Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica (Arnica montana)

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Low-growing, daisy-like perennial with vibrant yellow petalled flower, used in salves and tinctures for relief of bruises, stiffness and muscle soreness. Also a famous homeopathic medicine. (50 seeds approx.)

Many Salt Spring Seeds customers have been surprised to learn that they can easily grow Arnica in their gardens. Arnica is usually thought of as an alpine plant but we have been growing it successfully near sea level for many years. Arnica is a low-growing, daisy-like perennial with vibrant yellow flowers on long stems. It makes cheery summer displays. It is sometimes called Leopard’s Bane, Wolf’s Bane or Mountain Arnica. Plants do best in full sun, with good drainage and acidic soil.

Arnica has been known for centuries as a very effective topical anti-inflammatory medicine and today can be found in all manner of salves, oils, ointments, gels and tinctures. People also use the freshly bruised plant or cloths soaked in arnica tea. Arnica preparations can be applied as soon as possible to reduce swelling, bruises, stiffness and muscle aches from trauma or injury. Herbalists recommend it as well for hyperextensions, arthritis, bursitis and myalgia. It is also commonly found in homeopathic remedies. It shouldn’t be used on rashes or broken skin and shouldn’t be taken internally.

It’s very easy to gather arnica seeds after the flowers are spent but you have to be sure to get them before the wind blows them away. To facilitate separating the fluff from the seed, let them dry thoroughly for at least a few days on the bottom of a bucket in a warm place with a screen over the top.

Arnica seeds can be direct sown in early spring or late fall but are best started in flats of potting soil in early spring. Seeds should be barely covered and will germinate in one to three weeks. The seedlings are quite small and slow growing at first. After 6-8 weeks they can be put in their own pots to be later transplanted out to about a foot apart.

Once plants are established, it is quite easy to divide the underground creepers to multiply your plants or to help someone quickly establish their own arnica patch.