Arnica, Arnica montana, is listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It is a perennial herb, widespread in Europe, where it is found in acidic and nutrient-poor, extensively managed alpine meadows. Arnica flowers are widely used in traditional remedies to treat bruises and wounds, for which there is a growing international commercial market.
Arnica populations are stable in some parts of Europe and declining in others, partly due to unsustainable levels of collection for use in medicines. The habitats where this species is found have been maintained in traditional, subsistence-based farming systems, but are changing due to intensification (especially addition of nitrogen fertilizers), over-grazing, abandonment, and reforestation. The largest quantities currently in trade come from Eastern European countries, the wild resources having been depleted in the main consumer countries – Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Cultivation of Arnica has proved to be costly and complicated, and there is a strong market preference for wild-harvested material. The conservation focus is on protocols for non-destructive (sustainable) harvesting and preservation of traditional cultural landscapes. Population trends should be monitored.