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  • Emirhan Turan

Cultivation and Health Benefits of Arnica montana L.

by Emirhan Turan, November 16, 2020.

Arnica montana L. is a long‐lived perennial species in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) which is known also as mountain tobacco, leopard’s bane, and wolfsbane. Arnica montana is tolerant in extreme overwintering conditions that help plant to survive the hard winter in mountains. Arnica montana is a moderate toxic plant, a hemicryptophyte, and originated in central Europe, even it is becoming rarer in North Europe it is still cultivated on a large scale in Estonia.


Arnica montana is a flowering plant and growing until about 18–60 cm with an aromatic fragrant. The flowering season is between May and August in Central Europe. Arnica montana can be grown from seeds and has generally an 80% germination rate or by division. Seeds should be sawn in a cold frame in Autumn, a division can be made in Spring. Sprouting takes approximately 14 to 20 days, depending on the seed quality. For large-scale production, it is suggested to grow under control in nurseries before plantation into the field. As Arnica montana requires a high quality of soil to grow, analysis of the soil must be made before any fertilizer input. It grows in moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil in a sunny position.

Anatomy of Arnica montana.

Chemical composition and Health Benefits of Arnica montana

Arnica montana is known as an acute topical treatment of sprains, bruises, painful swellings, and wounds. Besides, arnica flowers have been used since the 16th century externally for inflammation caused by insect bites, gingivitis, and aphthous ulcers, as well as for the symptomatic relief of rheumatic complaints.

Arnica Montana Cream

The main ingredients of Arnica montana are essential oils, fatty acids, thymol, sesquiterpene lactones, and flavanone glycosides. The active ingredients of arnica flowers are the sesquiterpene lactones—helenalin and 11-alpha, 13-dihydrohelenanin, and their esters—as well as acetic, isobutyric, methacrylic, and other carboxylic acids. The anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic activity of Arnica montana can be explained by the inhibition of the inflammatory process at a very early stage. In vitro studies have shown that even low concentrations effectively inhibit the inflammatory process. Arnica montana contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten.

Bioactive of Arnica montana: helenalin
Bioactive of Arnica montana: helenalin

Arnica montana was found, if it is used as a 50% concentration in gel, to have the same effectiveness as a 5% ibuprofen gel for treating the symptoms of hand osteoarthritis.


Knuesel, O., Weber, M., & Suter, A. (2002). Arnica montana gel in osteoarthritis of the knee: an open, multicenter clinical trial. Advances in therapy, 19(5), 209.

Koo, H., Gomes, B. P. F. A., Rosalen, P. L., Ambrosano, G. M. B., Park, Y. K., & Cury, J. A. (2000). In vitro antimicrobial activity of propolis and Arnica montana against oral pathogens. Archives of oral biology, 45(2), 141-148.

Luijten, S. H., Dierick, A., Gerard, J., Oostermeijer, B., Raijmann, L. E., & Den Nijs, H. C. (2000). Population size, genetic variation, and reproductive success in a rapidly declining, self‐incompatible perennial (Arnica montana) in The Netherlands. Conservation Biology, 14(6), 1776-1787.

Merfort, I. (1992). Caffeoylquinic acids from flowers of Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis. Phytochemistry, 31(6), 2111-2113. Access date: 16.11.2020 Access date: 16.11.2020 Access date: 16.11.2020


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