Arnica: The wonder medicine

August 8, 2012

Dental, Healing, Health, Homeopathy, Injury, Pain, Pets

Arnica is, indeed, another shining example of the wonders of homeopathy.

by Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn — 

Last issue, we considered basic principles and the understanding that the symptoms of illness are part of the body’s healing process and, therefore, of estimable value. We also saw that we can use medicines to stimulate this healing process — to make it work better and faster.

The trick is to use a medicine that will produce the same symptoms the patient is experiencing. Of course, we don’t want to produce the same disease, so we wouldn’t use what caused it; rather, we would use something that mimics the illness and has similar effects.

In the last article, I gave the example of using bee venom (Apis mellifica) to treat a skin eruption that looked like bee stings. The same kind of red, swollen, itchy bumps produced by bee stings came up in a reaction to eating chicken meat. Since the symptoms were similar, bee venom was used to treat the eruptions caused by the chicken.

There are more than a thousand homeopathic medicines, and each has effects that can be used to match the condition of a patient. You likely have heard of Arnica montana, or mountain daisy, which is a popular homeopathic remedy used primarily for two conditions: the effects of injury and serious infections.

How does the homeopathic doctor or veterinarian know which conditions Arnica is suitable for? To some extent, he knows from experience, but the indications for medicines are based on testing them first in healthy people. In the testing process, volunteers who are not ill take the medicine several times and then report which changes (symptoms) arise. Because the medicines are so diluted, they may have to take them repeatedly to get an effect, or sometimes they will be taken in a cruder form, like an herbal tea.

Some information is obtained by involuntary experiences like a bee sting or a snakebite. The changes that occur in the healthy person or animal after using the medicine are compiled in books called Materia Medica, which are the reference sources the veterinarian or homeopath uses to decide which medicine is most suitable.

When Arnica was tested on people, many reported developing muscle pain — they felt very sore, as if bruised. The muscles were not really bruised, but felt that way from the medicine. Homeopaths recognized that this bruised feeling was the state a patient experiences after a blow or contusion to the body.

Animals that have been hit by a car, kicked by a horse or fallen from a height respond beautifully to this remedy. If your animal is ever injured in one of these ways, a dose of Arnica 30c by mouth is recommended, and a rapid improvement will follow.

Arnica, therefore, has become the first medicine to be used for this kind of injury. For example, if an animal’s injury was caused by a kick, it isn’t treated by a repeated kicking, but rather by administering a medicine that duplicates the sensation of sore muscles.

Arnica 6c and 30c are generally available in stores. You may wonder what the number following the remedy means. Simply put, it indicates the “impact” of the medicine, but it also indicates how diluted and energized the medicine is. The most common numbers after medicines are 6x, 6c, 30c, 200c, 1M (which is Latin for 1,000) and up. Most stores sell the lower numbers,  which are entirely adequate for your use.

This is great information, but we need to understand the limitations of this medicine’s use as well. Testing showed that since the muscles and soft tissues were primarily affected, Arnica would not be suitable for injuries to bones, cartilage or nerves. (Other medicines are better for that.)

Some principle uses for Arnica are: blows, contusions, muscle injury; injury to the internal organs (liver, intestines, lungs, etc.); after birth for soreness of the uterus (which is very muscular); and after dentistry, when soreness of the gums and bleeding persists.

A particular indication for use of this medicine is when the injured animal is afraid of being touched. While this may not be surprising, not every injured animal reacts the same way — some are frightened, aggressive or subdued. The animal needing Arnica shrinks away from touch or approach because they are afraid of being further hurt.

Dr. Audra MacCorkle, a veterinarian in Los Angeles who founded Veterinarians Without Borders and offers help to the pets of homeless people, gave a good example of using this medicine. A dog had been hit by a car a couple of days prior and its leg was broken near the hip. The dog was in pain, pale with shock, depressed and could not rise.

Typically, such an injury would be repaired surgically, but the homeless person had no money. Dr. MacCorkle treated the dog as best she could — with Arnica. She administered a single dose and returned a half hour later to find the dog beginning to rise, wagging its tail and feeling much more comfortable. Its leg still needed to heal, but keeping the dog quiet and providing a padded place to rest enabled the fracture to essentially repair itself. It may be hard to believe, but Arnica will do as much to help a dog in this condition as any allopathic drug.

Arnica is, indeed, another shining example of the wonders of homeopathy.


Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D., is a doctor of veterinary medicine with a graduate degree in immunology. He had a practice in Eugene, Ore., for 20 years utilizing homeopathy and nutrition in treatment. Since 1985, he has trained other veterinarians in the use of homeopathy and teaches at American Medical College of Homeopathy. He and his wife, Susan, are authors of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs and Cats. or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 3, June/July 2008.

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