The Efficacy of Arnica - How Wildcrafting and Infusing This Bright Plant Makes It More Potent
Arnica - The Pain Relief Herbalist's Dream Of
By Jen Scott, Green Goo's Master Herbalist
I was first exposed to Arnica while working on an organic farm in California. It grew on the north facing steep slopes of certain mountain ranges. It fast because one of my favorite herbs because of its beautiful yellow flower. Yellow is my favorite color! As well, it grows in the mountains, where I love to hike and explore. So I felt that Arnica and I, well, we liked each other. Really, what makes me love this plant the most is that it's so healing in times of pain, whether physical pain or emotional trauma. It's an important herb to have in your first aid kit!
We use to harvest all our Arnica by hand in the mountains of Idaho. I was drawn to its beauty. It felt wondrous to come across a field of Arnica, it’s bright yellow flowers beaming everywhere. We would bring pillow cases with us in our backpacks, and before harvesting we always assess the area, asking, “How abundant was the herb?” “Was there enough for us to take some without anyone ever knowing we had been there?” If we answered yes to these questions, we would proceed. And we always left offerings and gave thanks for the herbs for all its healing properties. Only then would we harvest.
There was one time when we were harvesting, and we weren’t wearing gloves. For certain plants you need gloves; for others you don’t. With Arnica you can usually harvest without gloves. However, it may have been a special year and the potency of the herb was very strong. About an hour into harvesting, we all looked at each other with funny faces, asking, “Are you feeling what I’m feeling?” It was euphoria; there was no pain at all in our bodies; we were almost floating. Never in all my years of harvesting Arnica did I ever feel this. It didn’t last long after washed our hands in the nearby river, but what a beautiful day of hiking and harvesting in the sun.
Why Green Goo’s Arnica?
Green Goo's Arnica Pain Relief is unique in that we infusion the herb into oil for an extended period of time on a low heat. This process creates a very potent salve that has slowly pulled all the medicinal constitutions from the plant into the oil. Arnica is effective and healing to any kind of bruises, physical trauma, anti-inflammatory, reduces pain and bleeding during and after surgery, pulled muscles or ligaments, and arthritic joints. Due to our process we have had many people tell us that our Arnica formula works better than any tincture, pill, or homeopathic remedies.
History of Arnica - Parts used
Typically herbalists use a plant’s “Aerial parts," those that are completely exposed in air.” And plants, such as arnica, are most potent when their flowers are in full bloom. Always remember to leave the roots so the arnica plant will come back every year! Many different species of arnica exist. Arnica Montana, a European species, is the most tested of all species. The mountains of the United States have many different varieties of arnica at higher elevations; few tests have been done with these varieties, but many people believe these are effective. Arnica’s history extends back to the middle ages in Europe. As well, the Native Americans called it mountain tobacco, using it medically for healing.
There's a big difference in the efficacy of arnica depending on where and how it's grown. The more stressed out plants usually are, the more potent they are. This happens with wine as well. Certain varieties of grapes you want to grow on steep hillside and just give barley enough water to get that nice potent rich deep flavor. If you grow arnica in your garden it’s not going to be as potent as the wild arnica grown on hillsides, for example.
We ensure the highest potency in our arnica in three different ways:
- By buying high quality organic herbs;
- By wild harvesting the herb sustainability in its natural habitat and not taking the root so it grows back every year;
- And by honoring our process of a long infusion on low heat to extract the most amount of the medical properties of the herb for high potency.