Happy New Year folks! Things are crazy busy right now so I thought I would post a repost of an article I did for Suite101. Hope this helps.
A New Year’s resolution to get fit and in shape can lead people to overwork previously unused muscles. This can lead to pain and inflammation. Arnica helps.
Most people have found themselves at one time or another facing a new year with a renewed dedication to get fit and healthy. As any regular gym member can tell you, this leads to the New Year crunch. That time in the first month of every year where the gym is totally crowded with newcomers eager to put their fitness resolution into practice.
Many of these new people do not have any idea of how to use the equipment. They overwork themselves using heavier weights than they should. They do too much too soon or go too often in their attempt to get speedy results.
The results they do achieve include strains, sprains, bruises, breaks and muscle fatigue. There are a number of treatments for these issues but one natural treatment that stands out from the rest is the use of arnica.
Arnica is recommended by some first aid crews. The drugstores are rapidly stocking their shelves with ointments and salves made from arnica. Even some doctors are recommending this herb as a treatment for muscle pain and stiffness.
What is it that makes arnica such a popular treatment these days? The simple answer to this question is that it works and it works extremely well. It does not just heat up the skin at the site of the injury. it absorbs into the body and goes directly to the muscle that has been pulled removing the pain and inflammation at the source.
Arnica Through History
Arnica or Wolf’s bane has been used both in Europe and North America for centuries as a treatment for sore overtaxed muscles and bruises. First Nations people used poultices of arnica to soothe strained muscles and bruises.
European folktales tell that the medicinal properties were discovered by shepherds noticing that injured animals were drawn to the plant. In Germany more than 100 drug preparations include arnica.
Arnica was listed in the US Pharmacopeia from the early 1800s until 1960. It is still very much in use in the US as a topical treatment for bruises, aches, sprains and inflammation.
Muscle Pain and Arnica
Arnica was once known as “tumblers cure all” because of its common use in falls. It is useful for the pain of
- pulled muscles
- back aches
- rheumatic joints
- sports injuries
- traumatic injuries
- compress for phlebitis
Arnica is currently being investigated as a possible pain reliever in arthritis.
To make a compress simply steep two teaspoons of dried flowers in one cup of water for ten minutes. Strain and cool the liquid and then soak a cloth in the solution. Apply the compress to the affected area for thirty minutes.
To make a salve steep one cup of dried flowers in one cup of olive oil on a very low heat for three hours watching often. Strain through cheesecloth and add one ounce or more (to whatever consistency you like) of melted beeswax. Pour into clean dark jars and cool completely before putting the lid on. This will last up to one year. Apply a small quantity to affected area on unbroken skin only.
For easy preparations just visit your local drugstore or herbal pharmacy where you will find a whole range of arnica ointments and gels.
Warnings For Using Arnica
Arnica is extremely poisonous and only professional homeopathic preparations should be considered for internal use. Do not ingest the herb or the essential oil. Overdose of arnica extract has
resulted in poisoning, with toxic symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and haemorrhage, even death.
Topical solutions of arnica are very safe as long as they are not applied to broken skin. Contact dermatitis has been caused by the application of arnica. If a rash develops discontinue use immediately.
Despite the toxicity of arnica as an internal remedy, it is an excellent topical treatment for strains, sprains, bruises, muscle fatigue and sore feet. The speed with which it works and the complete elimination of pain makes arnica a great answer for those people that took their new years resolutions a little too seriously