By far the most popular remedy I dispensed in my homeopathic career was Arnica. The humble little European plant, Arnica Montana (most commonly known as Leopardsbane or Wolfsbane) with it’s pretty yellow flower is a mainstay in both homeopathic and herbal medicine, commonly used for bruising, inflammation, aches and pains. It can be used for so much more though!
Arnica is a particularly wonderful remedy for pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, providing it is used when the symptom picture is a true match.
In homeopathy Arnica is the number one “trauma” remedy and is therefore indicated when:
- The skin in unbroken
- The area is heavily bruised
- There is an accompanying sore, lame, bruised feeling
- Retention of urine in mother or baby after the birth
- A wish to “be alone” and “not touched by anyone” during labour
- Extreme tiredness/exhaustion
- Pelvic aching caused by SPD or the baby being deeply engaged
- Emotional trauma
- Haemorrhage of any sort (though for PPH secale is the remedy of choice usually)
Ideally you will match three or more symptoms – e.g: do not give solely for bruising unless there is an accompanying “sore/lame” feeling and physical exhaustion.
Note: Arnica is NOT indicated for post operative healing (such as a Caesarean), in this instance one would be better using Hypericum (in potency) and Calendula (in tincture).
Based upon the above, self prescribe Arnica when the symptoms fit. You can take Arnica before labour and after labour in the following manner:
Ideally homeopathic remedies will be taken in powder or poppy seed sized granule form dissolved in water, this is the way Samuel Hahnemann (the inventor of Homeopathy) intended them to be dispensed.
You can order Arnica 200c GRANULES from www.helios.co.uk (personally I find it far easier to telephone than navigate their website, just make sure you quote you would like granules!). If you only have one of the hard ball shaped sugar pills, take two teaspoons, place ONE pillule only (don’t worry about the instructions on the packet!) between the two teaspoons and gently crush together to form a powder.
- Take a sachet/pillule/granule and dissolve in a 500ml bottle of water. Shake vigorously.
- Sip the water over the course of the day, avoiding sipping immediately before or after brushing your teeth, drinking tea or coffee or eating strong flavours such as curry or garlic, in particular sip the water any time you feel achy/ tired or incredibly emotional as a result of some shock/bad news. Each time you take a sip shake the bottle a little. Aim to leave 1 inch of water in the bottle at the end of the day.
- On day two, refill the bottle to the top using tap or bottled water (either is fine) and repeat the instructions above.
- Continue refilling and sipping the water over the course of 7 days. Storing the bottle in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight and any strong odours such as aromatherapy oils.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 – this time using a different sachet – each week, until you no longer feel the need for the Arnica. In this case discontinue treatment. DO NOT CONTINUE TO TAKE THE ARNICA IF YOU NOTICE ANY IMPROVEMENT – no matter how small! (even a 1% improvement is grounds to halt treatment – again, ignore the directions on the packets.
NOTE: Homeopathy has no “best before date” so you can safely ignore the “BBE” stickers on any homeopathic product!
Arnica can also be used prophylactically during labour with no symptoms present. In this case follow step 1 above and slowly sip the water throughout your labour, it is possible to top up the bottle with tap water if you are nearing the end, just make sure you always leave an inch before adding new water and shake vigorously. Begin in early labour and sip until the baby is delivered.
FOR USE WITH NEWBORNS
Namely for retention of urine.
Follow all steps above with cooled boiled water. The remedy may be administered to the baby by dropping one or two drops into their mouth or rubbed with a moistened clean cotton wool bud. If the mother is breastfeeding she can moisten her nipples/areola with the medicated water before a feed. Some homeopaths believe the remedies can be passed through the mother’s breastmilk (though personally I am not one of them).
If treatment is needed in an emergency one granule can be tipped into the baby’s mouth dry, although it is always preferable to administer in water.
NOTE: this document may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, unless prior permission has been granted.
Sarah is a qualified homeopath, having spent 4 yrs training at the prestigious Allen College of Homoeopathy in Essex, she graduated with a diploma in Classical Homeopathy in 2006.