Before consuming wild plants, contact your doctor to make sure it is safe, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Michael Moore’s books also include a Glossary of medical terms.
Common Name: Arnica, Leopardsbane
Latin Name: Arnica chamissonis, A. cordifolia, A. latifolia, A. mollis, A. parryi
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARCHC Montana, Washington, and north (Arnica chamissonis)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARCO9 all states west of the Rockies + N. and S. Dakota and MIchigan (Arnica cordifolia)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARLA8 states west of the Rockies excluding Arizona (Arnica latifolia)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARMO4 states west of the Rockies excluding Arizona and New Mexico (Arnica mollis)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARPA13 states west of the Rockies excluding Arizona and New Mexico (Arnica parryi)
(Of these species PFAF website lists one)
Common Name: Heartleaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
Appearance and Habitat: Woodlands in foothills up to high elevations in the mountains. Western N. America – Alaska to New Mexico. A perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower in July.
Warning: The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications on unbroken skin.
Edible Uses: None
Medicinal Uses: The whole plant is antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine, sternutatory and vulnerary. When applied intravenously or orally it causes a rise in body temperature. All parts of the plant may be used, but the flowers are used in preference to the root. They have a discutient property and a tincture is used as an external application to swellings, sprains, bruises and wounds. A salve applied to cuts helps to keep down infections
Definitions: antiecchymotic – stops passage of blood from ruptured blood vessels into subcutaneous tissue, marked by a purple discoloration of the skin.
antiphlogistic – reducing fever or inflammation
antiphlogistic – reducing fever or inflammation
nervine – nerve tonic, a sedative
sternutatory – tending to cause sneezing
vulnerary – of use in healing wounds (Those were new medical terms to me, so I listed them for all.)
(The rest of the species as covered by Michael Moore)
Appearance and Habitat: The flowers are similar to Sunflowers, the foliage has a balsamic scent. The leaves are opposite but may be alternate below the flowers. It is generally not taller than 2 feet. It is a fairly substantial meadow and forest edge plant with large flowers, leaves, and roots. It is found high in the mountains from timber line to 4,000 feet. A. cordifolia is the most common species and grows in abundance after a clear-cut for logging or after a fire. Arnicas are strictly high mountain plants and seldom found below the spruces. It blooms in June and July.
Medicinal Uses: All parts of the plant are useful, but the flowers and roots are the strongest. For tinctures, 1 part fresh plant to 2 parts 50% alcohol ( rubbing alcohol can be used when this plant is for external use ) . For dry flowers and herbs use 1 part plant to 5 parts alcohol. Let the plant sit in the tincture for a week and then strain. The tincture can be used freely for joint inflammations, sprains, and sore muscles. If the tincture causes skin irritation dilute it in half with water. The use of Arnica for exterior use is pain on movement. If heat helps on a wound so will Arnica. Tea made from the dried flowers is widely used topically for joint pain, but is way to strong to take internally. Arnica can be used internally but use ethanol alcohol in the tincture in place of rubbing alcohol. Take only 3 -15 drops with several ounces of water internally. Taken internally, Arnica boosts your immune system as well as acting as a strong cardiovascular stimulant and vasodilator, counteracting adrenalin. Pregnant women should not take Arnica internally because of the cardiovascular aspect. For an external salve, mix it with Vaseline over low heat.
Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 28 , publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979
(This plant is sold at times for Arnica)
Common Name: Camphorweed, Telegraph Plant, False Arnica, Mexican Arnica
Latin Name: Heterotheca subaxillaris, H. grandiflora
Appearance and Habitat: Yellow daisylike flower heads on tall, hairy stems; plant often has 1-sided, unbalanced look. This nativeannual or biennial has been extending its range northward. It is unpalatable to grazing livestock on open range. Found on sandy soils of prairies, waste places, and roadsides. It is in bloom from July to November. (1) Both of these species are big annuals or biennials and interbreed between species. They have large alternate, stem clasping leaves. When in flower they have a dozen or more blooms that are yellow and look like a cross between Dandelions and Daisies. The stems are thick and gummy, as are the leaves. In H. subaxillaris it has a strong camphory or piney smell. The eastern species can bloom all year where the western species usually blooms in the fall. H. subaxillaris is found along roadsides and waste places throughout the sunbelt, from the Atlantic Coast to coastal California. H. grandifloria is native in southern and central California and is making its way in the opposite direction. (2)
Medicinal Uses: When collecting take the whole flowering plant and dry it in a paper bag. It will retain its properties for at least a year. You can make a tincture of the plant at a 1 part dried plant to 5 parts of 60% alcohol. The plant as a tea or tincture is antiseptic and antifungal and can be used prior to bandaging or dressing a moderate abrasion, scrape, or cut. For arthritis it doesn’t work as well as Arnica, but it does work. It also grows at a much lower altitude than Arnica. It too can be made into a salve using Vaseline and low heat. Like Arnica it is for pain on movement. (3)
Foot Notes: (2, 3) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore;pages 21 – 22, publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989; ISBN 0-89013-182-1
Common Name: Marsh Fleabane, Salt Marsh Fleabane, Stinkweed, Santa Maria, Canelon
Latin Name: Pluchea camphorata, P. odorata
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PLCA7 Texas-Kansas and east to Mississippi – Illinois/Wisconsin and east
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PLODO California, Nevada and east to Florida and Maryland
Appearance and Habitat: Southern marsh fleabane grows to 2 feet tall or more, in marshes or other areas that are always moist. It has several leafy branches on the upper part, none below. Leaves vary, some long and narrow, and some broad at the base, 2–4 inches long, pointed at the tip, and irregularly toothed on the margins. The fragrant, rose-colored flowers grow in small heads in a flat-topped cluster at the end of the stems. Bloom color is Pink and Bloom time June to October (1) Bloom color for P. camporata is pink to purple and may attain a height of 3- 6 feet. (2) Fleabane is a two to four foot tall annual or short lived perennial with pink to magenta flower tops that bloom from early summer to mid fall. The leaves are alternate with ovate to lanceolate blades, they are somewhat stem clasping and sub sticky. The whole plant smells of camphor or maybe even mothballs. It grows from southern California to Florida and north to Maine. Look for it in wet places with brackish or salty water during times of the year (not constantly wet). (3)
Medicinal Uses: Collect and dry the plant when it is in flower. It will save as long as it still has a smell (1 year to 1 1/2 years). Prepare it by boiling water (32 parts) to one part plant by weight. Return the water level to 32 parts after it sits overnight. After it sits heat up the tea and take 2 to 4 ounces as doses. The tea will stimulate perspiration and urination of both liquid and other waste products. The tea will also inhibit spasms and cramps from both diarrhea and stomach aches. It has an anti-spasmodic effect. It is also reliable menstrual stimulate when flow begins late. But pregnant women should not use the tea. The plant can also be used as an eyewash at the same strength, just use isotonic water at the same 1:32 ratio (Isotonic Water = 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a pint of water) but use it after it has cooled to body temperature. Make fresh tea every time you use it as an eyewash to keep bacteria from growing in the tea. (4)
Foot Notes: (1)
Foot Notes: (3, 4) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore;pages 69 – 70, publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989; ISBN 0-89013-182-1
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