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Arnica – the King of Remedies

 

Arnica must be the best and most used homeopathic remedy in the whole world so I decided to post this blog again to remind us all how amazing it really is.

When I originally wrote this version I’d hit my knee so hard on my desk that my lower leg went numb and I couldn’t walk. I had visions of massive bruising and possibly not being able to climb the stairs to my bedroom.

I’m not very good at taking remedies – I often forget I have this wonderful tool box, probably because I’m so busy prescribing for everyone else – but on that occasion I went straight for Arnica. Arnica 30c was the first bottle I grabbed. I took one dose and forgot all about it. Next morning I got out of bed gingerly but there was no pain or immobility. Inspected my knee expecting to find it black and blue but there was only a very faint yellowing and that was it!

This weekend just past, being a bit of a klutz, I tried to turn the compost tumbler and it flicked back at me hitting my wrist so hard I couldn’t move it – visions of the desk incident above! Oh man, so painful and because it was my right wrist here was I thinking I might not be able to type or write, which might mean cancelling clinic – eek.

As always there was a homeopathic kit sitting on the coffee table so I took a couple of doses of Arnica 200c and waited for the pain to dissipate, which is did very quickly. Apart from a little redness and a bit of a graze today, two days later, I have no pain at all!

How amazing is that?

How often do we see people who’ve had dreadful accidents, undergone facial surgery or seen football players with black eyes? While Arnica is well known around the world in its herbal form and is pretty well known in its homeopathic form, it’s possibly not as well known as it could be.

Arnica montana (aka leopard’s bane, fall herb, bruisewort) is a daisy which is indigenous to Central Europe, found in woods and mountain pastures. One story has it that shepherds who had made the arduous climb up the mountain or walkers on their return to the lower levels would pick the leaves and eat them to reduce soreness and bruising from over exertion. Reading the herbal materia medica I suspect they actually applied the leaves externally as Arnica is toxic!

The herbal tincture is used for external application to sprains, bruises, and wounds, and as a paint for chilblains when the skin is unbroken. Repeated applications may produce severe inflammation so you will often see a note on creams not to apply to broken skin.

In homeopathic form, which is non-toxic, this is one of my “must have” remedies for any first aid kit because it has so many uses.

Arnica for first aid situations

It often referred to as ‘a trauma remedy par excellence‘, treating physical trauma and the mental/emotional trauma that can accompany it, for example, after a car accident or surgery.

  • Bleeding from wounds may be stemmed by the use of Arnica but equally it is a useful remedy for varicose veins and DVT because its affinity is for balancing the flow and make up of the blood – reducing or improving as required.
  • It’s useful to take before a flight, partly because of its affinity for DVT but also because it’s a trauma remedy generally and an international flight can act as a form of trauma due to the system trying to cope with time change and pressurisation.
  • It’s a fantastic remedy during and after childbirth where again it helps with bruising, soreness and recovery generally. Arnica is useful following a forceps delivery or traumatic birth. If you only had one birthing remedy, this would be the one.
  • It’s brilliant for surgery of any kind particularly where the body is pulled around, so dental surgery, caesarean section, hip and knee replacements, but really I wouldn’t want to undergo surgery without it.
  • Arnica can also be used retrospectively so if someone is still showing symptoms of physical and /or emotional trauma many years after an event, it can be used – usually in the higher potencies – to help resolve the issue.
  • It’s the first remedy to use following a fracture or sprain/strain to help resolve bruising and pain.
  • It can be helpful following a stroke because of its affinity for the blood vessels
  • Arnica is a gardener’s best friend for backache from over use, strains and over-exertion generally!
  • Athletes should absolutely have this remedy in their kit again for over-exertion and for sprains, strains, bruising and other injuries.
  • It can also be useful for the soreness that sometimes arises from a chiropractic or osteopathic adjustment and similar.

Some notes from the books

When I look in the materia medica at the proving of Arnica (that’s the information which has been collected over the years as to what Arnica can treat) I’m always amazed at what it can be used for.

And if we only look at the keynotes or the main indicators as to what it can be used for this can often expand our ideas on the affinities of a remedy. Sometimes we need to think laterally!

Here are some selected items:

  • Patient says there is nothing the matter with him and sends the doctor home. This is usually a result of shock. Fear of being approached, guarding the wound. May also say the bed feels too hard.
  • Head injury or strokes that affect mental function. Depression from injuries to the head (also Natrum Sulph)
  • Influenza with sore bruised muscles
  • Said to be good for seasickness and I always recommend for air travel
  • Bladder affections from mechanical injury usually following a surgery or catheterisation
  • Mastitis from injury
  • Palpitations after any shock or injury
  • Black eyes from injury
  • Herbally it has been recommended topically for baldness – perhaps from trauma?!
  • Impaired hearing from a blow to the head
  • Haematoma, rupture of small blood vessels, blood shot eyes in conditions like whooping cough – bleeding!
  • Hoarseness from overuse of voice, again strains!
  • Boils that feel sore and bruised – bruising!
  • A major gout remedy with fear of the joint being touched
  • Heart attacks from over-exertion
  • Grief and financial shock – trauma!

One of my favourite uses of Arnica in clinic is when people describe feeling battered or bruised by life events or feeling as if they are run over by a bus!

Hopefully when you read this you can see a theme developing and get an idea of how useful Arnica can be.

Potency

The 30c potency is adequate in most situations, although I do usually recommend a 200c for birthing. But what I always say is just use whatever potency you have. In a first aid situation you don’t often have the option of waiting for the post!!

Doses would be given according to how traumatic the injury or situation is, so the remedy might be required every 10 minutes for up to five doses, then reduced to hourly and two hourly as symptoms improve.

Some cases might require the remedy three times a day for three days (that’s my standard recommended dosage), but as in the case of my knee and my wrist, sometimes a single dose is sufficient.

And if in doubt contact your homeopath.

What form does Arnica come in?

At Elements of Health we supply Arnica in drops and pilules for oral use (found under single remedies) and as a cream for topical use. Our cream contains Arnica as a homeopathic remedy so there is no issue with applying to broken skin if required.

We also have RRA (Rhus Tox, Ruta, Arnica) a great combination remedy which also covers injury to ligaments and tendons.

If you’re an athlete or sports person Arnica comes in our Homeopathic Kit for Sports People & Athletes.

It’s also included in our Labour Support combination, because it really is a very versatile and useful remedy for a natural delivery right through to an unplanned caesarean.

And finally, while Arnica is great for surgery, there are often other remedies which are required and we have a Surgery Support combination for the times when you’re not sure what to take when.

If you could only have one remedy, this would have to be it!

 

Resources:

Murphy R; Nature’s Materia Medica, 3rd Edition; Lotus Health Institute 2006

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arnic058.html


Melanie Creedy is a Licentiate of the British School of Homeopathy in the UK and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association. She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and editor of the AHA National Newsletter from 2012 to 2020.
Melanie has used homeopathy since the mid-1980s and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in helping individuals manage their life and health through looking at a diagnosis or condition in relation to the symbolism of this unique picture. Armed with a range of remedies from the most common to the most unusual and esoteric, Melanie guides people to plumb the depths of their life and spiritual path with homeopathy to help them find insights, to understand and to heal.
For many years Melanie taught people how to use homeopathy in their homes, with their children and with their pets. She has run classes on how to use homeopathy with native animals and taught courses on homeopathy  for birthing to doulas. Since moving to Tasmania she has found writing a better forum to reach more people. You will find many posts reaching back over her 25 years in practice here, revised and updated over time.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information on our website and in this article does not constitute medical advice. It is referenced from traditional homeopathic texts and is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a treatment seek advice from your GP or your registered homeopath.