Lovely Arnica


Our recent field studies with our Ethnobotany and Skills Apprenticeship programs brought us to find these sunny gems at the height of their bloom.  Students soon filled a basket with Arnica cordifolia flowers and leaves from the abundance in the mountain meadows of Eastern Washington.  We were able to make fresh leaf tincture as well as leaf and flower oil infusions from the newly harvested plants.

Arnica-infused olive oil and tincture

The tinctures will be bottled into spray diffusers while the oil will become one facet of our Bruise-B-Gone salve.  Arnica flower and leaf is often used in herbal salves and oils to help our bodies recover from all kinds of bumps and bruises.  It is used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for hyperextensions, arthritis, sprains, strains and bursitis.  When tinctured, arnica is used externally for bruises, sprains, and swellings.  The tinctures are also reported to demonstrate antibiotic activity.

Arnica contains helenalin which exhibits anti-inflammatory activity. Arnica works by stimulating and dilating blood vessels, particularly the capillaries, increasing blood transport and circulation into injured, bruised, or inflamed tissues. This helps to speed up the healing process significantly.  Additionally, Arnica stimulates macrophage activity, helping with dead cell removal from the damaged tissues.

BruiseBGone salve

Caution:  Arnica should only be used on external, unbroken skin.

We have seen amazing results after using Arnica salve on string lashing from practicing long bow shooting.  We have been grateful to it many times for its healing gifts.  Arnica was just one of the many blessings the earth offered on our latest foraging travels.

Lovely Arnica

2 thoughts on “Lovely Arnica

  1. I haven’t seen anything on arnica stimulating and dilating blood vessels before. I would love it if you could offer some more information on where you found this out if you could. I have seen a lot more on it actually reducing blood platelet aggregation rather than increasing circulation. Do you have any thoughts on this?


    1. Thanks for the question! That information is from Michael Moore’s “Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West.” It is one of the core books that we use in our Ethnobotany Apprenticeship program at Earthwalk Northwest. If you haven’t come across his writings yet, we highly recommend them!


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