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Arnica is a beautiful alpine herb that offers such strong anti-inflammatory properties that it is well known even outside herbal medicine circles. While arnica creams and oils are convenient, the whole herb is also readily available online.
Parts Used: Flowers
Precautions: Do not use in open or bleeding wounds. Long-term use can cause skin irritation.
Identifying/Growing: Also known as mountain arnica, this aromatic herb can be found growing in alpine meadows. It features aromatic toothed leaves and bright yellow to orange blossoms with daisy-like florets on stalks that average 1 to 2 feet high. Arnica prefers full sun but will tolerate a little shade. If you decide to grow this herb, you’ll need patience since the seeds can take between 1 month and 2 years to germinate. You can either sow the seeds outside in late summer and hope for the best, or sow them in large pots indoors; they germinate at a temperature of about 55°F. Once the arnica begins to grow, it will flower and spread via roots and self-seeding. If you cut the plants back after they flower, you’ll often receive a second bloom. Keep your arnica healthy by dividing the plants at the roots every 3 years, in either spring or autumn.