I was asked recently whether there were any circumstances where homeopathy might be contraindicated for pregnant women. The question centered on a woman in her first trimester, (3 month’s pregnant) who had been involved in a car accident and was in a state of partial shock. She had suffered some abdominal bruising from banging into the steering wheel and was bleeding from the uterus. She was hoping that she wouldn’t miscarry, and wondered if whether it was safe to take Arnica. This is definitely one situation where a little Arnica could go a long way!
Dick Moskowitz MD, in the introduction to his book Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth writes impressively:
“I have used homeopathic remedies since 1974 in more than 800 pregnancies. I have found them to be wonderfully safe and effective in many situations in which conventional drugs and surgery are not required.”
The safety of homeopathic medicines in pregnancy has been confirmed by 200 years of homeopathic clinical practice around the world, and although we don’t know what the unborn baby of a hurt mother is going through exactly, we do know that if the mother is in a state of shock then something of this will almost certainly affect her child. And therefore, anything that can help the mother to heal, to feel better in herself, must and will be of benefit to the baby.
I am a self confessed Arnica fanatic. I have been known to wax lyrical about its miraculous properties to anyone who will listen. And this is why…Arnica works! On almost anybody. It is as close to a ‘specific’ as we can get…and we (homeopaths) don’t have many of those. A specific medicine is one that we can give for a complaint with a high degree of certainty that it will help.
Dorothy Shepherd writes in her exquisite little book, The Physician’s Posy:
“You may have heard it mentioned that there are no specifics in homeopathy, a specific being a drug which, in a doctor’s mind, as well as in those of lay people, is associated with a certain disease…There is no rule without an exception, so we are taught in grammar, and even in Homeopathy you get exceptions to rules. The best specific I know is Arnica for injuries, falls and accidents of all sorts. In the German language it is called ‘Fall Kraut’ or ‘falling herb’, to show its main action.”
For many people, Arnica provides incontrovertible proof that homeopathy works. Because at the end of the day, homeopathy as a healing concept is fairly fantastic. The idea that anything so small can have an effect is weird. We have to see it to believe it. And once you have seen it work, you are hooked, as many of those reading these words will agree.
It is somewhat impressive to see that egg on your child’s forehead, caused by a nasty fall, to reduce and disappear altogether, in front of your very eyes, within minutes…having given him or her a single tablet of Arnica (in potency of course). There is no further pain and no discoloration. The bruising is healed from the inside. A mini-miracle.
I remember the time I stepped out to cross a road early one morning without looking, from behind a large truck. In England we can cross a road anywhere, we are not limited to ‘official crossings.’ We learn to ‘stop, look and listen’ before crossing a road and hammer this into our children. Myself included! This particular morning I neither stopped, looked nor listened. I just stepped out, in front of a car traveling at about 30 miles an hour. The car ran over one of my feet (and its fender smashed into my leg). I was very shaken and hurt, but I found to my surprise and great relief, that I could stand on my leg and move all the toes of my foot and so I knew that nothing had been broken. The driver of the car (a pharmacist from our local hospital!) was shaken as well, and relieved that I only wanted him to drive me home. I wanted to get at that bottle of Arnica ASAP!
I stood in my sitting room and surveyed my state! I was shaking uncontrollably and crying with relief. The words, “I could have died!” ran through my mind over and over. Ah-ha! I recognized my old friend Aconite. I took a single dose and the shock and trembling melted away immediately.
I turned my attention to my foot. It had swelled to twice its size in a short half hour and was incredibly painful. It was starting to go nasty shades of yellow, purple and black in a small area that I knew would spread to the whole foot and up my ankle and leg over the next few hours. My shin was also painful and swollen. The pain was intense but more of a deep soreness, and this was unusual for me. When I get hurt I usually get sharp or unbearable pains. For example, after dental treatment or if I sprain an ankle, Arnica never ever works because I do not have the bruised soreness that guides us to Arnica…and I am never stoical! This time it was different, I heard myself telling a colleague, (on the phone) “I’m OK really, it doesn’t hurt that much. It could have been much worse.” Yeah, right!
I took Arnica in a high potency, because of the severity of the accident and because I wanted results (I was scheduled to be the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding the following day). The pain eased up within minutes and I used it as a guide as to when I should take my next dose. Initially, I took it every 15 minutes or so but was soon able to reduce that to every hour or two. The swelling reduced gradually until my foot was back to normal after by that evening. The discoloration did not spread, but reduced to an area the size of a quarter (and disappeared altogether within a couple of days).
I was also fortunate in that an osteopathic friend of mine passed by my house and gave me an adjustment that helped my body balance from the jar it had received during the injury.
The next day, I walked up the aisle easily and my foot fitted in those beautiful shoes I had bought especially for the event! The word miracle comes to mind once again. Even I found myself saying, “well, maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked.” Right! A whole (normal sized) car ran over my foot!
So, let’s return to the woman who had an abdominal injury, with bruising to her abdomen followed by a passive hemorrhage. While Arnica is always great for bruising, it isn’t the only remedy and there is another one that might have been better in this situation. Bellis perennis is a remedy for bruises, especially to the abdomen, with sore bruised pains (just like Arnica), but the pains are more severe. It is also helpful for complaints of the uterus with weakness and bleeding. It is a specific for bruised soreness after abdominal surgery, and for lumps and bumps that remain after bruising. I have used it for exactly this type of deep bruised soreness in pregnancy (where Arnica did not help) and after childbirth, again, where Arnica did not help. They have difficulty sleeping, typically after 3 am, and I have sometimes used this symptom to confirm Bellis perennis in women who are feeling sore and bruised after childbirth.
Those needing Bellis perennis tend not to be as stoical as those needing Arnica. The typical ‘Arnica patient’ always says they are OK when they plainly aren’t OK, and this symptom alone can guide you to a successful Arnica prescription…where there is bruising to soft tissues (muscles) with sore, bruised pains. Get it!
To bring this discussion back to keynotes, I have found Bellis perennis to be almost a specific remedy for women who experience severe pains in their groin during the last few months of pregnancy, pains which come on suddenly while walking, and which are severe enough to make walking impossible until they have passed. This is due to the stretching of the ligaments and nerves of the uterus. A single dose of Bellis perennis causes the pains to pass quickly this time and helps prevent their recurrence.
When a pregnant woman takes a homeopathic remedy, we can assume her unborn baby receives something of the same remedy-even if it is a secondary effect. Logically speaking, if a woman is feeling unwell or is hurt, and the remedy stimulates her vital force, her inner healer, then this positive response can only be of benefit to her baby. Arnica alone is a little wonderful remedy during pregnancy (for minor injuries, for discomfort with an active baby who kicks out causing some soreness), during labor (where it can speed labor and help the muscles to do their work with a minimum of physical stress and strain), and after the birth (with healing strained tissues). But don’t forget Arnica’s close friend, Bellis perennis, for when Arnica isn’t as helpful as expected. Learn your remedies and use them wisely and they will become like dear old friends you cannot imagine how you ever lived without!
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