Arnica is a remedy that has strong associations with physical trauma and is widely used in the treatment of acute injuries as well as chronic conditions that have resulted as a consequence of a blow, a fall, or some other significant affliction. Examples of such chronic conditions can include: posttraumatic arthritis, neurological damage (e.g. post concussive syndrome), or even a variety of psycho-emotional and cognitive disturbances, such as depression, irritability, uneasiness, and nervous sensitivity. Arnica treats the effects of shock and trauma that have become impressed on the central nervous system.
Arnica has a strong association with bruising, and is often called upon to help with the reabsorption of blood after surgery. It is always important to treat bruises: bruises create a condition that we can describe as ‘bad blood’, ‘stagnant blood’, or ‘congealed blood.’ This can, in turn, lead to cancerous conditions in the distant future. Put otherwise, where there are bruises on the body, the oxygen supply in the bloodstream to the affected area is compromised. Limited oxygen supply promotes the development and growth of tumours.
On a mental-emotional level, the Arnica patient can feel “bruised by life.” There can be a long history of emotional trauma and a life path that is characterized by difficult knocks and hard falls. This in turn results in a melancholic, morose, and withdrawn disposition. The Arnica patient can come off as standoffish and distant, as someone who dwells on their suffering and wants to be left alone with their pain. They may also be very obstinate and headstrong, unwilling to listen to the opinions and feelings of others. The Arnica patient can feel at odds with the world, convinced that they will always be facing obstacles. Such a patient may have a fear of being touched, and a fear of others approaching, lest she be touched. There may be a fear of death, especially as a consequence of heart disease or a sudden heart attack (this fear may be especially amped up during the night). There can be frightful dreams of being buried alive, of black cats, and of death, nightmares that can startlingly wake the patient from sleep, and which may have commenced after an accident or injury. The Arnica patient can be easily startled as a consequence of prior shocks that have become deeply set in the nervous system. This history of being beaten down and emotionally battered can give rise to chronic rheumatic and arthritic complaints, as well as a variety of skin eruptions and other painful conditions of the skin.