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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Arnica montana | Arnica

Botanical Overview of Arnica

  • Scientific Name: Arnica montana

  • Common Names: Arnica, Mountain Arnica, Leopard's Bane, Wolf's Bane

  • Family: Asteraceae

  • Description: A perennial herb with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers and a basal rosette of hairy leaves. The stems are erect and can grow up to 60 cm tall.

Arnica montana botanical illustration

Properties of Arnica

  • Chemical Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones (helenalin), flavonoids, volatile oils, coumarins, and tannins.

  • Edibility: Not typically consumed due to its toxicity; primarily used externally.

Distribution and Habitat of Arnica

  • Native Range: Mountainous regions of Europe and Siberia.

  • Preferred Habitat: Prefers nutrient-poor, acidic soils in alpine meadows, grasslands, and heathlands. Often found at high altitudes.

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Arnica

  • Traditional Uses: Known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic properties. Traditionally used to treat bruises, sprains, and muscle pain.

  • Modern Applications: Commonly used in topical applications such as creams, gels, and ointments for pain relief and to reduce inflammation. Not recommended for internal use due to its toxicity.

Magical Correspondences and Uses of Arnica in Magical Practice

  • Element: Fire

  • Planet: Sun

  • Magical Properties: Protection, healing, and strength.

  • Uses: Arnica is used in magical practices for protection and healing. It can be included in sachets, amulets, and healing rituals. The flowers are sometimes used in spells to enhance strength and vitality.

Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Arnica

  • Historical Context: Used in traditional European herbal medicine, especially in mountainous regions.

  • Folklore: Believed to have protective qualities and was often used to guard against lightning and storms. Arnica was sometimes placed in homes or carried as a charm for protection.

  • Mythology: Associated with the sun due to its bright yellow flowers, arnica was used in rituals to invoke the power and energy of the sun.

Historical Literary Sources

  • Hildegard of Bingen's "Physica": Mentions the use of arnica for treating wounds and inflammation.

  • William Turner's "Herbal" (1568): Describes the medicinal properties of arnica and its applications in traditional herbal medicine.


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