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Arnica to Heal Bruising


Arnica (Arnica montana and Arnica fulgens) is an herb that grows in the mountainous areas of Europe, Siberia, and Canada. It also grows in high altitudes of the north-western United States. The rhizome (root) and flowers are used in herbal medicine to treat swelling and bruising.

Flowers are harvested when they are at the peak of blooming, and the rhizomes in autumn, when nutrients and healing constituents are stored in the roots for winter.


Arnica creams, ointments, gels and tinctures are the usual forms. Homeopathic “pillules” and gels are also common forms of the herb. Arnica is applicable in the following situations and injuries.

* Local trauma (bumps, bruises, swelling)

Sprains, bruises, and other blunt trauma to the body can be treated with arnica, provided the skin is not broken. It is especially effective when swelling is present. Arnica moves fluid through tissues, keeping it from accumulating, and improves the blood flow to the injured area.

Prevention of excessive swelling can prevent bruising, and enhanced circulation promotes healing of the injury. Arnica also helps with muscle pain, and a lotion rubbed into the sore areas can be very effective. Some women have reported great success with homeopathic arnica in the reduction of post-partum swelling.

* Post-surgical healing

Arnica has been reported to increase the reabsorption of blood in cases of internal bleeding. It is anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce the swelling often associated with surgical wounds. Internal, homeopathic remedies are the best for post-surgical treatment, as rubbing anything on a surgical wound that is not directed by a physician could have adverse effects.

* Shock

Homeopathic arnica remedies have been used successfully to alleviate the effects of shock.

Cautions with Arnica Use

This article has several references to using arnica by mouth, but the only time arnica should be used internally is in the form of homeopathic remedies (pillules or liquids). The arnica used in the manufacture of the homeopathic substances is diluted to the point that no actual arnica remains in the remedy.

The actual herb should never be taken internally; it is considered poisonous. Using teas or tinctures by mouth can result in intestinal bleeding and cramps. It should also not be used on broken skin, as dermatitis can result.

When used with appropriate caution, arnica is a valuable herb. Homeopathic arnica can be carried in the pocket or purse and taken sublingually (under the tongue) or applied to the knees and foreheads of small children (who always seem to be falling and bumping various parts of their bodies!). The tincture can also be carried for topical use. Small children seem to benefit particularly from arnica remedies.

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