As with many herbs that entered the realm of folk medicine, arnica was used first in pagan times to curry favor with spirits. The blossoms were thought to be especially potent on the summer solstice. Bunches were gathered and set on the corners of fields to spread the power of the corn spirit and to ensure a good harvest. While Germans don’t believe in garnishing their fields with arnica these days, its power as a folk medicine has persisted. Folk remedies using arnica as a tea or tincture for wounds, bruises, rheumatic pains, heart weakness and even asthma, prevailed for centuries before that.
In Germany, Arnica is known commonly as wundkraut (wound herb), bruchkraut (fracture herb) and fallkraut (fall herb). In the mountains, where the steep paths make falling quite common, it was well-known that an application of fallkraut would help to heal any swelling or bruising to the body. Referred to in mountain dialect as “stand up and go home” (Stoh up un goh hen), arnica’s common names attest to its fast-healing properties. It is now an ingredient in more than 100 herbal preparations, where plant-based medications are well-researched, highly respected and government-regulated. Germany’s Commission E, an expert committee on herbal drugs and preparations from medicinal plants, cites arnica as a treatment for various post-traumatic conditions, including bruises, sprains, contusions and rheumatic ailments.
Read the original article at: The Herb Companion