)

Pauline   Thu Sep 28 2006

I want to know the comparison between arnica montana and heteroteca inuloides. Do they have the same applications? the same effectivity? the same toxicity? Thanks in advance, [email protected]

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Arnica+montana The flowers of the future

wordsync   Sat Nov 7 2009

i want to grow moustache as i dont have them with me so according to the suggestion from your website it has mention as it can be grown by applying arnica montana. is it really true? if so could you please suggest me how to use it. thank's, with regard's, wordsync.

   Oct 2 2014 12:00AM

My Arnica montana seedlings germinated in September and are growing well in a cold frame. Can I transplant them now and leave them in the cold frame or is it best to wait till the Spring to transplant. Many Thanks Great site, very interesting glad I joined. Horticus.

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