Our Journey to the French Countryside for the Annual Arnica Harvest
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We flew to France this summer and joined the botanists and professional harvesters of Arnica montana, the wild mountain daisy, for the long held annual tradition of carefully and sustainably hand selecting this year’s crop of the sole active ingredient for Boiron’s Arnicare line of homeopathic pain relievers. This is our miracle flower, capable of aiding recovery for everything from nasty aches to pains and bruises. It’s the ultimate herbal remedy, and you can find a tube on us at all times—in our purse, gym bag—we don’t travel without it.
Each year, Mother Nature offers us these wild plants, harvested at altitude in their natural habitat, preserved by sustainable handpicking. A passionate team of botanists, pharmacists and technicians develop homeopathic medicines from Arnica montana at Boiron Laboratories in Lyon, France.
These delicate, bright yellow perennials contain a centuries-old European pain relief secret that is now catching on throughout the United States. Twin pharmacists Jean and Henri Boiron mindfully harvested the flowers starting in 1932 when beginning their life’s work in homeopathy.
It’s all done by hand! The harvesters are carefully trained to preserve the biodiversity of the land—from the meticulous way they leave the roots in the ground, to saving one plant per square meter to keep the flowers growing— every possible measure is taken to ensure that Boiron’s high standards are met.
From field to lab, the flowers are processed within 48 hours to retain freshness and potency. This means they have to drive the flowers hours away, in a refrigerated truck, immediately to the laboratory after harvesting. The plants are thoroughly checked for botanical and quality control, and extracted of all active components for their mother tincture, the base product from which all dilutions for their products are made. Absolutely nothing from the harvest goes to waste; once the solution is ready, the old plants are recycled into compost.
Arnica montana has been used for healing aches and pains for hundreds of years, and plant medicine is our primary resource for healing around here! When made into homeopathic gels, it’s regularly used in a diverse range of lifestyles, including aching athletes, children, yogis and weary travelers.
What Is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a 200-year-old practice of alternative medicine that uses solely natural ingredients, such as plants and minerals, to help treat everything from bug bites to rheumatoid arthritis.
Our safest option for dealing with everyday post-running and yoga aches and pains, arnica can be used topically as a gel or cream for spot relief of muscle pain and stiffness, and can also relieve swelling from injuries and reduce discoloration from bruises. It’s odorless and paraben-free, which we love.