Would you like to heal more quickly from sprains, strains, and bruises? Would you like to do so without side effects from medication like an upset stomach? If so then homeopathic medicine, Arnica in particular, is a great addition to your first aid kit.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that stimulates our body’s self-healing abilities. Most conventional forms of medicine, such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, suppress the body’s natural responses. Homeopathic medicines are incredibly small doses of different plants, minerals, and other substances that work somewhat like a vaccine to promote healing. Taken orally or applied topically or both, they promote healing by triggering the body’s self healing mechanisms so that pain, inflammation, and other symptoms can be reduced.
The homeopathic remedy, Arnica Montana is very useful for bruises, strains, and sprains. It can be taken both internally and externally. Internally Arnica comes in the form of small sugar pills that are dissolved under the tongue. These pills need to be taken at least fifteen minutes before or after eating for optimum effect. Externally Arnica comes in the form of a nearly odorless witch hazel gel or a petroleum ointment. For most minor injuries a topical application should work. For deeper injuries both oral and topical administration is optimal. If there is any broken skin like road rash I prefer the ointment as it will not sting, otherwise I prefer the gel because it contains no pore clogging petroleum.
Homeopathic medicines are easy to obtain. They are found at health food stores, some drug stores, by mail order, and on the Internet. They come in different strengths represented by numbers such as 6x, 30x, and 100c. The x dilution is a factor of ten and the c dose is a factor of 100. So the dose of a 100c would be more dilute than a 6x dose. Unlike in allopathic medicine a more dilute dose is seen as more powerful. Some doses, such as 1M (million), are best reserved for classical homeopathic practitioners. Such doses are usually not available in health food stores. For oral use for acute injuries you are most likely to find the 30x potency in health food stores. If other potencies are available it would be wise to ask your retailer for advice. The topical gels and ointments come in potencies 3x and 6x. Follow the package directions on what you purchase for dosing information.
The brand I have used the most and had good results with is Traumeel. It is available both as internal tablets or liquid and external gel or ointment. Traumeel contains several homeopathic remedies besides Arnica for a more broad-spectrum effect. It costs more than plain Arnica, but I feel the efficacy is worth the price. Heel/BHI, the makers of Traumeel have done clinical trials proving its effectiveness. Some of the studies of Arnica alone have been inconclusive or simply shown not effective. It is about $15 for either the gel/ointment or the internal tablets purchased from a natural foods retailer.
Because homeopathic remedies work in a different way from other oral antinflamatories it is possible to use say both Traumeel and Ibuprofen at the same time. The problem with such combinations is that you won’t know what is doing what either in a positive or negative way. So at first it is best to use the homeopathic remedy and wait for an hour or so before adding in other medicines. Hopefully you will be feeling better and won’t want other assistance.
So what are you waiting for? The next time you are at a natural foods store pick up a tube of Traumeel gel, so that you can be prepared for your next fall. Quicker recovery means you can get out sooner for more.
The Disclaimer: Although chronic ailments may be addressed homeopathically such treatment requires in depth knowledge that is best addressed by a classical homeopath, someone who has had special study and training. While homeopathy is powerful medicine it is not a substitute for conventional medical care like orthopedists, emergency room visits, or even a call to 911. So use common sense. If minor injuries are not healing or if you crack your helmet on a rollerski fall please contact appropriate medical authorities. This article is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified health care practitioner.
Jim Damman is a former Michigan Cup racer who skied for the University of Michigan Nordic Ski team. He now practices Classical Five Element Acupuncture in Loveland, Colorado. He may be contacted through his web site at http://www.zeroacupuncture.com.