Arnica Montana flowers contain sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, volatile oil, phenol carbonic acid, and coumarins. The flowers are about five centimeters in diameter and supported by a tall stem of about twenty to sixty centimeters. Arnica Montana flowers are in bloom during the months of May until late August.
Arnica Montana is a plant used since the 16th century as medication for muscular aches and pains, bruises, and rheumatism. These plants used to cover the entire regions of America and Europe, particularly from Iberia to Scandinavia and Carpathians. However, Arnica Montana flowers are now becoming rare since it has become increasingly difficult to grow them successfully. It takes a lot of patience and watchful cultivation in a particular type of soil to make them grow properly.
Arnica Montana flowers were used both externally and internally in the past. However, it is presently used more externally than internally. The remaining use of Arnica Montana flowers internally is for homoeopathic remedies.
For several centuries, extracts from Arnica Montana flowers were used for external treatment of black eyes, wounds, contusions, and sprains because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
The dark brown and clear liquid extracts from the Arnica Montana flowers are used in the production of numerous types of products such as skin care products, shampoos, skin fresheners, hair products, and hair conditioners. Extracts from Arnica Montana flowers have also been listed by the Food and Drug Administration as natural flavoring essence for food production. The techniques used in preparing the extracts from Arnica Montana flowers are gentle disintegration and hydroalcoholic maceration.
Arnica Montana flowers are also used externally for edema due to fracture, joint problems, dislocations, rheumatic muscle pains, and hematoma. It is also used as a remedy for furunculosis and superficial phlebitis. The different preparations from Arnica Montana flowers have antiphlogistic activity when applied as topical medicine and analgesic and antiseptic activity when used for inflammations. Recent clinical tests have showed that a gel made from fresh flowers is beneficial for the osteoarthritis of the knee.
Prolonged use of Arnica Montana flowers in treating damaged skin, such as injuries, may sometimes cause edematous dermatitis and eczema. Higher concentrates applied to the skin may cause the formation of vesicles or necroses. Toxicologists claim that oral use of Arnica Montana flowers is possibly unsafe due to the presence of helenalin, which may cause poisoning when eaten in large amounts.