In the Wild
*Also known as leopard’s bane, mountain daisy, and wolf’s bane
With round, hairy stems, arnica grows from one to three feet tall. The bright green upper leaves are toothed and slightly hairy; the lower leaves have rounded ends. The daisy-like flowers are bright yellow-orange and are two to three inches wide. They bloom in July and August. This plant is found in pastures and woodlands.
Although arnica was widely used in German folk medicine during the Middle Ages, it is seldom used today. When it is, it is used externally. Also, arnica should not be applied to broken skin, as it can be toxic.
Like the plant more commonly known as wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum), arnica was used to poison bait for wild animals. However, the reason for the reference to leopards in one of its folk names is unknown. The genus name Arnica was derived from the Greek arnakis, which means “lamb’s skin.” 86 This is a reference to the leaves, which sometimes have a wooly texture. The species name montana, means “of mountains.” 87
Use dried leaves and/or flowers for protection. Crumble and sprinkle them at the corners of your house as you visualize the energy of this plant rising and creating a dome of safety. As you do this, say three times:
Arnica, leopard’s bane, powerful plant; I call on you, my wish to grant. With your energy make a dome; to protect this house and loving home.
Raising energy in your home with arnica helps quell restless spirits, too. Also, place a sprig of leaves on your altar to increase and enhance your psychic abilities during divination.