Arnica montana, named for the mountain daisy from which it is derived, is the homeopathic remedy of choice for bruising and trauma. Homeopathic arnica may also be helpful for injury, swelling, shock and severe insect stings. Taking arnica before and after a surgery or dental procedure may minimize post-surgical pain and edema.
Preparation of Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic remedies are prepared through a series of dilution and succussion, or vigorous shaking. The preparation method is an essential part of the homeopathic process and is believed to be partially responsible for the success of homeopathy. A common theory is that highly-diluted remedies which contain little or none of the actual substance do carry the "energy signature" of the substance, and it is this energy which promotes healing, explains Andrew Hobson, a registered and licensed homeopath.
Counter-intuitively, homeopathic remedies become stronger the more they are diluted. The weakest remedies are the decimal or X potencies, which are diluted at a 1-in-10 ratio: one drop of arnica tincture in 9 drops of alcohol, for example. Centesimal potencies, diluted at a 1-in-100 ratio, are usually adequate for first aid treatment of minor and acute conditions, notes Hobson.
Arnica montana 30X is a decimal potency, while arnica montana 30C is a centesimal. The "30" represents the number of serial dilutions performed on the original substance. As the British Homeopathic Association explains, in a serial dilution the results of one dilution are used for the next dilution. One drop of arnica tincture diluted in 99 drops of alcohol results in the 1C potency, and one drop of the 1C potency in 99 drops of alcohol becomes the 2C potency. Another way to think of it might be that a 30X potency is 1 in 10 to the 30th power, while a 30C is 1 in 100 to the 30th power. The more zeroes, the stronger the remedy.
Both arnica montana 30X and arnica montana 30C are appropriate for at-home first aid. The higher potency, 30C, is appropriate for immediate and acute conditions, while the lower potency, 30X, is appropriate for acute or chronic conditions, explains Dr. Steven Kayne in the summer 2001 edition of the British Homeopathic Association's "Health and Homeopathy" magazine. For example, if you bang your leg into a coffee table you might take a dose of arnica montana 30C immediately to minimize bruising and swelling. If you weren't able to take a dose immediately you might take 30C or 30X a day or two later when you had developed a large purple bruise. If you didn't take any arnica at the time of or shortly after your injury and several weeks later you still had a bruise, you might take arnica montana 30X to help resolve the discoloration.
Homeopathic remedies are generally considered very safe, and are not known to interact with any medications. However, some medications, such as steroids, may have a negative effect on homeopathic remedies, notes Dr. Kayne. Discuss the use of any homeopathic remedies with your health care professional, especially if you have any chronic health conditions or are taking any medications.