ar·​ni·​ca | \ ˈär-ni-kə How to pronounce arnica (audio) \

Definition of arnica

: any of a genus (Arnica) of composite herbs including some with bright yellow ray flowers

Examples of arnica in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ingredient arnica is also used as a through line in each of the products to tie them all together beautifully. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 18 Apr. 2022 Both formulations contain black pepper oil, arnica, ginger, and peppermint oil, to not only moisturize your skin but relieve stress by soothing aching muscles and joints. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 21 Nov. 2019 These handmade salts contain a mix of pink Himalayan salt, arnica, magnesium-rich epsom salts, calendula petals and essential oils that support deep-body relaxation. Debbie Carlson,, 15 Oct. 2019 This bath bomb goes the extra mile with skin soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and honey, natural pain relief in the form of eucalyptus, arnica, and hemp seed oil, and a floral scent courtesy of ylang ylang. Sunset, 22 Jan. 2018 In fact, many of them also come with ingredients like arnica, menthol, or camphor, which may all provide a more immediate sensation of soothing or pain relief. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 19 Apr. 2019 Formulated with a high dose of hydrating hyaluronic acid, these anytime, anywhere icy eye patches are the ultimate pre-party fix, thanks to a jolt of caffeine and arnica. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, 25 July 2018 Dark spots are no match for this Korean formula, which combines AHA with arnica (a natural anti-bacterial agent) and anti-inflammatory aloe to target patches safely and fade dark spots over time. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, 19 July 2018 Dear sister, Spirits were low in the medic tent as supplies of probiotics and arnica dwindle. Don Sweeney, sacbee, 3 July 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arnica.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of arnica

circa 1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arnica

borrowed from New Latin, of uncertain origin

Note: The genus Arnica was introduced by linnaeus in Species plantarum, vol. 2 (Stockholm, 1753), p. 884. Linnaeus cites as his source for the name Albrecht von Haller's Enumeratio methodica stirpium Helvetiae indigenarum, tomus II (Göttingen, 1742), p. 737. Haller in turn cites the essay "De Arnica Lapsorum Panacea" by the German physician Johann Michael Fehr (1610-88), which appeared in Miscellanea curiosa, sive Ephemeridum medico-physicarum Germanicarum Academiæ naturæ curiosorum, Annus nonus et decimus (1678-79, printed 1680), pp. 22-30. (The Academia naturae curiosorum ["Academy of those curious about nature"], later the Leopoldina after its patron the emperor Leopold I, and the German National Academy of Sciences since 2008, is the oldest academic society in German-speaking Europe.) Fehr appears to have been the first physician to have discussed the medical uses of arnica under this name, which he thought may have been distorted from the earlier name ptarmica "by some ignorant root-cutter, as it possesses the remarkable power of inducing sneezes": "Vox arnica ex ptarmica mihi corrupta esse videtur ab imperito quodam rhizotomo, quod insignis ipsi insit vis sternutatoria." (Ptarmica, going back to Greek ptarmikós "causing a sneeze," has been applied since Dioscorides and Galen to various flowering plants thought to induce sneezing, as Achillea ptarmica.) Prior to Johann Michael Fehr, evidence for the name arnica is very sparse. It appears in a posthumous edition (Frankfurt am Main, 1613) of the herbal Neuw Vollkommentlich Kreuterbuch by the physician and botanist Jacobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus (Jakob Diether von Bergzabern, ca. 1522-1590), as an alternate name of the plant called Mutterwurtz in German and Caltha alpina in Latin (p. 48): "Bey den Sachsen und Seestätten wird es Woluelen geheissen bei dem gemeinen Mann : aber von den Medicis Arnica." ("Among the Saxons and in coastal locales it is called Woluelen by the common man, but by the doctors Arnica.") The name, however, seems to be lacking in the original edition of Tabernaemontanus's opus (Neuw Kreuterbuch, Frankfurt am Main, 1588). According to Gustav Hegi, Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa, 6. Band, 1. Hälfte (Munich, 1918?), arnica is first found in the form arnich in the Liber pandectarum medicinae of Matthaeus Sylvaticus (ca. 1280-ca. 1342). The word does indeed appear in an early printed edition (Venice, 1498), but with the description "herba iamena boni odoris similis cinnamomo grosso" ("herb of Yemen with a good odor, resembling a coarse cinnamon"). This would seem to have no connection with Arnica montana, and, in fact, this passage is taken verbatim from a longer description in the herbalist dictionary Clavis sanationis by Simon of Genoa (active late 13th century), who calls the herb armech rather than arnich (see the website "Simon Online" at The identity of armech is undetermined.

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The first known use of arnica was circa 1753

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Arnhem Land


arnica bud

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Cite this Entry

“Arnica.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for arnica


ar·​ni·​ca | \ ˈär-ni-kə How to pronounce arnica (audio) \

Medical Definition of arnica

1a capitalized : a large genus of herbs (family Compositae) having flower heads that are discoid or have bright yellow rays
b : a plant of the genus Arnica
2a : the dried flower head of any of several herbs of the genus Arnica (especially A. montana) used for stimulant and local irritant effect especially in the form of a liniment for bruises, sprains, and swellings
b : a tincture made from arnica

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