An Aster and A First Responder

Credit: Beautiful Photo by Graziano Propetto
Credit: Beautiful Photo by Graziano Propetto

Some miracle stories exist about the healing powers of plants; people who were healed from cancers, gangrenous limbs, infections, and other debilitating diseases from herbal preparations.  I do think that it is possible, in many cases, for plant medicine to make an extraordinary difference in people’s lives.  While the heroic uses of herbs are possibly, it is beneficial and, even, essential to be aware of the plants which are first responders in everyday life and are an addition to any first aid kit. One such plant is Arnica.

There are several different species of Arnica (Arnica sp.), which are classified in the Aster family, scientifically known as Asteraceae or Compositeae.  Other plants in this family include: calendula, chicory, dandelion, goldenrod, and yarrow.  While I was under the impression that Arnica flowers are purple, I learned that they are YELLOW, with broad leaves at the base of the plant.  Arnica is native to most areas of North America and grows in sandy soil. While I didn’t find this in my research, I believe that this wild plant likes to grow at high altitude.

I almost always have Arnica within reach, in the form of homeopathic beads to take internally and cream for external use.  More than a handful of times since I discovered this remedy, I have relied on it for healing for sprains, bruises, sudden impacts/falls.  While Arnica is helpful for external use, it is not recommended if the skin is broken.  I also find that it helps most when taken immediately from the injury.  The healing properties of Arnica stimulate circulation, so an increased blood supply to the damaged area as soon as possible is crucial in healing.  It is good to carry Arnica on your person when out for a hike, bike ride, or other possibly dangerous activity.

Since this remedy comes to me in the form of a homeopathic remedy, I feel strangely disconnected from the medicine as a plant. But I know that it is happily growing all over the country (and the world, ie: Europe).  Majestically yellow, and with the bumps, bruises, strains, and sprains along life’s journey, Arnica is a companion.  This plant is one I have yet to meet face to face, but I look forward to the day when we do!

Post Script Notes about homeopathic remedies: There are different dosages available in the homeopathic pellet form, smaller is usually better but in cases of sever trauma (car crash, for example) a large does would be helpful.  Avoid caffeine, coffee, or tea as this is a contraindication.  Store in a cool-dark location away from radiating frequencies.

Thank you to all of the sources for this article:

The New Age Herbalist. By: Richard Mabey, Anne McIntyre, Michael McIntyre

Photos from: