I have to say, this is a really interesting plant. Early in my career, Arnica career was really popular to help heal bruises and sprains, and frankly, I thought it was a load of rubbish. People raved about it and for whatever reason, I just did not buy that this camomile relative could really speed the healing of torn muscles and joints. Honestly, I put it in the same class as the million products that claim to contain Aloe vera. That is to say, I did not take it seriously.
However, in later years, I began to read what the Eclectic physicians had to say about it. To read their accounts, it was a miracle worker. You applied it to a wounded part, and, mysteriously and magically, healing occurred. They spoke so highly of it, I had no choice but to look into it. To my surprise, it really does inspire the body to pretty remarkable healing.
The Eclectics used it internally, but, recent research reveals it may damage the liver. So, at the moment, we only use it topically.
Chapter from my PhD Thesis
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Part Used: Flowers
In A Word: Accident plant
Uses: Used topically to speed healing from a traumatic injury, to reduce pain, and in chronic musculoskeletal pain
Arnica is an ancient European treatment for bruises, sprains and muscle aches. In the old days the plant was ground and applied to any wound that needed healing. Today, it is usually used in the form of creams or tinctures, which are applied directly to the site of the injury. Arnica users swear by it for all those occasions when bruising and musculo-skeletal damage occurs or when it is a chronic problem.
Lloyd, in his ‘History of Medicinal Plants’, had a great deal to say about arnica. His statements make it clear arnica has been used in acute musculo-skeletal damage for some time: “All parts of this plant, Arnica montana, were popular remedies in Germany at a very early period. The early botanists, such as Matthiolus (414), Gesner (264) and Clusius (153), had a knowledge of its medicinal qualities, as used by the common people. Franz Joel (341), of Greifswald, Germany, expressly recommended it in the 16th century. The herb was recognised in the London Pharmacopeia, 1788, but fell into disuse, regaining in later years a position as an application in the form of a tincture for bruises, sprains, etc., in which direction it is yet commended in both domestic and professional modern literature.”
Though long used to heal accidental injury, arnica was also well used in pain coming from chronic problems. Doctor Scudder had this to say of it in 1874: “I have frequently prescribed it for lame back, back ache, and feelings of debility, soreness, etc, in the small of the back. It is only useful in those cases where there is feebleness, with deficient circulation; but in these the influence is direct and permanent.”
Dr. Webster, writing in 1898, added more to this subject: “The place for arnica in affections of the muscles is in the treatment of the painful condition of these organs following sprains. Wherever a muscle has been subjected to over-strain from any cause it is the appropriate remedy, and probably as reliable a one as we have, though not always effective. Pain and soreness of the shoulders or other parts of the body, due to injuries or strains should suggest it. Scudder prescribes it (Specific Medication) in lame back accompanied with feeling of debility and soreness in the lumbar region.”
Hughes highly lauds the action of arnica upon the muscular tissues. He refers to its action in myalgia, and recommends it highly here. Among other special uses he refers to pleurodynia resulting from over-exertion as a place for its exhibition.
Reviewing the history makes it clear that when muscles, joints and bones were damaged in accidents, or were producing pain chronically, arnica was one option. Doctor Webster makes an accurate observation. It is effective in some cases and not so effective in others.
On the scientific front, research has revealed there is a scientific basis for the activities described in the previous centuries. It has been found to contain a collection of sesquiterpene lactones, which include helenalin, dihydrohelenalin, arnifolin, and arnicolide and are thought to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory action. Both helenalin and dihydrohelenalin have been found to reduce edema (swelling) and inflammation. When one has an injury, the site quickly becomes swollen and painful. Arnica has been shown to reduce this inflammation, thereby speeding the healing process and reducing discomfort.
Science has also revealed that Arnica contains liver toxic compounds! This means that it should only be used externally and should not be used internally. Indeed, practitioners who work with it warn that it should not be used on broken skin as these compounds can be absorbed through the broken tissues. This agent is strictly for external application.
Contemporary practitioners find that in both traumatic injury and chronic conditions, if pain is coming from the joints, muscles, and bones, Arnica is more than a reasonable option. It works in most cases and it works rather quickly. The key is applying a reasonably strong tincture or cream and applying it regularly. It is remarkably effective in lower back pain and is used by people unable to tolerate the oral medications often prescribed for chronic back pain. It should never be taken internally or applied to broken skin!
History: Ancient European treatment for bruises, sprains, and muscle aches
Science: Contains a collection of anti-inflammatory compounds
Practitioners’ opinion: Good option for joint, muscle and bone pain when used regularly
Chapter from My Phd Thesis
Significant phytochemicals include arnidol, arnisterol, a stragalin, inulin, phytosterols, and essential oils. (8)
Arnica montana is an old European medicine mentioned by the early botanists Matthiolus, Gesner and Clusius. In 1678 Arnica was introduced as an alternative to Cinchona in the treatment of fevers. Collin of Vienna reported a thousand patients in the Pazman Hospital cured of intermittent fevers with the administration of the flowers. The herb was recognised in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1788 but eventually fell into disuse. Later, tincture of arnica became popular as an application for bruises and sprains.
In America , Arnica montana was official in all the early editions of the United States Pharmacopoeia though a divergence appears in regards to the part of the plant used. The earliest editions list the plant. The 1840 edition mentions the root and the herb. The 1850 edition lists the flowers and from this date forward only the flowers are mentioned. In 1860 the drug went from the secondary list to the primary list and was an official drug through 1910. The Eclectics always used the flower.
Eclectic uses (1–7)
Diuretic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, in small doses it accelerates the pulse, increases perspiration, excites the flow of urine, stimulant in typhoid fever, stimulant where grave disease requires a stimulant, stimulant to the spinal nervous system, an application for any lame part, stimulant to the skin, promotes absorption and nutritive processes which leads to local healing.
“Muscular soreness and pain from strains or over-exertion; advanced stage of disease, with marked enfeeblement, weak circulation, and impaired spinal innervation; embarrassed respiration; lack of control over urine and feces; sleeplessness from impeded respiration, and dull pracordial pain from ‘heart-strain;’ muscular pain and soreness when the limbs are moved; tensive backache, as if bruised or strained, cystitis, with bruised feeling in bladder, or from a fall or blow; headache, with tensive, bruised feeling and pain on movement; hematuria, with dull, aching lumbar pain, or from over-exertion. All cases of debility with enfeebled circulation.” (4)
Typhoid fever, adynamic fevers, asthenic forms of dropsy, malaria, intermittent fevers, nyctolopia, amaruosis, chlorosis, gout, every disease where there is debility, torpor or inactivity of function, paralytic states of the orifices without inflammation, especially of the elderly, advanced diseases with marked general enfeeblement, impairment of innervation, weak circulation, tendency towards permanent prostration, inflammation of any organ from traumatic origins, severe injury, with fever, or in surgical fever, where there has been shock and general prostration, cases of severe cutting operations with destruction of muscular tissues, low fevers caused by nervous failure, depression and debility in severe, protracted fevers where the exhaustion results from loss of nerve force and where there is marked depression, excessive night sweats, colliquative diarrhoea, incontinence of urine or faeces, feeble respiratory power where difficulty of breathing keeping the patient awake, debilitated conditions with old sores of long standing or cold abscesses.
Diarrhoea, dysentery, low forms of diarrhoea, typhoid with marked depression and debility.
Amenorrhoea, sexual debility from abuse, soreness following delivery, nephritis.
Internally: chronic rheumatism, lame back, back ache, feelings of debility, soreness in the small of the back, only of use where there is feebleness with deficient circulation, general weakness of the muscles of the back, sickening backache in the region of the kidneys, affections of the muscles, painful muscular conditions following sprains, muscles subjected to over strain from any cause, debility of the heart muscle resulting from over exertion or excitement, dull aching pains in the heart region, pain and soreness of the shoulders or other parts of the body due to strains or injuries, lame back accompanied with feeling of debility and soreness in the lumbar region, myalgia, pleurodynia from over exertion, internal pains and congestion’s from bruises, deficient action of the parts, rheumatism with cold skin and debility, myalgia with pain and soreness dependent upon strains, injuries, over exertion, bruised, sore, lacerated, contused muscular structures, circumscribed sore spots of muscular structures, hyperaesthesia without apparent cause.
Externally: local inflammations, cuts, lacerations, and contusions.
Nervous injury, disordered condition of the brain following concussions, falls, blows, lack of spinal nervous system activity (feeble respiratory power, difficulty sleeping, want of control of urination and defecation), constitutional derangement’s caused by shocks to the brain, from thumps, kicks, etc., deficient nervous sensibility, nervous headache of the debilitated or depressed, acute and chronic paralysis, mania, delirium tremens, chronic palsy.
Pneumonia, low forms of typhoid pneumonia with debility, feeble circulation, great depression, muttering delirium, tongue dry and coated with foul mucous.
The drug from Selye’s perspective
State of Resistance
The drug was used to increase resistance to typhoid fever, typhoid pneumonia, pneumonia, malaria, adynamic fevers and intermittent fevers, trauma, shock, asthenic forms of dropsy, gout, diseases associated with debility, paralytic states without inflammation (Multiple Sclerosis?), rheumatism, disordered nervous function after trauma to brain/nervous system, surgery, and traumatic injury.
State of Exhaustion
The drug was used when State of Exhaustion commenced and the usual signs presented themselves (joint abnormalities, amenorrhoea, paralytic states, languid circulation, torpor, inactivity of physiological function, enfeeblement, impairment of innervation, tendency towards permanent prostration, low fevers, depression/debility due to protracted fevers, night sweats, diarrhoea, debility, sores, cold abscesses).
The drug appears to augment the GAS, which implies it increases adaptation energy. Evidence to this effect includes the following. The drug was used to raise resistance to acute and chronic infections. The drug was used when State of Exhaustion commenced and the usual signs and symptoms presented themselves. The drug was used in geriatric debility and physical senility. The drug was used to inspire healing of skin, muscles, and joints after traumatic or surgical injury.
In addition, the Eclectics saw this drug as being one of the most stirring to the recuperative capacity. This stimulating effect was observed when the drug was applied externally and when taken internally. Externally, it was seen as a powerful stimulant to healing. Ellingwood said this of it. “ It undoubtedly assists in carrying off the broken down tissue, which results from the traumatism, and promotes rapid repair. I have observed its influence to be greatly facilitated by combining it with a nutritional substance. In cases where the muscles beneath the skin were severely lacerated, torn and bruised, I have applied one part of arnica with five parts of warm fresh sweet milk, keeping the application warm, covered with a protective dressing, and renewed every two or three hours. It is incredible how rapidly the restoration will take place under these circumstances .”
Healing was only one of the vital processes stimulated by Arnica montana . The Eclectics found that all physiological processes were performed with heightened energy when the drug was administered.
Brekhman’s Adaptogen Criterion
An adaptogen should be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism.
Inconclusive. Eclectic literature reports the drug to be safe. Contemporary literature is contradictory. Some literature reports the drug dangerous i.e. a cardio-toxin and powerful hypertensive. (9) On the other hand, a toxicological study reported the drug was non- toxic in acute toxicity studies in rats, rabbits, and mice. It was found to be non-irritating, non-sensitising, and non-phototoxic to guinea pig and mouse skin and did not produce ocular irritation. Clinical tests did not elicit irritation or sensitisation. (10)
The action of an adaptogen should be non-specific i.e. it should increase resistance to adverse influences of a wide range of factors of physical, chemical, and biological nature.
Clinically, the drug was used to increase resistance to bacterial, viral, and protozoan infection, trauma, metabolic abnormalities (gout), nerve damage, and autoimmune disease. (1–7)
The crude drug has been shown to increase liver resistance to toxic compounds (alcohol). (11) The drug contains compounds that have been shown to increase resistance to bacterial infection, tumours, parasites, liver damage, free radical damage, and cancer. (8)
An adaptogen may possess normalising action irrespective of the direction of the foregoing pathological changes.
Clinically the drug was used to normalise the physiological abnormalities associated with State of Exhaustion , including temperature abnormalities, nervous depression, night sweats, diarrhoea, cold ulcers, circulatory abnormalities, membrane permeability abnormalities, and immune dysfunction. The drug was used to stimulate any deficient physiological function. (1–7)
Experimentally, several studies have demonstrated the crude drug stimulates immune function. (12) The drug contains compounds that have been shown to normalise abnormal physiological function including allergic reactions, leukaemia, hypertension, immune suppression, gastritis, water retention, arthritis, oedema, inflammation, hyperlipidemia, ulceration, diabetes, diarrhoea, poor gastric function, poor bile production, constipation, and muscle spasms. (8)
The drug exhibits adaptogenic properties as defined by Brekhman. According to the Eclectic materia medica, it is one of the most powerful stimulants to the resistance capacity and therefore, potentially, a powerful new adaptogen. Arnica montana is much like the other Eclectic tonics. However, it does have some unique features.
Firstly, it was used to increase resistance during to trauma. This could have been due to falls, blows, contusions, serious beatings or surgery.
Secondly, it was used specifically when the signs and symptoms of State of Exhaustion manifested in the nervous system. Examples of this being depression, paralysis of sphincters, and nervous dysregulation. Beyond this, it was used in conditions that sound remarkably like what we now call Multiple Sclerosis. The specific use of Arnica montana in nervous dysregulation associated with State of Exhaustion sets it apart.
Lastly, though most of the Eclectic tonics were used to inspire healing in non-healing wounds and ulcers, this was described as the most powerful stimulant to the healing capacity. Its reputation as a wound-healing agent is more prominent than any of the other Eclectic tonic identified by this project.
Potential clinical applications
The drug has potential increasing resistance to infection and wounds, lengthening State of Resistance , remedying State of Exhaustion . In State of Exhaustion , the drug is particularly indicated in nervous dysregulation. Lastly, the drug may have potential stimulating physiological atony.
• The safety and efficacy of internal use of Arnica montana . The evidence regarding the safety of using this drug internally is contradictory. A toxicological study should be conducted with regard to the internal use of the drug in the doses recommended by the Eclectics.
• Arnica montana and the GAS. The drug should be tested out in the animal model to determine its specific effects on the GAS.
• Arnica montana and acute infection. The Eclectics found the drug positive in its action in acute microbial infection. Preliminary work suggests it acts as a potent immune stimulant and antibiotic. Its role in increasing resistance to infection should be examined.
• Arnica montana and nerve damage. The drug was used to normalise nerve function, whether due to trauma or from what seems a description of Multiple Sclerosis. Its ability to increase resistance to nerve damage, both in trauma and autoimmune disease, warrants investigation.
• Arnica montana and depression and anxiety. The drug was used to normalise nervous dysregulation associated with State of Exhaustion . Its role in depression and anxiety disorders associated with long term stress should be examined.
• Arnica montana and shock. The drug was used to increase resistance to shock, and specifically surgical shock. Its role in increasing resistance to shock should be investigated.
The drug is readily farm raised and is widely available in the current market place.
References for Arnica montana
• King, John. The American Eclectic Dispensatory. Moore , Wilstach, and Keys. Cincinnati . 1854. P. 247.
• Scudder, J. M. Specific Medication and Specific Medicines. Revised. Fifth Edition. 1874. P. 75.
• Webster, HT. Dynamical Therapeutics—A work devoted to the Theory and Practice of Specific Medication with special references to the newer remedies. Webster Medical Publishing Company. Oakland , California . Second Edition. 1898. P. 225, 512.
• Felter, Harvey Wickes and Lloyd, John Uri. Kings’ American Dispensatory. Volume one and Volume two. Ohio Valley Company. Cincinnati . 1898. P. 1998.
• Ellingwood, Finley. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. Ellingwood’s Therapeutist. Chicago . 1919. P. 147.
• Lloyd, John Uri. Origin and History of all the Pharmacopoeial Vegetable Drugs, Chemicals and Preparations. Volume 1: Vegetable Drugs. The Caxton Press. Cincinnati . 1921. P. 18.
• Lloyd Brothers. Dose book of Specific Medicines. Lloyd Brothers, Cincinnati . 1907. P. 70.
• Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Agricultural Research Service. USDA.
• Tyler, Varro and Foster, Stephen. Tyler ‘s Honest Herbal. Haworth Press. New York . 2000. P. 39.
• Final report on the safety assessment of Arnica montana extract and Arnica montana . International Journal of Toxicology 2001;20 Suppl 2:1–11. From PubMed abstracts.
• Iaremii IM et al. Effect of Arnica montana tincture on some hydrolytic enzyme activities of rat liver in experimental toxic hepatitis. Ukr Biokhim Zh 1998 Nov–Dec; 70(6):88–91. From PubMed abstracts.
• Wagner H et al. Immunostimulating action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from Higher Plants. Arzneimittelforschung 1985;35(7): 1069–1075. From PubMed abstracts.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
1854: JOHN KING – ARNICA MONTANA – LEOPARDSBANE
Properties and Uses – In large doses, it causes heat in the throat, nausea, vomitting, spasmodic contractions of the limbs, difficulty of respiration, and sometimes inflammatin of the alimentary canal, and coma.` Its poisonous effects are best counteracted by the free use of vinegar, or other dilute vegetable acid.
In small doses, it accelerates the pulse, increases the perspiration, excites a flow of urine, and is said occasionally to cause headache and giddines. In Germany , it is esteemed as a stimulant in tyhoid fever and other adynamic febrile diseases, in chronic palsy, and amenorrhea; also, as a tonic in chronic rheumatism, as a tonic and diuretic in the asthenic forms of dropsy. In intermittent fever it has proved very successful, also, in nyctalopia and amaurosis; and is reputed to be highly serviceable in that disordered condition of the system which succeeds concussion of the brain, from falls, blows, etc. It has also been recommended in diarrhea, dysentery, nephritis, gout, chlorosis, and almost every disease where there is a debility, torpor or inactivity of function. Externally, it is used in the form of a fomentation, diluted tincture of the flowers, both to prevent and discuss local inflammatins, and to remove ecchymosis.
Dose of the powder, five to ten grains, two to four times a day; of the infusion, made by adding half an ounce of the flowers to a pint of water, from half an ounce to an ounce; of the extract, which is an excellent form of administration, from five to ten grains, four to five times a day. In preparing an infusion of the flowers, they should be loosely tied in a bag, in order to prevent the down or fine fibers from getting into the infusion, or else they will cause troublesome irritation of the throat, nausea and vomitting.
Preparation: prepare a tincture form the recent flowers, 3vij.to alcohol 76% Oj. Dose, the fraction of a drop.
It is not neccessary to refer to the common local use of this agent, or discuss the question whether a tincture of arnica is preferable to alcohol alone as a local application. Every one has employed it in this way, and each has formed his own opinion. I think its local use valuable, but greatly over estimated.
Can it be employed as an internal remedy with advantage? I am satisfied that it can. It is a caluable stimulant in many grave diseases where a stimulant is required. But if used as a general stimulant, like alchohol, it would be as apt to do harm as good.
It is a specific stimulant to the spinal nervous system, and will be found useful where there is want of innervation from this. I have seen most marked benefit from it in advanced stages of disease, where thee was feevl respiratory power; difficulty of sleeping from impeded respiration; want of control over exertion of urine and feces, etc; evidences of impairment of spinal innervation. In such cases its beneficial influence may be noticed in a few hours.
I have frequently prescribed it for lame back, back ache, and feelings of debility , soreness, etc, in the small of the back. It is only useful in those cases where there is feebleness, with deficient circulation;but in these the influence is direct and permanent.
Recently it has been employed in the treatment of pneumonia iwth good results. The cases reported, so far as I can learn, were asthenic with an enfeebled circulation. It was employed alone in doses of five to ten drops every three hours.
1898; Webster; (Muscles) – Arnica Montana
The place for arnica in affections of the muscles is in the treatment of the painful condition of these organs following sprains. Wherever a muscle has been subjected to over-strain from any cause it is the appropriate remedy, and probably as reliable a one as we have, though not always effective. In debility of the heart muscle the result of over-exertion or excitement, it is the appropriate remedy. Dull, aching pains in the region of the heart, when caused by disturbances of this character, call for arnica. Pain and soreness of the shoulders or other parts of the body, due to injuries or strains should suggest it.
Scudder prescribes it (Specific Medication) in lame back accompanied with feeling of debility and soreness in the lumbar region.
Hughes highly lauds the action of arnica upon the muscular tissues. He refers to its action in myalgia, and recommends it highly here. Among other special uses he refers to pleurodynia resulting from over-exertion as a place for its exhibition.
Form for Administration – The specific medicine.
Dose – From the hundredth to the tenth of a drop.
1909: Felter and Lloyd: ARNICA – ARNICA
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – Locally arnica is irritant, the preparations of flowers being most powerful. Strong preparations should not be applied full strength, for in some instances of tender skin, or in accidents occuring after its use, an erysipelatous inflammation has followed. Even when used as a local dressing for wounds dangerous inflammation, with vesication, has occurred.
Internally, in large doses, arnica causes heat in the throat, nausea, vomiting, purging, spasmodic contractions of the limbs, difficulty of respiration, and sometimes inflammation of the alimentary canal, and coma. There is no known antidote to its poisonous influences; vegetable acids have been recommended. Two fluid ounces of the tincture has produced death.
In small doses arnica accelerates the pulse, increases the perspiration, excites a flow of urine, and is said to occasionally cause headache and giddiness. It is esteemed as a stimulant in typhoid fever and other adynamic febrile diseases, in chronic palsy, and amenorrhoea; also as a tonic in chronic rheumatism, and as a tonic and diuretic in the asthenic forms of dropsy. In intermittent fever it has proved very successful; also in nyctalopia an damaurosis (the best remedy); and is reputed to be highly efficacious in constitutional derangements caused by powerful shocks to the brain, from thumps, kicks, etc., in internal pains, and congestions from bruises, deficient action of parts, etc. It has also been recommended in cases of deficient nervous sensibility, languid vascular action, and almost every disease where there is debility, torpor, or inactivity of function. The conditions calling for arnica are those with evidences of spinal innervation. As a specific stimulant to the spinal nerves it is exceedingly prompt in advanced stages of disease, with feeble respiratory power and sleeplessness due to the same cause; also in lack of control over the voluntary discharges. it is indicated in low typhoid stages, and in low forms of typhus fever, diarrhoea, and dysentery, always where there is marked depression and debility. In typhoid pneumonia, with marked asthenia an dfeeble circulation, great depression, low-muttering delirium, and tongue dry and loaded with foul mucus, it is one of the most efficient agents in use. Its action upon enfeebled respiratory efforts is much like that of phosphorus, as is also its effects in sexual debility from abuse, and in paralytic states of the orifices without active inflammation, particularly in the aged. Small doses are very efficient in anemia with weak circulation, general debility, and especially when associated with diarrhoea and dropsy, provided no inflammation is present (Locke). It is a remedy for hectic fever, with diarrhoea or excessive sweating. In rheumatism, with cold skin and debility, it arouses nervous action and stimulates excretion. It is a good agent in myalgia, an done of the best in muscular soreness and pain dependent upon strains, over-exertion, or other injuries. Here is should be applied locally in weak solutions and taken internally. The nervous headache of the debilitated and depressed calls for it, as does debility of the cardiac muscle due to excitement, over-activity, or “heart-strain.” The dull aching in the praecordiae, due to such over-action, is relieved by it. Prof. Scudder (Spec. Med.) writes: “I have frequently prescribed it for lame back, hackache, and feelings of debility an dsoreness in the small of the back. It is only useful in those cases where there is feebleness, with deficient circulation; but in these the influence is direct and permanent.”
Externally arnica is used in the form of an infusion, a fomentation, or diluted tincture of the flowers, both to prevent and discuss local inflammation, to remove ecchymosis, and as a dressing for cuts, lacerations, contusions, etc. For this purpose the infusion is attended with the least danger. The late Prof. J. M. Maisch prepared a fluid extract of arnica, which has been found very useful as an application for the bites of mosquitoes and other insects, thus: Exhaust powdered arnica flowers, 1 pound, with diluted alochol; filter; evaporate to the consistence of an extract, and redissolve this in 2 pints or ordinary alcohol. By adding 4 ounces of this fluid extract to 1 pint of flycerin, placing the mixture on a water-bath, so as to expel the alcohol, an elevant glycerole of arnica may be made; it may be made stronger if desired. This may be used in all cases where the local action of arnica is desired.
Dose of the powder, 5 to 10 grains, 2 to 4 times a day; of the infusion, made by adding 1/2 ounce of the flowers to 1 pint of water, from 1/2 fluid ounce to 1 fluid ounce; of the extract, which is an excellent form of administration, from 1 to 10 grains, 4 or 5 times a day. Of specific arnica, from 1 to 10 minims. In preparing an infusion of the flowers they should be loosely tied in a bag in order to prevent the down or fine fibers from getting into the infusion, or else they will cause troublesome irritation of the throat, nausea, and vomiting.
Specific Indications and Uses - Muscular soreness and ain from strains or over-exertion; advanced stage of disease, with marked enfeeblement, weak circulation, and impaired spinal innervation; embarrassed respiration; lack of control over urine and feces; sleeplessness from impeded respiration, and dull pracordial pain from “heart-strain;” muscular pain and soreness when the limbs are moved; tensive backache, as if bruised or strained, cystitis, with bruised feeling in bladder, or from a fall or blow; headache, with tensive, bruised feeling an dpain on movement; hematuria, with dull, aching lumbar pain, or from over-exertion. All cases of debility with enfeebled circulation.
1919: Ellingwood - ARNICA MONTANA
Synonyms - Leopard’s Bane.
Constituents - Volatile oil, acrid resin, and a nauseous bitter substance, resembling eytisin, with gallic acid. A small quantity of an alkaloid called arnicin.
Preparations - The tincture of arnica is a common preparation. It is in common use for external application. It may be given internally in doses of from one to ten minims. Specific arnica, dose from one-half to five minims.
Physiological Action – The whole plant has a disagreeable, strong and irritating odor when fresh. The taste is bitter, acrid and permanent. In sufficient dose it causes vomiting and catharsis. It is also diuretic, diaphoretic and emmenagogue. In poisonous doses, it causes a burning sensation in the stomach, intense headache, and violent nervous disturbance, with marked abdominal pain. The pulse is reduced and often fails. There may be convulsions of a bilateral character, and ultimate death.
Specific Symptomatology - The agent is specific to bruised, sore, lacerated, contused, muscular structure. It may be applied diluted externally and should be used internally for the same purpose.
These symptoms may be present from disease, deep muscular soreness – tenderness on pressure in deep muscular structures. In advanced disease, where these symptoms are present with marked general enfeeblement, impairment of innervation, with weak circulation, with a tendency towards permanent prostration, the remedy is specifically indicated.
When there is muscular pain and soreness, which is increased by muscular movement, or soreness in the back, as if from strain, the remedy is useful.
Where there is inflammation of any organ, with general diffused muscular soreness, the agent in small doses is indicated. Where there is inflammation of any organ from traumatic causes – severe injury to the parts, this remedy must be given.
In the muscular soreness, pain, and general physical discomfort that follows confinement, especially after difficult labor, this agent used both externally and internally will produce immediate benefits. Internally from fifteen to thirty drops in four ounces of water, a teaspoonful every hour will quickly relieve the muscular soreness or extreme lameness from the severe protracted muscular strain. Externally one part to five of warm water may be applied on compresses over the lame parts, and as soon as soreness of the breasts occur it may be applied over the breasts for a time.
Therapy – In small doses, arnica causes increased perspiration, increased secretion of urine, and an accelerated pulse. Its tonic influence upon the nervous system, and directly upon the heart and circulatory organs, make it a useful remedy indeed. In adynamic fevers, we have so few remedies possessing sedative properties, which do not depress, that each should be studied in this line, and arnica is especially available. It must be given in small doses frequently repeated, in the line of its indications. The indications for bryonia, rhus tox, or belladonna, or perhaps cactus, may be present at the same time.
Arnica is selected for internal use when there has been a severe injury, with fever, or in surgical fever, where there has been shock and general prostration. In all cases after severe cutting operations, where there has been destruction of muscular tissue, soreness follows and pain, which is ameliorated to an excellent advantage by the internal use of small doses of arnica.
In low fevers, where the nervous system is greatly at fault, it not only controls the temperature, but increases the nerve power, overcoming depression and debility, especially in severe, protracted fevers where the exhaustion results from loss of nerve force and where there is marked depression; if there be excessive night sweat, colloquative diarrhea, incontinence of urine or feces, feeble respiratory power where difficulty of breathing keeps the patient awake. It may be given in conjunction with other specifically indicated remedies to excellent advantage, where there is low muttering delirium, where the tongue is dry and where the mouth and throat seem to be clogged with foul, stringy mucus.
When there are typhoid conditions present, with inflammation of the respiratory organs, the influence of this agent is much like phosphorous, stimulating the respiration and encouraging the oxygen carrying power of the blood. Many of the milder forms of acute, or chronic paralysis, are benefited by this remedy.
It is useful in those forms where mania or delirium tremens are present.
In any case where it is indicated externally, it may be given internally at the same time. Its influence is greatly enhanced.
Soreness in the small of the back, lame back, general weakness of the muscules of the back, with soreness prevailing, sickening backache in the region of the kidneys, are all benefited by arnica. It not only relieves the soreness and the bruised conditions, when given internally, but quickly overcomes the ecchymosis.
As an external application, to cuts, bruises, lacerations, and sores, arnica has long been a popular domestic remedy. It is used in full strength, but the best results are not so attained. It is more serviceable when diluted with from one to six parts of warm water. it is a stimulant to the skin, promoting absorption of nutritive material. It undoubtedly assists in carrying off the broken down tissue, which results from the traumatism, and promotes rapid repair. I have observed its influence to be greatly facilitated by combining it with a nutritional substance. In cases where the muscles beneath the skin were severely lacerated, torn and bruised, I have applied one part of arnica with five parts of warm fresh sweet milk, keeping the application warm, covered with a protective dressing, and renewed every two or three hours. It is incredible how rapidly the restoration will take place under these circumstances.
In debilitated conditions, where there are old sores of long standing or cold abscesses, this agent may be applied in conjunction with bovinine and will accomplish excellent results.
It is desirable that the agent should be studied more thoroughly, in the line of its internal use, in surgical fevers with shock, and in conjunction with external applications after general bruising an dlaceration, and in extreme cases of adynamia.
When there are circumscribed sore spots in the muscular structures of the body – hyperesthetic areas – without apparent cause, this agent is indicated.
Arnica montana is official in all editions of the Pharmacopeia, but until 1860 it is mentioned only in the Secondary List. A wide divergence appears as regards the part used. The early editions name “The Plant,” and give as the common name, “Leopard’s Bane.” The 1840 edition mentions “The root and herb of Arnica montana .” In 1850 we find the common name, Leopard’s Bane, used for the last time. This edition is notable for mentioning, for the first time, Arnica flowers, neglecting all other parts of the plant, a ruling followed by all later editions, although the editions of 1880 and 1890 admit arnica root, as well as Arnica flowers. The editions of 1900 and 1910 give place to the flowers only.
All parts of this plant, Arnica montana , were popular remedies in Germany at a very early period. The early botanists, such as Matthiolus (414), Gesner (264) and Clusius (153), had a knowledge of its medicinal qualities, as used by the common people. Franz Joel (341), of Greifswald , Germany , expressly recommended it in the 16th century. During 1678-79, arnica experienced an enthusiastic European crusade as a “new remedy” in the cure of fevers, the hope being to supplant imported Peruvian bark by this domestic drug. Collin (162), of Vienna , reported a thousand patients in the Pazman Hospital cured of intermittents by the flowers, whilst other physicians were scarcely less enthusiastic in their praises. The herb was recognized in the London Pharmacopeia, 1788, but fell into disuse, regaining in later years a position as an application in the form of a tincture for bruises, sprains, etc., in which direction it is yet commended in both domestic and professional modern literature.
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