Plastic surgeons are now recommending a classic homeopathic remedy to speed recovery after cosmetic surgery, arnica Montana, which has been used medicinally in Europe since the 16th century.
Arnica is endorsed as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic by the German Commission E advisory panel on herbal medicine.
Arnica works on the soft tissues and blood vessels and is applied topically as well as taken internally.
The plant, arnica Montana, is in the same family as chamomile, dandelion, echinacea and sunflower. Its yellow, daisy-like flowers always seem to face the sun. Arnica grows on mountain slopes around the world and is popular with mountain climbers to treat aching muscles. Its' German name, fall kraut (herb), evolved after local people noticed that mountain sheep nibbled on arnica after they stumbled or fell. When the German poet, Goethe, recovered from a serious injury caused by a fall, he praised arnica for saving his life.
Physician Andrew Weil includes arnica in his discussion "A Homeopathic Medicine Cabinet," (in the Feb. 2004, edition of "Self Healing" magazine)
"Arnica, in pellet form, is useful when taken for swelling and bruising, such as from a recent fall or injury."
His colleague, Melanie Chimes, a homeopathic physician, suggests taking arnica before and after surgery (except eye surgery) to minimize bleeding, pain and swelling, and to hasten recovery.
A 2002 Swiss study of patients with moderate osteoarthritis of the knee reported significant improvement of pain, stiffness and dysfunction after applying arnica gel topically for six weeks.
When treated promptly, black-and-blue marks have sometimes disappeared overnight, thanks to arnica's quick healing action.
More recommendations for using arnica can be found at the Web site: www.herbalpharmacist.com and include: athletic performance (sports injuries), backaches, broken bone support, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye injury/eye strain, fibromyalgia, gout, hemorrhoids, pregnancy and delivery support, rheumatoid arthritis and varicose veins.
Homeopathic remedies, such as arnica, are made from carefully selected plants, minerals and organic ingredients and dispensed in infinitesimal doses. Homeopathy treats the whole patient, not just symptoms, and the remedies encourage the body's own natural healing processes to achieve balance.
In clinical studies, homeopathic products have proven to be free of harmful side effects and are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Homeopathic practitioners have kept careful records for centuries, and they point to arnica as a remedy of choice for sudden blows of all kinds, where the skin is not broken, states A.C. Gordon Ross in his book, "Arnica, the Amazing Healer."
This book is published in Great Britian, where the queen has her own private homeopathic physician in attendance.
It's no wonder that people all over the world keep arnica on hand, at home or away, just in case.
Consult your health care practitioner when considering homeopathic remedies.
The information in this article is for educational purposes. Consult your physician if you have a medical condition.
Margot Bennett is a licensed nutritionist at Mother Nature's Pantry, located in the Garden Square Shoppes, 4513 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. Call her at (561) 626-4461.