Arnica is a hardy herb that grows well in cold and hardy zones such as zones 2/3. While it prefers a slightly acidic soil, it will grow in a Ph 6.0-8.5 without difficulty. Arnica likes full sun, moderate richness and well-drained conditions, yet likes lots of moisture.. While it has been found growing wild in North America, it is native to Siberia. It is commonly found in the Pacific Northwest mountain regions, but grows as a cultivated plant as far east as Michigan and Ontario. Its mountainous habit explains its preference for frequent watering.
Arnica has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and remains popular today. The plant is used to treat sore muscles, bruises, sprains, wounds, rheumatic pain, insect bite inflammation and swelling associated with broken bones. It may have serious side effects when taken internally, and should be used topically. It is applied as a salve, cream, tincture, compress, liniment or oil. It is tonic & stimulating. The flowers are the primary source for medicinal treatments, and should be dried and stored away from potential insect attacks.
Rheumatism most commonly is treated with conventional medicine. However, rheumatism has been successfully treated, if not remedied, for centuries, with a variety of herbal remedies. Some of the herbs used are: oats, oregano, birch, marjoram, horseradish, elder, coriander, cow parsnip, cowslip, celery, chamomile, chickweed, angelica and arnica.
Flatulence may be a symptom of an underlying ailment. Most often, however, it is simply a gassy problem that can be treated with the following herbs: valerian, oregano, pennyroyal, marshmallow, hyssop, juniper, lavender, dill, fenugreek, cumin, celery, bee balm, caraway, alfalfa, angelica, arnica and basil.
Although arnica is toxic in large quantities, a weak tea is excellent for treating flatulence.
A variety of herbs and other foods that repair & build muscles, improve the circulatory flow and relieve pain includes nettle, Oregon grape, skullcap, rosemary, chamomile, wintergreen, black cohosh, mint, lavender, cayenne, lobelia, white willow, mustard, apple cider, clove oil, garlic oil, sesame oil, thyme, lavender, cabbage, horsetail, hawthorn, arnica and plantain.
Arnica is one of the best pain relievers for sore muscles as well as sprains. Make a salve or liniment using 1-2 tsp arnica (See Herb Preparation chapter). Apply to affected area every few hours.
Bruises are always treated topically, either by washes, oils & ointments or compresses & poultices. Some of the herbs used for treatment are portulaca, slippery elm, common plantain, self heal, onion, calendula, chamomile, nettle, rosemary, mullein, horsetail, lavender, garlic, hops, elder, cow parsnip, cattail, arnica and aloe.
Arnica is highly valued as a treatment for bruises and strains. Prepare an oil infusion using 2 tablespoons of crushed arnica root for ½ cup of oil. Apply topically as a massage, or make a warm compress and apply to the affected area. Arnica in large quantities is toxic, and, although sometimes taken internally, may cause stomach irritation.
The main objectives in treating cuts are to prevent infection and stop bleeding. Two herbs that are ideally suited to these tasks are garlic and turmeric. The staining capacity of turmeric and the repelling odor of garlic may be off-putting, but the styptic effect of turmeric and the anti-infection properties of garlic are incredible treatments for cuts.
A multitude of other herbs work well on cuts and wounds, to heal, reduce bleeding, relieve pain and prevent infection. They are: yarrow, white willow, portulaca, sage, self heal, slippery elm, oak, onion, marigold, mullein, horehound, horsetail, hyssop, juniper, lavender, goldenrod, goldenseal, Echinacea, elecampane, feverfew, cow parsnip, cattail, chamomile, chickweed, apple and arnica.
Crush arnica, mullein seed and goldenrod leaves into athick paste, using rubbing alcohol or warm water. Apply as a poultice on the wound and tape whole plantain leaves on top to hold in place.
Calendula, mint and lemon balm are natural insect repellents with healing properties. Other repellents include lavender, garlic, black cohosh, pennyroyal, sorrel, catnip and chamomile. Regardless, however, of how much repellent you use, you will be stung or bitten throughout the summer. A quick, natural repellent is handy to have available. However, it is not always possible to avoid bites or stings. The following herbs deal with the pain, itching hand swelling associated with insect bites: white willow, onion, oregano, parsley, calendula (marigold), hyssop, goldenrod, evening primrose, cattail, chickweed and arnica.
Catnip, lemon balm & arnica, combined and made into a tincture can be sprayed or rubbed over the skin to provide relief from biting insects, and to take the sting out of those bites that already are there.
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