Homeopathic arnica therapy in patients receiving knee surgery: results of three randomised double-blind trials

Complement Ther Med. 2006 Dec;14(4):237-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2006.04.004. Epub 2006 Oct 13.


Objectives: We investigated the effectiveness of homeopathic Arnica montana on postoperative swelling and pain after arthroscopy (ART), artificial knee joint implantation (AKJ), and cruciate ligament reconstruction (CLR).

Design: Three randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, sequential clinical trials.

Setting: Single primary care unit specialised in arthroscopic knee surgery.

Participants: Patients suffering from a knee disease that necessitated arthroscopic surgery.

Interventions: Prior to surgery, patients were given 1 x 5 globules of the homeopathic dilution 30x (a homeopathic dilution of 1:10(30)) of arnica or placebo. Following surgery, 3 x 5 globules were administered daily.

Primary outcome measures: The primary outcome parameter was difference in knee circumference, defined as the ratio of circumference on day 1 (ART) or day 2 (CLR and AKJ) after surgery to baseline circumference.

Results: A total of 227 patients were enrolled in the ART (33% female, mean age 43.2 years;), 35 in the AKJ (71% female, 67.0 years), and 57 in the CLR trial (26% female; 33.4 years). The percentage of change in knee circumference was similar between the treatment groups for ART (group difference Delta=-0.25%, 95% CI: -0.85 to 0.41, p=0.204) and AKJ (Delta=-1.68%, -4.24 to 0.77, p=0.184) and showed homeopathic arnica to have a beneficial effect compared to placebo in CLR (Delta=-1.80%, -3.30 to -0.30, p=0.019).

Conclusions: In all three trials, patients receiving homeopathic arnica showed a trend towards less postoperative swelling compared to patients receiving placebo. However, a significant difference in favour of homeopathic arnica was only found in the CLR trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arnica*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Homeopathy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy