Arnica montana is a perennial flowering plant from the Asteraceae family, native to the mountains of Europe, as its name (montana) suggests. The yellow, daisy-like flower, seen from May to August in elevations of 3,500 to 10,000 feet, was mentioned first by Matthiolus, an Italian physician, in 1626. Folk remedies using arnica as a tea or tincture for wounds, bruises, rheumatic pains, heart weakness and even asthma, prevailed for centuries before that.
Micro-doses of the plant are used to make homeopathic Arnica. In this form, Arnica restores health with no side effects and is safe for children, adults, pregnant women, and seniors. Like other homeopathic medicines, Arnica has been regulated by Health Canada and manufactured according to the guidelines in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. Homeopathic Arnica has no reported drug interactions and is safe for individuals who require other medications.
Accidents will happen at home, at work, in the gym, and on vacation. However, with Arnica on hand and these tips in mind, you can speed the healing and prevent long-term disability that often accompanies bruises and physical trauma. So be sure to have a supply of Arnica in your kitchen cabinet, desk drawer, purse and gym bag. Then, you too will be able to experience the beneficial healing effects that Arnica has provided since mountain climbers discovered it centuries ago.
Bruises (or what medical doctors call “contusions”) occur when you get injured and break tiny blood vessels in the skin. These blood vessels or “capillaries”, leak into the surrounding tissue and as red blood cells gather, you can see discoloration in the area. What starts off as a red-purple injury becomes green or yellow as the body works to heal the region and metabolize or gobble up the mass of escaped red blood cells.
The tendency to bruise varies from one person to another. Young children tend to bruise less readily. They have resilient blood vessels that don’t break easily. Older people, especially those on certain medications, have delicate vessels; some find black and blue marks so frequently that they are forever wondering where the injuries come from. Medications that prevent blood clotting (like Coumadin) and prescription drugs that make blood vessels more fragile (like Prednisone) often contribute to the number of bruises one has.
Without medical assistance, most people find their bruises healed and their skin color returned to normal in 2-3 weeks. Taking Arnica dramatically reduces the healing period. The natural chemicals found in Arnica help to heal or prevent unwanted complications. Flavonoids decrease the permeability of the blood vessels and polysaccharideas stimulate the process by which helper-cells clean the tissue of unwanted debris.
Arnica is useful in all sorts of TRAUMA to the body, including:
When using Arnica, the best results occur when you match the frequency of consumption with the severity of the injury and pain. For example, in cases of severe trauma and pain (while waiting for emergency medical care) you can take Arnica 30C every 5 minutes. For a sprained ankle that is swollen and moderately painful (but doesn’t require immediate medical attention) you can take one pellet every hour, but reducing the frequency as the pain diminishes.
Here are some examples:
For sore muscles after exercise, take up to 3 pellets – one every 4 hours
For a sprained ankle, take one pellet every hour and reduce the frequency (to every 2, 3 and 4 hours) as the pain subsides.
For bumping into furniture (e.g. hitting your head on the kitchen cabinet, and suspect that there will be a bruise) take one or two pellets preventively – approximately 2-3 hours apart.
For dental work, take one immediately before the procedure and a few afterwards – depending on the severity of the pain and or discomfort experienced. For simple procedures one pellet may be sufficient.
Arnica assists in accelerating the body’s healing mechanism. Take homeopathic arnica 30C pellets after an injury or fall to minimize the development of edema, bruising and swelling. Arnica after a vigorous workout or extensive physical activity such as gardening or lifting heavy things can help to prevent muscle aching and stiffness.
Take Arnica 30C for sprains and strains, painful or bruised insect stings, and general shock after an injury. You can also take arnica 30C for broken bones and head trauma, but seek medical care in these cases as well.
Remember that serious trauma and spontaneous bruising calls for a complete medical evaluation. Be sure to get checked for signs of internal injury and fracture. In addition, the word “RICE” can help to remind you of other valuable tips for bruising: REST, ICE, COMPRESS, ELEVATE. The application of a cold compress and elevating the body part reduces the blood flow to the area. This lessens the amount of bleeding in the skin and reduces that size of the bruise.
Since surgery represents a huge shock and trauma to the body, Arnica is a must when undergoing any type of surgery. Arnica can help reduce soreness, tissue damage and bruising. Several randomized double-blind studies have shown that Arnica significantly decreases bleeding time during and after surgery.
Patients are routinely asked not to take any food or drink prior to surgery. Homeopathic remedies do not fall in this category and are safe before surgery. There have never been any reported problems from taking homeopathic remedies prior to surgery.
My recommendation to patients undergoing surgery is to take the first dose of Arnica 30C the night before surgery, second dose the morning of surgery (as close to the procedure time as possible) the third dose immediately after regaining consciousness, then two to there more doses one hour apart. Arnica after surgery significantly reduces recovery time. Different medicines may be considered for the days to follow, depending on the type of surgery and the symptoms experienced by the patient.
One patient who underwent extensive plastic surgery (breast and abdominal at the same time) followed my recommendation of using Arnica before and after the procedure. Her plastic surgeon was quite amazed at her recovery rate and the fact that she had almost no bruises left one week following the procedure. She was also sleeping on her side (according to her surgeon it takes 4-6 weeks to be able to do this) and drove herself to her follow-up appointment one week later.
Patients who undergo long-term intravenous (IV) therapy may find that the frequent insertion of an IV causes phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) and hematoma (the pooling of blood under the skin). A low dose of Arnica (such as 6C) taken daily can effectively reduce and prevent such problems as well as reduce pain.
Depending on the other symptoms you are experiencing, arnica 30C may be an appropriate and helpful remedy. Homeopathic arnica has been recommended for conditions such as burns, asphyxia, bleeding due to trauma, stroke and choking. In emergency or severe situations, arnica should be taken on the way to the doctor’s office or emergency room, and not as a substitute for medical care.
Arnica cream can be used topically when there is no broken skin – to soothe sore muscles, bruise pain, etc. You can find Arnica cream at your local health food store.
Arnica is one of my favourite homeopathic remedies and its effects never sease to amaze me! I try to keep Arnica in my purse, car and yoga bag. I love this remedy so much that I named my dog after it.
I am such a huge fan of this remedy that I named my dog after it! Meet Arnica!
She is a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix. She too takes homeopathic remedies, in her water bowel for different ailments, as needed. Homeopathy keeps her healthy, happy and beautiful!
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Tamara Der-Ohanian, DSHM, is a Homeopathic Physician practicing in Toronto. She can be reached at (416) 385-1001, or visit her web site at www.tamarader-ohanian.com