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Arnica is an over the counter homeopathic medicine commonly used on the skin to relieve sore and aching muscles. However, possibly because of a fundamental misunderstanding about its mode of action, it is underused in its oral form.
This was made very clear by a popular podcaster who usually thinks outside the box and tests things on himself. The theme of most of his material is using the “minimum effective dose” to optimize health, lifestyle and work. Interesting stuff. Very holistic.
…he thought the dose was too small to be effective.
Yet in the case of using oral Arnica, he would not give it a chance. Ironically, this was because he thought the dose was too small to be effective.
The podcaster was correct that the oral version of Arnica is often produced in a (sub-molecular) size. Other people, and veterinarians, have voiced this concern about too small a dose. However, it is incorrect to think that the effectiveness of Arnica is based on the size of the dose.
I think the conversation needs to move away from one about dose to proof of principle based on clinical efficacy. The shift of EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) to the one that includes the other EBM of Experience Based Medicine is needed. Scientific progress is based on first open-mindedly observing a phenomenon and then explaining, describing and proving it with evidential research studies.
Science Of Arnica
Arnica is postulated to work by inducing a physiologic state similar to that seen after an injury. Natural healing mechanisms are activated to reduce symptoms like pain and swelling. The effectiveness of Arnica is not because of the dose or the form of administration.
Arnica is postulated to work by helping the body restore homeostasis (balance). Every lifestyle change and treatment that restores balance can be deeply healing. Fresh food feeding, acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathic medicines, etc. all do this.
Clinical studies in people have shown how effective Arnica can be after surgeries and traumas.
Natural healing methods all work with the “vis medicatrix naturae” or the healing power of nature.
The theory is that the living body has a natural tendency to achieve physiologic equilibrium when it is “nudged” in the direction of healing (balance), by medicine with subtle energies like Arnica. Over the centuries, successes with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathic medicines (like Arnica) have shown that maintaining and regaining equilibrium is a key to health. At the cellular level science knows that this process is powered by fuel from mitochondrial powerhouses which generate energy molecules like ATP and NAD+.
It is unfortunate that confusion over the mechanisms and principles of homeopathy are preventing the use of effective medicines like Arnica in the United States. Along with other homeopathic treatments, it is integrated in the ERs and ICUs of teaching hospitals in Germany, Switzerland, France, India, and other countries around the world.
But let’s return to the misunderstanding that this article was originally intended to help dispel. That is, the myth that homeopathic medicines like Arnica work based on tiny doses. Instead, it is the Law of Similars and symptom similarity that is the basis for homeopathy.
Efficacy of Arnica
Clinical studies in people have shown how effective Arnica can be after surgeries and traumas, yet this inexpensive and readily-available medication is not commonly used for this purpose in veterinary clinics or by pet parents.
Hundreds of years of clinical experience show that it works equally well in animals to decrease soreness, bruising, and effects of injury. Thus, Arnica fulfills the same goal as any other medication that veterinarians use, which is improved homeostasis (balance) and healing.
In my opinion, our beloved companion animals should be able to benefit from it.
For example, animals that get hit by cars might have better clinical outcomes if Animal Control Officers were permitted to start giving Arnica to them immediately upon arrival at the scene of a trauma.
Homeopathy and Quality of life
In addition to Arnica, other homeopathic medicines have been effectively used for over two hundred years for helping pets have better lives. Homeopathic medicines have been clinically and epidemiologically verified in many past outbreaks of bacteria and viruses, fatal epidemics, pneumonias, etc. Before the discovery of antibiotics, many lives were saved by homeopathic medicines during epidemics of potentially fatal infectious dis-eases like flus, pneumonia, typhoid, cholera, etc.
Perhaps that’s why the only monument in Washington DC dedicated to a medical doctor is dedicated to Dr. Samuel Hahneman, the founder of homeopathy for the many lives saved.
Let’s not keep arguing about the size of a homeopathic dose, but rather, trust the results. The result can be pets that recover faster, live longer and have a better quality of life.