HOMEOPATHIC FIRST AID The Use of Arnica By Douglas Brown, CCH, FNP, RSHom(NA)
This is the first of a series of articles on remedies that everybody should have in the home or even better, with them at all times for use in an emergency. In this article I'll discuss the most famous of all homeopathic remedies: Arnica.
Arnica montana has been used for centuries by Native Americans, and its medicinal virtues were discovered by Europeans in the 1500s after noticing that mountain goats would chew the plants after falling on the rocky slopes of the Alps.
When you encounter TRAUMA, think of Arnica!
There is nothing like the timely and appropriate use of Arnica to remind one of the power of homeopathy. One afternoon last summer I was moving my modest but heavy sailboat, when my hand was crushed between it and the trailer. Wincing with pain I ran into the house, squirted about ten drops of Arnica tincture into about half a cup of water, and immersed my hand. Even I was incredulous at how rapidly and completely my hand went from intense, crushing pain to feeling completely normal. I had expected bruising and swelling to last for days, and I experienced none at all.
Whenever trauma produces pain, swelling, BRUISING, inflammation, and INJURY, think of Arnica. Arnica is one of the main remedies to think of after a traumatic head injury.
Arnica is also the first remedy to try after SPRAINS. Sprain your ankle? Is it sore and lame? Arnica is what you need!
Arnica is also very helpful after overuse injuries. Feel sore all over after hiking all day? Does your arm feel "beaten up" after weilding a hammer for too many hours up on that roof? Arnica will restore it beautifully.
Arnica is an excellent remedy for use immediately by the mother after childbirth, if she experiences soreness after labor. It is also tremendously helpful before and after major surgery in speeding recovery, especially orthopedic surgery.
The list of uses for Arnica is long! It includes all kinds of blunt trauma (motor vehicle accidents!). Black eye. A bloody nose from trauma. Pain and soreness from a dental procedure or extraction.
Remember that the key indicator that Arnica is needed is a SORE, BRUISED, BEATEN sensation. There is usually marked sensitivity to touch or pressure. As in the case of most trauma, the injured parts feel better from the application of cold or ice.
It's quick, miraculous action has brought more people to homeopathy then any other single remedy! But like everything else, it will work only when it is called for.
Arnica is not to be applied to any open wound (In the next newsletter we'll talk about Calendula).
What potencies should I have on hand?
I would recommend having Arnica in two forms: Topical and 30C pellets. For topical I like the tincture, and order 1ounce bottles from Hahnemann Labs (1-888-427-6422). Topical application interferes least with constitutional remedies. It is also extremely effective when the injury is to a single, discrete part of the body (as in my crushed hand example above). Squirt about 10 drops from the dropper bottle into about half a cup of water. You can then either immerse the injured part, or use the solution to moisten a cloth which then can be applied as a compress.
Alternatively, you can use two 30C pellets dissolved on the tongue as needed (for example, in a moderate ankle sprain, take 30C, two pellets, once every four hours for two days). This works best if the injured part is not easily immersed or covered, when there is a head injury, or when the whole body is affected, as after an over-strenuous work-out.
Remember that in major trauma there is no substitute for the rapid evaluation and diagnostic abilities and life-support technology of a modern emergency room or trauma center. Also, in the case of a head injury or more serious accident, call me so that I can help with homeopathic prescribing as soon as the emergency room process is completed. Higher potencies whether of Arnica or of other remedies, will probably be needed. But even in these cases, don't hesitate to use whatever potencies of Arnica you have on hand on the way to the hospital!
On the other extreme, don't use any remedies lightly, especially if
you're on a constitutional remedy. Feeling a mild soreness from that
basketball game? Don't take Arnica if you're on a constitutional remedy;
the relief afforded isn't worth the possible disturbance to your constitutional
remedy. If you're on a constitutional remedy, take a first aid remedy
(something different from your constitutional) by mouth only if there
is more than a minor discomfort.
Doug Brown, CCH, FNP, RSHom is a graduate of Yale University School
of Nursing and the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy. He became a homeopath
when after 11 years of working with conventional medicine as a Family
Nurse Practitioner he remained dissatisfied with its failure to cure
chronic disease and with its fragmentation of care. He treats children
and adults in Portland, OR, and Walla Walla, WA, and can be reached
at (503) 253-6334, or by email at email@example.com