External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Arnica Cap

Kind of substance

Arnica essence (Weleda)

Guiding principle for the application

An arnica cap is indicated for all forms of head lesions, especially severe, extended ones. Immediate treatment is the most successful. Arnica can restore disturbed totalities. In particular, it can remarkably support the resorption of bleeding.
Arnica cap treatment brings the entire head into intensive contact with arnica, and the arnica also works down from the head into the whole body. The body is kept very quiet during the treatment, which enables it to support the healing process from below the head.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Cerebral vascular damage
  • Concussion (see example case 2)
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Headaches with feverish infections
  • Skull fracture
  • Stroke (see example case 1)


It is important to treat strokes as soon as possible after the stroke, as well as to apply an arnica cap intensively during the first week, as the body’s regenerative capacity is the highest during this period.
In acute care it can be practical and save time to simplify the application, whereas for treatment lasting several hours or days other aspects come to the fore.

How it is done: Arnica cap in acute care

  • Weleda arnica essence (planta tota mother tincture, it is important for it to contain the flowers, leaves and roots)
  • Warm water
  • A spray bottle or the like
  • Terrycloth towel or cap

Additionally, as an alternative:
  • Cotton cloth
  • Small basin for the arnica solution

  • Dilute arnica essence at a ratio of 1:10 in warm water, pour it into a spray bottle, spray the head (hair area) with ca. 5–10 puffs. Cover the head with the terrycloth towel or cap, let it work for ca. 30 min.
  • Alternatively, soak the cotton cloth in the arnica solution (see above), wring it out and place it on the entire hair area, including the forehead, and cover with a terrycloth towel or cap.
  • Another, simplified way of applying arnica, is to apply a forehead or neck compress several times a day for 30 minutes. This is suitable for headaches in connection with high fevers and infections, as well as for traumatic events.

How it is done: Arnica cap in long-term care
  • Weleda arnica essence (planta tota mother tincture, it is important for it to contain the flowers, leaves and roots)
  • 2 torn cloths ca. 60 x 60 cm
  • A small bowl
  • Medical strips
  • A thin wool cap

  • ca. 250 ml of warm water (ca. 40°C or 104°F) in a basin with 2 tsp arnica essence
  • Fold one cloth into a triangle, fold the long side ca. 4 cm, lay it on the forehead (from the eyebrows upwards), the patient holds the cloth in place with his/her hands
  • Lay a cloth around the entire head
  • Place the ends of the cloth one on top of the other beneath the back of the head at the start of the neck and fix them in place with a medical strip
  • Do the same with the second, dry cloth
  • Pull a wool cap over it
  • Settle the patient
  • Leave the compress on for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then remove everything. In severe cases this compress can be left on for up to 24 hours (it is very effective!), the inner cloth is dipped into the solution again every 3-4 hours.
  • Put the wool cap back on because of the moist hair and to envelop the area
  • Post-treatment rest 30 minutes

  • Rinse out the inner cloth and hang up all of the cloths to dry

Well-proven in many patients
1–2 times daily, as an acute treatment after a stroke it can also be constant
Length of therapy
In cases of concussion, continue at least as long as the acute symptoms last. To prevent long-term effects it makes sense to apply the arnica cap over several days.
In case of stroke, apply it as often as possible during the first week, followed by long-term treatment of 1 x daily over several weeks

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case 1
Several stroke patients receiving outpatient nursing care were seen to experience clear improvement or recovery of their ability to speak after about 4–8 weeks (even after previous rehab treatment).

Example case 2
In the case of a female patient with Berlin’s edema (commotio retinae) after a fall, who was hospitalized with a strong headache and positional vertigo, the pain and dizziness were clearly reduced within a few minutes of even the first application of arnica essence. The symptoms diminished greatly in the following days, so that the patient was able to leave the institution on the third day.


Red., US, LU


  • Merfort I. Arnika – Aktueller Stand hinsichtlich Wirksamkeit, Pharmakokinetik und Nebenwirkungen. Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie 2010;31(4)