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General Health

Arnica: A Medicine Cabinet Must-Have

Have the homeopathic remedy arnica on hand for injuries, trauma, and exhaustion.

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Health is complete homeostasis, when all parts of the body are functioning harmoniously. Mental, physical, and emotional levels are all balanced. There is complete harmony throughout the body on every level—mind, body, and spirit.

Homeostasis is a difficult level for most of us to achieve. It includes happiness, healthy enthusiasm, and limited negative reactivity to stress and adverse environmental circumstances. When we’re not in this state, our immune system, which can be thought of as a boundary surrounding us, breaks down, and disease can begin to manifest.

Homeopathy’s Role in Homeostasis

The founder of homeopathy is the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, MD, who became a medical doctor in 1779 in Leipzig, Germany. At that time, popular methods of treatment included bloodletting, cupping, using leeches, and ingesting large doses of chemical agents like mercury or arsenic.

Hahnemann was disappointed with these methods, realizing that they caused more harm than good. He decided to quit Western medicine, and after much research, created an alternative system of medicine that he called homeopathy.

The principle behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” A very small dose of an agent is given that will cause similar symptoms to the illness, and thereby stimulate the body’s own healing response to an ailment. It became a popular alternative at the time, and today it remains highly sought after by many people worldwide.

Arnica: No. 1 Recommended Remedy

If you’re new to homeopathy, a good place to start is with arnica (Arnicamontana). In fact, it is the No. 1 remedy I would recommend to have in your medicine cabinet. Arnica is a member of the Compositae family—the same botanical family as the daisy. This homeopathic staple is a perennial herb that grows in mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere including the United States and Canada.

Arnica is an ancient remedy that is still highly effective in the modern world. Its value in relationship to wounds was known to the ancient Greeks, who found this herb to be helpful if someone had slipped or fallen and bruised themselves. They would rub the herb directly onto the skin where the bruise appeared, and sometimes brewed it as a tea.

This is the first remedy to reach for in most cases of injuries. Keep this handy if you have active children, as bumps and bruises always follow them around! You can use this remedy directly on the skin in a cream or gel form, but do not use it on open wounds. Arnica is also useful for shock of any muscular injury. It is especially valuable for bruising, or when you feel physically or emotionally exhausted after a rough day at work. A few drops of arnica oil in a warm bath will help to wash all of those feelings away.

This remedy not only covers the everyday bumps and bruises, but also the more extensive injuries from surgery, labor-
and-delivery, and dental work. Many plastic surgeons use it in their practices. A dose given before surgery and taken every 3–4 hours after surgery speeds up recovery.

When to Take Arnica

Often after an accident, a person may want to be left alone and say, “Don’t touch me, I’m fine!” This is an “arnica state,” from a homeopathic point of view.

Here are some situations in which arnica may be indicated, and signs and symptoms to look for before you reach for this remedy:

  • The patient is morose, wants to be left alone and in peace, and is unwilling to be spoken to.
  • Pain is intolerable, and there is great fear of being touched or approached.
  • An inability to concentrate and an aversion to any kind of effort, even talking.
  • Loss of normal self-confidence.
  • When a seriously ill person states, “I’m alright. Why bother with a doctor?”
  • Trauma or injury— big or small—to children, adults, or animals.
  • Shock.
  • After surgery and dental work.
  • After hard labor and childbirth.
  • After running a marathon, a long bike ride, or other heavy exercise.
  • Feeling beaten up mentally and emotionally.
  • Feeling as if you have been an emotional punching bag for someone, such as a boss, partner, child, or parent.
  • Accidents, big or small, from tripping or falling to being in a car accident.
  • Injury to any muscle with bruising.
  • Feelings of fear after shock.
  • Being startled awake from sleep after a shock, accident, or fright.
  • Feeling better when lying down, or lying with the head low or outstretched.
  • Feeling worse at rest or at night.
  • Feeling worse after drinking alcohol.

Pick Your Potency

Usually for a minor trauma, start with a low dose, and increase the potency for more severe traumas. Taking arnica internally is best as it works more quickly, but having the cream, gel, and oil is handy, too.


  • 12C
  • 30C
  • 200C
  • 1M
  • 10M

Cream or Gel

  • Apply daily as needed.


  • Great in a warm bath, especially if you have sore muscles—just a few drops!

A Case Study

by Dorothy Shepherd

The author of several books on homeopathy, including Homeopathy for the First Aider, Dorothy Shepherd recalls how arnica helped to heal a serious injury

Ben was a 12-year-old boy at a school camp whose foot was struck by a brick and badly lacerated. He was taken to the local hospital, X-rayed, given six stitches, and kept in bed for a week. When I saw him 10 days after the accident, his injured foot was still nearly twice the size of the normal one; he was unable to put pressure on it. The adhesive bandages, which had been used as a dressing, had allowed the stitches to become infected (septic), which accounted for some of the pain. After a good soak with calendula, the septic condition improved. With arnica 3 times daily, a week later he was cured and discharged from the hospital. This was someone who was unable to move for 10 days, and began walking two days after the first dose of arnica! How long would it have been before he could have walked if left to the standard or orthodox methods of treatment?