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Arnica: The Homeopathic First Aid

A few years ago, I attempted a really foolish thing.  While trying to coax my cat from the top of our roof; standing on a rickety wooden ladder; barefooted; saucer of milk in my right hand and reaching for the cat with my left … I took a serious fall.  I had the cat in one hand and not wanting to crush my kitty,  managed to twist my body so that I would not land on her or hit my head on the saltillo tile in our atrium.  In doing this magnificent feat I landed hard on my right side, twisting my right leg, ankle and foot.  I could feel nothing for the first couple of hours and then the pain came!!!!  I couldn’t tell if I had broken anything or not.

Surprisingly I broke nothing, but I was told I would be on crutches for weeks and be badly bruised and swollen.  After returning home from the hospital, I had remembered that my Grandmother had a “magic” cream for twisted limbs and bruises, Arnica.

Ask any homeopath what to do for traumatic injuries – sprains, muscle strains, bruises, fractures, surgical incision and you are likely to hear Arnica ointments extolled.  The active chemicals in this plant reduce swelling, decrease pain, and act as antibiotics.  It’s believed that the plant contains derivatives of thymol, which seem to have anti-inflammatory effect. An article from the New York Times: “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet: Arnica for Pain Relief” by Anahad O’Conner states,

“Either way, scientists have found good evidence that it works. One randomized study published in 2007 looked at 204 people with osteoarthritis in their hands and found that an arnica gel preparation worked just as well as daily ibuprofen, and with minimal side effects. Another study of 79 people with arthritis of the knee found that when patients used arnica gel twice daily for three to six weeks, they experienced significant reductions in pain and stiffness and had improved function.”

Arnica {Arnica Montana} is commonly called leopards’ bane. Goddess knows if it actually repels big cats – I wouldn’t try it.  But it has certainly attracted major interest from athletes, who have made Arnica ointment one of the best-selling homeopathic topical treatments.  Like so many other alternative medicines, Arnica has deep roots in traditional herbal medicine.  A two-foot perennial native to Southern Europe east to the Ukraine, its dried, yellow daisy-like flowers have been used topically to treat skin problems for centuries, primarily bruises, sprains, tendonitis, and muscle aches.  To a lesser extent, the plant was also ingested.  The German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang Goethe [1749-1832] reportedly drank Arnica teas to treat his angina.

To my amazement, I was on crutches for about a week, had no bruising, and only minimal swelling around my right knee.  I swear by Arnica!  You rub the ointment on and you get less pain and swelling with a speedier recovery!

Blessings Be, Magikal Martha

Magikal Fare

Arnica is recommended for external use only. Do not use Arnica internally unless prescribed by a licensed Physician. The plant is poisonous to animals and, if swallowed, it can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, cardiac arrest, and death.

Arnica gels or creams can cause allergic reactions in some people, but it is generally safe when used topically. However, it should never be rubbed on broken or damaged skin, and it should only be ingested when in a heavily diluted, homeopathic form.

Magikal Abilities

RULER: Sun

TYPE: Daisy Family

MAGICKAL FORM: Money, Protection, Strength, Courage

Arnica was dedicated to Freya and was one of the most important herbs associated with the feast of St. John. Alongside St. John's Wort, it was an obligatory part of any summer solstice ritual. Arnica was also believed to have magical powers that could influence the weather and used to be burned during thunderstorms. A German rhyme goes:

"Set arnica alight, set arnica alight; Make the thunderstorm take flight"

References: http://www.webmd.com; well.blogs.nytimes.com

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Tammye McDuff is Editor-in-Chief for Bellflower Bulletin; Senior Journalist & Copywriter for Homes & Living eZine, and iSocial Media developer. Among past credentials include the Festival of Films; L.A. Examiner; Perils of Cyber Dating; and The Boston Globe Contributing articles to Pagan Pages; Spirit One Magazine and Sage Woman while serving as Senior Journalist for Downey Connect Magazine. Summer 2013, you can find her on HubPages; as a guest blogger and creating content for Your Wellness Guide eZine and Demand Media Studios

Comments

  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez Saturday, 13 July 2013

    Thank you Tammye for the reminder to keep Arnica in the house! I will put it on my list. Do you have a particular brand you would recommend? :)

  • Tammye McDuff
    Tammye McDuff Tuesday, 16 July 2013

    Good Morning Paola! I purchase Bioron Arnicare from my local Natureway Food Store. But any natural food store will carry it. You can also make your own. Here is the link on the 'how-to'

    http://frugallysustainable.com/2013/06/how-to-make-a-arnica-salve-the-perfect-herbal-sore-muscle-rub/

  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez Tuesday, 16 July 2013

    Thank you for the recommendation and the link. I will follow up on these right away. :)

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Tuesday, 23 July 2013

    I use arnica all the time, but never took time to learn about it's history, or even see how beautiful it is when it grows. Thank you.

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