Posted by: Avivah | March 19, 2010

Arnica – a must have remedy

A few weeks ago an older woman fell down in front of a store I had just walked into.  My ds11 rushed in to tell me that my dd15 was outside helping her, so I went out to see what the situation was.  The woman had stumbled over the cement parking divider and fallen forward, hitting her head hard.  As soon as I saw her head (bleeding and a large lump rising fast), I started rummaging around in my purse for my vial of arnica, THE homeopathic remedy I don’t leave home without.  Unfortunately my kids had given some to my baby a couple of days before and put it back in the wrong place in my purse; fortunately there were still huge mounds of snow in the parking lot so after helping her to her car and cleaning up her head, I was able to make her a makeshift ice pack by ripping up a plastic shopping bag and tying it around some snow that I packed together.  But I felt frustrated not to have been able to find the arnica when I needed it.

Yesterday I was listening to a cassette and the speaker mentioned that arnica stops bleeding – I’ve heard this before a number of times and every time forgotten about that aspect of arnica’s healing qualities, and I mentally resolved to fix this little fact into my mind this time.  A half hour later I was picking up something from a friend’s home and in the few minutes I was there, her 9 yo daughter cut her head badly when she fell while outside playing with my dd9.  When I saw her, blood was gushing all over her head and onto the ground and I couldn’t tell what the size of the cut was, or even where on her head it was.

Fortunately this time the arnica in my purse was back where it was supposed to be and I had the timely reminder about it being effective in stopping bleeding (though I would have given it anyway because of the blow to the head and issue of swelling), so I quickly gave her about six or seven pellets.  Her father asked me what I was giving her, and I told him it was a remedy for shock and trauma and would stop the bleeding and reduce any swelling.  Cuts to the head always bleed profusely and scare the living daylights out of parents since it looks so alarming, but within five minutes the bleeding had totally stopped.  (It was probably less but I wasn’t keeping an eye on my watch.)

I wanted to give her a second dose after ten or fifteen minutes but by then the emergency medical volunteers had arrived (in a case like this it’s recommended to give a dose every fifteen minutes for an hour).  As I was watching the little girl getting more and more ‘shocky’ looking (pale, staring, looking faint), I knew she needed more arnica, but the medics were taking care of her and it wasn’t appropriate for me to be involved at that point.   I did mention to her mother after she was taken to the emergency room that if they could pick some up at the health food store, it would be a good thing to give her a few doses over the next day for the trauma. Fortunately she only needed one stitch and was back home a few hours later.

Arnica is a must have remedy.  It’s the only homeopathic remedy that I buy two of – one for my house, one for my purse; there are so many situations that it can be helpful in, and having it immediately can allay all kinds of bumps, bruises, and trauma.  My ten month old baby recently was at the stage of learning to pull himself up and then falling over backwards hard – he quickly learned to recognize the arnica vial and as soon as he sees it, he stops crying immediately and his eyes brighten up while he waits for me to give him some (it’s in tiny sugar pellets).  I also bought some arnica flowers to make a muscle rub, but have yet to get around to that project.

Something I especially appreciate about homeopathic remedies is that it’s very easy to get kids to take them since they taste so good.  This was very important at a time like today, when my friend’s daughter had no idea what I was giving her and had blood running all over as I gave it to her – being able to tell her it tasted like candy made it much easier.

Eventually I’d like to learn lots more about homeopathic remedies so I can effectively use a wide variety of them, but for now arnica is a very useful remedy with many day to day applications – any bumps, bruises, falls, or cuts.  When my oldest son was 6 he was hit by a bus and thrown across the street (the passengers on the bus thought he was killed but miraculously he only suffered a cracked collar bone), I took him to my pediatrician a day or two after the accident to be sure everything was okay (he had been in the emergency room overnight for examination and supervision immediately after he was hit, so it wasn’t like I waited two days after a major accident to wander in to a doctor).  She was a Russian doctor who took one look at him and told me, “He’s in shock.  Give him some arnica immediately!”   At that time I didn’t know what it was, but in the last ten years, I’ve learned!  (She also taught me about garlic oil for ear pain.)

It’s ironic that using arnica sounds like something new-agey but it’s actually something that was a well-known remedy for a long time. A few months ago my dh bought a comic book written over a half century ago (I think it was Little Nemo), and when someone in the book got hurt, my kids got a kick out of reading that arnica was recommended!

I usually buy arnica itself, but last time I was at the health food store they had a new product, which is what I used today.  It’s called Arnicare Trauma, and contains arnica, bellis, and ledum; it’s made by Boiron.  It’s not better than arnica alone, but the formulation is slightly different to address a slightly different concern.  If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with plain arnica.  One vial of a homeopathic remedy costs about $7 and is worth every penny.

(This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.)




  1. We love arnica, too. I was recently told by a friend who is much more knowledgeable than I on the subject of homeopathy that the combo remedies can be “too hard on the Vital Force”. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my Traumeel tablets for pain after giving birth, though!

    • Hi, Elisheva, and welcome! I don’t know enough about homeopathy to truly understand what being too hard on the vital force means! But now that I’ve heard the term, I’m sure it will come up at some point soon and trigger some new learning opportunities for me. 🙂

  2. Interesting. I’d never heard of arnica being a homoeopathic remedy, but my mother always had a tub of it (as a cream) to put on bumps. I should dig mine out and check it’s still good.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I make an infused oil with arnica that we keep in the fridge for bruises. The cold oil feels good going on and you don’t have to rub hard on an already hurt area. Absolutely essential in a home with growing (falling) kids!

    • do you share this recipe on your website orcan you share it here? Thanks, sounds interesting.

  4. Arnica is amazing. My friends can’t understand how i feel so good after birth, and I attribute a lot of it to my use of arnica to reduce swelling, etc.
    I never thought of giving the pellets to my babies as I’m nervous that they’d swallow them instead of letting them dissolve, so for closed wounds (head bumps for example) I use arnica cream (which I was pleasantly surprised to find in Rite Aid). At what age do you start giving the pellets?

  5. […] Arnica – a must have remedy « OCEANS OF JOY […]

  6. You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?

    • I’ve used it extensively myself, and there’s also information online or in homeopathic books about it. It’s a very valuable remedy to have on hand.

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