The arnica in the garden is in full flower:

This plant was put in from a $5 nursery pot in January. That’s last January. So it flowered in the summer and had all these babies and now it’s flowering again. I’m super impressed because I thought it might be a few years before there were enough flowers to harvest.

Arnica seems to like the dry, very well drained soil, and the warm climate. I’ve tried growing it on the east coast, where it was ok but not prolific. You can sometimes pick up arnica in nurseries, and the seeds and plants are sometimes available on trademe.

I made an infused oil yesterday. I took most of the flowers that were in good condition. I’m hoping that arnica is like calendula in that the more you pick the flowers the more flowers grow.

It’s been a long time since I’ve used arnica oil (it’s hard to find commerically as an oil on its own). Arnica is a classic remedy for strains and bruises. I’ve used homeopathic arnica for this, but would like to try the oil too. Arnica is often avoided for internal use as it is toxic in higher doses, but some herbalists use it in small doses. Here’s US Great Lakes herbalist Jim Macdonald’s view on arnica:

Arnica is among the premier herbs for treating injury.  Applied topically, it summons the blood and Vital Force of the body to the injury and will help ease swelling, inflammation, pain, and bruising.  Taken internally it helps repair and ease the pain resulting from torn muscles and connective tissues, either from a sprain or from overzealous exercise (think about the achy feeling after a workout, or the first day of heavy duty yardwork in the spring); I’ve taken 5 drops before bed after a hard days labor to ease that sore, achy, “I did too much” feeling that often comes the next morning.  Remember, in its herbal form Arnica should be used in small doses of 5-10 drops.  Also, because of its action of summoning blood to the site it is applied topically to, it should not be used on broken skin.  In such cases, think Yarrow.