Arnica: The Natural Trauma Remedy

Arnica montana is a perennial herb native to Europe. For hundreds of years, arnica has been used externally for falls, sprains and bruises by mountain tribes around the world. In homeopathy, it is considered one of the greatest trauma remedies and indispensable for the homeopathic first aid kit.

The American variety known as arnica chamissonis has the same medicinal qualities as its European cousins. Arnica has bright yellow flowers and looks like a small daisy. It commonly grows on the cool mountain slopes of Europe, the Andes, Northern Asia and Siberia. In Germany it is called "fallkraut" which means "fall herb". Swiss mountain climbers seek it out to relieve muscular aching after a hard day's climbing.

In homeopathy, arnica is the remedy of choice for falls, sprains, blows, wounds, fractures, and soft tissue injury. It reduces and prevents pain, bleeding, bruising and swelling, and accelerates healing.

Dr. Asa Hershoff, in his excellent book, Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing, (North Atlantic, 1996) details the uses of arnica. It is the first remedy for muscular sprains, strains, and bruising. It is excellent for soreness after sleeping on a hard bed or soreness after exercise. It is recommended before and after operations and dental work. After childbirth, it speeds healing of bruised and swollen tissues. It is helpful after eye injuries, head injuries and concussions. It is also used for mental shock after injury, loss or grief.

Arnica is one of the only remedies that can be used for the after effects of past trauma, especially if the person has never been well since the injury.

Homeopathic remedies are usually taken as pellets made from lactose or in liquid form. In the case of arnica, it should be taken every ten minutes until the situation stabilizes, then four to six times a day. It is entirely safe for children and infants.

Homoeopathic arnica is available in gels, creams and ointments, but these are best combined with oral forms of the remedy. The herbal tincture (the herb preserved in alcohol) should never be applied to an open wound or taken internally. The diluted homeopathic form of arnica is the safest bet.

A German homeopathic combination remedy, known as Traumeel, applied externally has proven effective for the treatment of sprained ankles. Ten days after the sprain, 24 of 33 patients given Traumeel were pain-free, versus 13 out of 33 given a placebo. Traumeel is a combination of 14 homeopathic remedies including arnica. Traumeel is also an excellent internal trauma remedy useful for any type of injury or fall.