Arnica: A Staple for Every Medicine Chest
By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
A couple of days ago I walked into a work-related event only to see my friend and colleague plopped down on a chair, grimacing and wrestling with a bag of ice. Apparently, a large wooden cabinet had toppled over and knocked her down while she was pulling out supplies!
I was glad to see she had the ice, and just as relieved to see her rubbing arnica cream on her shoulder where the cabinet had fallen. Then a few minutes later, when someone brought over some homeopathic Arnica pills, my friend exclaimed, “Did you know you could take this stuff as a pill too?!”
She was ecstatic to have a double dose of Arnica because she knew from experience that the cream really worked.
That reminded me of how many times I’ve surprised people when I’ve told them to take Arnica internally. This information needs to get out there. Homeopathic arnica pills or pellets should be in everyone’s first aid kit, because it works for so many things.
Let’s face it, we all get banged up from time to time. If it’s not a cabinet falling on you, it’s twisting your ankle and falling in the street, like I did today. With these two episodes happening within days of each other I have Arnica on my brain. And, boy was I glad it was in my medicine chest too!
A few weeks ago I posted an article here about 5 natural remedies to reduce inflammation and pain. One of them was Arnica, and this remedy definitely deserves a full article to itself.
Not only is arnica amazingly helpful for reducing pain and inflammation for injuries and bang-ups, it’s great (both internally and externally) for sore muscles—whether from working out too hard, a long day in the garden, or some heavy lifting around the house. Head for the arnica as soon as you notice your muscles complaining, or better yet, take it preventatively. I often take the homeopathic pellets right away when I know I’ve pushed too hard and that my body will be feeling it the next day.
You can also take a few Arnica pellets before having dental work to help reduce the subsequent soreness and pain. And some open-minded doctors are now recommending it pre and post-surgery.
Basically, Arnica helps your body recover from any sort of physical trauma. It helps bruising, soreness, inflammation and swelling. People have been using it this way for centuries, and now there is some science to back it up. I take it with me every time I travel because you never know when some sort of mishap can happen.
Homeopathic Remedies are NOT the Same as Herbal Remedies
A lot of people get confused and mix up herbal remedies with homeopathic remedies. While both are plant-based, they are actually totally different. And, some homeopathics are actually derived from minerals or even animals.
Herbal remedies are made by the direct use of plant matter. The whole plant or some portion of it can be used dried or fresh and extracted into water for tea, into alcohol, vinegar or glycerine for a tincture (herbal extract), or powdered and put into capsules. Of course, there are many other ways to make herbal medicine, including salves and oils.
Homeopathic remedies are somewhat controversial because they are based on a concept of ‘energetic signature’. The remedies are made by a process of shaking the plant matter in water until it is so diluted that only a molecular imprint remains.
It could be inaccurate to call homeopathic remedies “diluted”, they are actually considered to be ‘potentized’ through the shaking process. So, the more shaking and dilution that happens, the stronger the remedy is.
It can sound a bit woo-woo or out there, reminding me of quantum physics even, but I know that I am only one of millions who have found homeopathic remedies like Arnica to be extremely effective.
Arnica is one of the few homeopathic remedies that works on a more general level—for trauma to the body. Usually, a blend of remedies is prescribed by a homeopathic physician for other sorts of ailments.
I recommend using homeopathic forms of Arnica—rather than an herbal tincture or tea, at least when you are taking it internally. Homeopathic Arnica is safe for almost everyone, whereas the herb can cause allergic reactions or other side effects for some people.
Be sure the product you choose is labeled Arnica montana.
Homeopathic arnica drops or pellets are usually even safe for pets and children. Lower doses are recommended.
Should You Use Arnica Internally or Externally?
The short answer is – both. If you are banged up in any way, apply the cream, gel, or even the herbal tincture to the area. Note: Never apply Arnica to broken skin. If you have cut your skin, you are better off with calendula cream or oil and/or St. John’s Wort oil (another one that is excellent for bruising.)
You will multiply the beneficial effects if you take homeopathic Arnica internally as well.
Arnica can be purchased in various potencies, from 6x to 200c. These numbers and letters refer to the dilution or potency of the arnica. You can also sometimes find it in drops, like a tincture – but make sure it is labeled homeopathic!
I usually like to take 6c or 30c, and I take 2-4 pellets at a time depending on the severity of the injury. For particularly severe ones you can take Arnica every two hours, but in most cases, every four hours is recommended.
Of course, very severe injuries, or ones that don’t respond to home treatments, should be checked out by a medical professional.
If you take the pellets or pills, you will get the best effect by allowing them to dissolve under your tongue. Try not to eat or drink anything else for 10 minutes before or after taking the Arnica. (But if you do, don’t worry, it will still help!)
I keep a little vial of Arnica tucked into my purse, it’s that important to me to have it at all times. Even if I end up also taking ibuprofen or something else for the pain, I like to know that the Arnica is working on an energetic level to help my body recover from a trauma.
It’s available in natural foods stores, herb shops, online, and even in many Walgreens type stores these days. Since it’s relatively inexpensive it’s worth it to add both the gel/cream and the pills to your first aid kit or medicine chest.
Sarah Grace Powers is a certified life coach and EFT Practitioner. She is a ‘dream resuscitator’, helping clients rediscover their passions and reinvent themselves no matter what their age or circumstance. In her previous career she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for over three decades. Find her at holistichotsauce.com.
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