Arnica The Wonder Medicine
Last time we considered basic principles
and the understanding that the symptoms of illness are the healing process of the body and therefore of estimable value.
We also saw that to stimulate this healing process, make it work better and faster, we can use medicines to do this and the
“trick” is to use a medicine that will produce the same symptoms that the patient has.
To make this a little more clear—we
don’t want to produce the same disease, so we would not use what caused the disease. Rather we use something
else that is similar in its effects & that mimics the illness.
In the last article I gave the example
of using bee venom (Apis mell.) to treat a skin eruption that looked like bee stings. It was similar because the same kind
of red, swollen, itchy bumps came up in reaction to eating chicken meat, that is, the eruption from the chicken was like the
eruption from bee stings.
There are hundreds, more than a thousand,
homeopathic medicines and each has known effects that we can use to match up the condition our patient has. Here is another
one you likely have heard of—Arnica montana, the mountain daisy. This popular homeopathic remedy is used primarily for
two conditions—effects of injury and serious infections. Most people have heard of the injury use.
Animals that have been hit by a car,
or kicked by a horse, or fallen from a height, will respond beautifully to this remedy. If your animal is ever injured in
this way you can give a dose of Arnica 30c by mouth and see the rapid improvement that follows.
At this point you may be wondering what
the number following the remedy means (the 30c). Simply put it indicates the “impact” of the medicine but also
tells us how diluted and energized the medicine is. The most common numbers you will see after medicines are 6x, 6c, 30c,
200c, 1M (which is Latin for 1000) and up. Most stores will sell the lower numbers, especially 6c and 30c which are entirely
adequate for your use.
How does the homeopathic veterinarian know
that Arnica is suitable for these conditions? Well of course to some extent it is from experience but the indications for medicines are based on testing
them in healthy people. Here is how it is done: volunteers that, are not ill, take the medicine several times and then report
what changes (symptoms) come up for them. Because the medicines are so diluted, they may have to take them repeatedly to get
an effect or sometimes they will take them in a cruder form, like as an herbal tea. Some information is obtained by involuntary
experiences like being stung by a bee, or bitten by a snake! The changes occurring after using the medicine in the healthy
are compiled in books called materia medica and these are the reference sources that the veterinarian will use in deciding
which medicine is suitable.
So let us go back to Arnica. When it
was tested in people, many reported development of pain in the muscles—they felt very sore as if bruised. Mind you,
the muscles were not really bruised but rather they felt that way from the medicine. It was not difficult for homeopaths
to recognize that this “feeling bruised” was the state the patient experiences after a blow or contusion of the
body. So Arnica has become the first medicine to be used for this kind of injury. You can see that even though the injury
was caused by a kick, for example, we don't treat it by kicking the dog again but rather by giving a medicine that duplicates
the sensation—the sore muscles.
This is wonderful information to have
but let us understand the limitations for the use of this medicine. What was found in testing was that it was the muscles
that were primarily affected. Therefore it is not suitable for injuries to bones, cartilage, or nerves. There are other medicines
better for that. It is really most useful for the effects of injuries to muscles and some of the soft tissues of the body.
Some of the principal uses are:
1. Blows, contusions, muscle injury.
2. Injury to the internal organs (liver,
intestines, lungs, etc.).
3. After birth, soreness of the uterus
(which is very muscular).
4. After dentistry, when there is soreness
of the gums and bleeding that persists.
A peculiar indication for use of this
medicine is that the injured animal is afraid of being touched. This is not surprising, of course, but still not every injured
animal is like this. Some are frightened or aggressive or very subdued. The animal needing Arnica will shrink away from touch
or being approached because they are afraid of being further hurt.
I was talking yesterday to Dr. Audra
MacCorkle, a veterinarian in Los Angeles who founded Veterinarians Without Borders and offers help to the pets of homeless
people. She gave an example of using this medicine. A dog had been hit by a car a couple of days before and the leg was broken
near the hip. This usually would be repaired surgically but the homeless person had no money so she treated it as best she
could—with Arnica. The dog was in pain, pale with shock, depressed and could not rise. She gave a single dose of Arnica
and came back in 20-30 minutes to find the dog beginning to rise, wagging its tail, and obviously much more comfortable. Yes,
the leg still needs to heal but keeping the dog quiet and providing a padded place to lie will allow the fracture to repair
itself with the help of Arnica, and the following remedy Symphytum (from the herb Comfrey and which accelerates the healing
Difficult to believe but Arnica will do
as much to help a dog in this condition as any allopathic drug that could be used. The wonders of homeopathy.