Preparing homeopathic medicine is a precise, standardized process that involves multiple steps and safety measures along the way. We spoke with Eric Baier, VP of Quality at Hyland’s Inc., to gain some insight from his experiences overseeing the creation of numerous homeopathic products, specifically Arnica.
Arnica Mother Tincture
Q: Can you briefly explain how a homeopathic Arnica tincture is prepared?
A: Arnica tincture is prepared by extracting the entire plant in an alcohol and water mixture. Arnica montana plant material (including the roots) is chopped up and extracted in a 45% ethyl alcohol solution for a period of time (between 14 and 28 days). After that time, the liquid is then separated from the plant material and filtered. This preparation method follows that described in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS)*. HPUS guidelines also require that we test the tincture for proper constituents before use.
Arnica Potency and Delivery Method
Q: How are potencies determined for over-the-counter homeopathic products?
A: Ingredient potencies are also determined by the HPUS and are based upon available toxicity data. The potencies (which correspond to concentrations) are set to reflect a concentration at which a small child could ingest an entire container of the product and not experience toxic effects. At Hyland’s, we then turn to our formulation experts, who apply their experience with the ingredient and symptoms to determine the best potency for the particular over-the-counter homeopathic medicine in question.
Q: How do you reach that specific potency during preparation?
A: Potencies for Arnica (or any homeopathic medicine) are made by repeatedly diluting the Arnica tincture and vigorously shaking (what is known in Homeopathy as “succussion”), usually in ratios of one to ten. For example, a 3X (or ten to the third, or ten cubed) Arnica product contains one part in a thousand of Arnica. Likewise, a 6X Arnica product has been diluted to one part per million (or 106).
Q: Are preparations different for oral and topical Arnica products?
A: The preparation of active homeopathic ingredients is the same, regardless of the dosage form. Like conventional drugs, the homeopathic preparation is added as an active ingredient to the base of other ingredients. The only difference is whether it’s being applied to lactose (for a tablet) or an ointment or cream base (for a topical).
Homeopathic Vs. Herbal Arnica
Q: How is homeopathic Arnica different from herbal Arnica in terms of preparation?
A: For starters, herbal product manufacturers are not required to prepare Arnica using the exact methods described in the HPUS, nor are they required to test them in the same way. If you purchase homeopathic Arnica, you can rest assured that it has been produced in a manufacturing facility that is required to meet all of the FDA’s requirements for drug manufacture and testing. Herbal products are not considered drugs and have a different regulatory framework and manufacturing standards, both government and self-imposed.
Harvesting the Arnica Flower for Homeopathic Products
Q: We’ve seen news regarding Arnica plant shortage and how it’s affecting the industry. Has shortage impacted Arnica preparation at Hyland’s?
A: We have been sourcing our Arnica from a partner in Europe for years. Since we require the entire plant, they grow a crop just for us each year. We are very confident in the purity and reliability of our Arnica supply and our ability to get the product to consumers.
As a finished product, homeopathic Arnica has a variety of healing properties that can benefit any age group or lifestyle. Take a look at our resources regarding the Uses of Arnica, as well as Arnica for You to see if Arnica can fill a need in your life.
* The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) is an official guidance document recognized by the FDA.