Arnica: Homeopathy’s Most Revered Remedy

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Picture a monastery in a remote region of Europe and an elderly monk crushing the delicate petals of the arnica flower in his mortar and pestle to tend to someone’s bruises. Or a weary climber in the Dolomites whose spirits are instantly lifted when he chews on leaves from the arnica plant. Who would have imagined that the diminutive vial of arnica medicine held such exciting possibilities?

One of homeopathy’s most revered remedies, arnica can be quite the super healer. It’s been used to ease pain and heal the body from both the outside and within. But arnica isn’t part of any new medical breakthrough – it actually has a long and intriguing history. The use of arnica spans both countries and centuries, from monasteries tucked away in the most remote parts of Europe to the steep, rocky ledges of the Dolomites in Italy. It is now a popular painkiller and anti-inflammatory used worldwide.

Monastic Medicine For The Ages


Records reaching all the way back to the Middle Ages show that arnica was used as a remedy by European monks to heal bruises and injuries. And they’re still using it: Just take a gander inside the shop of one of the major monasteries in Europe and Russia and you’ll probably find bottles of arnica massage oil or arnica cream. The Monastery of St. Gregory Palamas, for example, claims their arnica cream helps absorb hematomas linked to bruises and sprains. Just like their ancestors, the monks believe the cream has anti-inflammatory benefits that can quickly repair the body.

Arnica: The Many Roles Of A Natural Remedy


In Switzerland, hardy mountain climbers and guides would chew on the leaves of the arnica plant to overcome fatigue during arduous climbs. Elsewhere, the yellow-hued arnica flower has been used as a popular compress for bruises or sprains. In fact, every part of the arnica montana plant has some sort of health-promoting quality. Even its roots are rich in essential oils that boast anti-inflammatory properties. And, when dried, its leaves have even been used in lieu of tobacco by Italian and Swiss mountaineers, earning it the nickname “mountain tobacco.”

Today, it’s still used throughout much of Europe, particularly at ski resorts, where you can bask in a relaxing, après-ski arnica massage. It’s the perfect way to help melt away any aches, pains, or strains from a day on the slopes. No wonder odes to the wonderfully relaxing arnica massages have taken online message boards by storm!


Arnica isn’t just a simple cure for bumps and bruises. Its anti-inflammatory powers actually help the body heal quicker and more efficiently. It also acts as a painkiller and can help the body cope with trauma. If you’ve been through surgery, arnica can even lower the swelling that occurs after any type of surgical procedure.

For most of its history, arnica was harvested from plants that grew in the wild. But as the herbal remedy’s popularity continues to rise, so has its demand. The plant, which thrives in extreme conditions – places like the Pyrenees, Europe, Russia, and Canada – has been traditionally hard to cultivate on a large scale. But today, it’s starting to pop up everywhere from Asia to South America and is favored by homeopaths and even those who normally only swear by mainstream modern medicine. Such is the power of this miracle worker!