Arnica (Ár-ni-ca) is a genus with about 30 perennial, herbaceous species, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The genus name Arnica may be derived from the Greek arna, "lamb", in reference to the soft, hairy leaves.
It is a native of Canada, Northern America and Europe. It is toxic when taken internally; however, it is excellent for relieving muscle pain, sprains, dislocations and swelling. It will not allow for bruises to form if applied immediately as it promotes the activity of white blood cells while at the same time it stops ruptured capillaries from bleeding.
It also has excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which promotes quick wound healing and helps reducing pain and swelling. Swiss mountaineers use this herb regularly to treat and prevent soreness, swelling and aching limbs while climbing mountains.
Arnica is often recommended and used to be taken in conjunction with bioflavonoids and Vitamin C for increasing the strength of the capillaries and prevent bruises in the event of any type hurt. Soaking feet in hot water to which Arnica is added provides quick and effective relief for tender feet.
Some studies point at its capacity to control bleeding and pain after surgical procedures, but the findings are not yet conclusive.
Arnica has gained popularity as a herb that helps hair growth and regeneration when applied directly to the scalp in warm massage.