The small plastic tubes contain homeopathic pills based upon an astronomical dilution of the European wildflower called Mountain Arnica… which looks a bit like wild daisies, or a small variety of the sunflowers whose seeds are such a delicacy for our mésange birds.
One of the first people to extol the benefits of Arnica was the German mystic Hildegard von Bingen [1098-1179], known to believers as Saint Hildegard.
More recently, my former neighbor Bob, who used to be a prominent rugby-player at St-Marcellin, told me that Arnica ointment was used regularly to treat players who got badly bruised in a match. Apparently, a guy who had been thrashed to pulp on the playing field only had to get smeared all over with Arnica and he would be fresh as a daisy. And after the match, the bruised rugby-player's girlfriend (according to Hildegard) would have been feverishly rucked!
I have an excellent book on medicinal herbs in our Vercors region:
The Arnica-based pharmaceutical products that Tineke bought for me are manufactured by an old family firm named Boiron, located in nearby Lyon. And when I say "family firm", this is literally the case. According to Wikipédia (in French), the president is a man named Boiron, the administrators are his brother and sister and their cousin. And board members include this cousin's husband and their daughter. Maybe this kind of closely-knit corporate structure has enabled them to test their products thoroughly upon one another…
Be that as it may, I was thrilled to discover yesterday that the Boiron products have just hit the headlines in the popular and respected US Jezebel website [access].
BREAKING NEWS: Not surprisingly, the Pharyngula blog of the celebrated US biologist and atheist P Z Myers has shot down the Jezebel article in flames [display]. His quantitative evaluation of the infinitesimal active agent in homeopathy is well-known and undeniable. I liked certain remarks concerning Boiron's herbal gel. Nobody seems to know whether or not it's a serious pharmaceutical product. On the other hand, if you like it, and it doesn't seem to harm you, then why not carry on using it? That's pretty lukewarm clinical advice, but I can't see how we might obtain a more informed judgment on the product. Incidentally, I'm intrigued to discover that the printed paper from Boiron attached to their gel affirms that it is a "homeopathic product". Are they suggesting that the actual Arnica in their tinctura has been diluted astronomically, as for their pills? Frankly, I have to admit that I don't understand what is meant by this claim. But I hasten to add that homeopathy is not a subject that interests me greatly. Live and let live...