Arnica salve is a must-have in any natural first aid kit. Arnica reduces pain and inflammation and is great to use on bruises, aches, sprains, strains and even arthritis flare-ups. Arnica also helps to reduce irritation from insect bites. Health food stores often carry an assortment of arnica preparations but why not make your own concoction? I am happy to share my homemade arnica salve recipe, it is easy to make and works wonderfully.
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Homemade Arnica Salve Ingredients
Making your own arnica salve is easy to do, you only need a few ingredients. Here is what you will need:
- St. John’s Wort
- Wintergreen Essential Oil (optional, don’t use if pregnant!)
- Clean Jar
- Carrier Oil(s)
Carrier oils are usually liquid but I have included coconut oil in the list because it is my favorite and can be solid or liquid depending on the temperature. You can choose more than one oil, my favorites to use are coconut and sweet almond oils.
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Avocado oil
- Castor oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Apricot kernel oil
Health Benefits of Arnica
Arnica is a plant of the daisy family that bears yellow daisy like flowers. Arnica flowers and roots have been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine.
Folklore tells us that humans learned the value of Arnica by observing mountain goats, who would clamber to find the Arnica plant after falling or stumbling. Following the animals’ lead, locals began to apply the herb for bruises, mostly in the form of external salves or steeped in teas. –arnica.com
Arnica oil, the main ingredient in my salve, contains helenalin. Helenalin is a potent anti-inflammatory, making it a necessity in a natural first aid kit. Arnica oil is very helpful for healing and relieving bumps, bruises, muscle aches, spasms, and sprains. Arnica oil has been known to improve carpal tunnel and help to treat osteoarthritis. I use arnica salve after every family road trip to soothe my tired and tense muscles.
Most of arnica oil’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties are attributed to its thymol derivatives. Thymol has been found to be an effective vasodilator of blood capillaries. This helps facilitate the transport of blood and other fluid accumulations and acts as an anti-inflammatory to aid normal healing processes.
Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has a distinct yellow five-petaled flower. This plant is used in medicinal preparations to treat various disorders. Many know that St. John’s Wort is used to treat depression but it is also great at easing injuries and pain.
St. John’s Wort has antioxidant and anti-infalmmatory compounds which make it great for easing aching pains from arthritis and gout. This herb also helps with joint discomfort and muscle aches. St. John’s Wort can reduce scarring and relieve pain and itching related to wound healing.
Homemade Arnica Salve Recipe
First, you need to infuse your carrier oil with arnica and St. John’s Wort. Place your herbs in a sterile (boil before using) glass jar. I use 1 cup of arnica and 2 tablespoons of St. John’s Wort.
Next, add the carrier oil(s). I use 1 cup of olive oil and 1 cup of coconut oil. First the olive oil….
Then the coconut oil….
Infusing the Oils
Now you will need to infuse the oil. There are several ways to do infuse oils with herbs.
- Solar Infusion Method: The best method is solar-infusion. To solar infuse your oil simply place your jar of oil and herbs in the sun for at least 4 weeks. Swoosh the jar occasionally.
- Slow Cooker Method: To use a slow-cooker place a towel in the bottom of your slow cooker and set your jar of oils and herbs on it. Fill the cooker half way with water and set to warm or low for 8-10 hours. Gently swoosh the jar occasionally.
- Double Boiler Method: To use the double boiler method place your jar of oil and herbs in a pot filled with water. Warm jar over low heat for at least an hour. The lower the heat and the longer time the better. Gently swoosh the jar every 10 or so minutes.
Once your oil is infused with the arnica and St. John’s Wort it is time to strain the herbs out of the oil. I place a metal strainer with unbleached coffee filters or mullein cloth on top of a glass dish then pour the oil and herbs into it.
Allow the oil to drain through the herbs and cloth dripping into the container. I often become impatient once most of the oil drains and use a spoon to speed up the process.
Typically, I end up with about 1 1/2 cups of infused oil.
I place this oil into a new sterilized jar. I must have been a bit too impatient because I see a few bits of herbs in my oil, I’m okay with that. Pour in the beeswax and put the top on the jar. It is time to heat the infused oil and beeswax over low heat in a saucepan of water. Swoosh the jar often so that the beeswax melts and incorporates with the oil.
Once the beeswax is melted into the oil remove the jar from the heat.
At this time, you can add the wintergreen essential oil. This ingredient is optional and not recommended for pregnant women. Wintergreen is a pain reliever and provides a refreshing cooling effect. I add 20-40 drops of wintergreen essential oil, you can add more or less.
Storing Your Salve
It is now time to pour the oil into your storage containers. I use glass jars, some prefer plastic or tin. The oil will be hot, proceed with caution.
Allow the jars to cool. It will form into a nice salve rather quickly.
It is now time to enjoy the wonderful health benefits of your homemade arnica salve!
Precautions! Do not apply arnica directly to broken skin or open wounds, as it may cause severe irritation. Do a patch test to see if you have any allergic reactions to this herbal oil.
- 1 cup Arnica
- 2 tablespoons St. John's Wort
- 2 cups of carrier oil. I use 1 cup coconut oil & 1 cup of olive oil
- ½ cup unbleaced beeswax
- 20-40 drops of wintergreen essential oil (optional)
- *I use organic ingredients
- Infuse the oil with the herbs. (solar, slow-cooker, or double boiler method)
- Drain the herbs.
- Place infused oil in jar.
- Add beeswax.
- Heat in a saucepan of water over low heat until the beeswax is melted in the oil.
- Remove from heat.
- Add essential oil, if using. Swoosh jar.
- Pour oil into storage container.
To see more of my homemade hygiene recipes please click here.
If you don’t want to make your own you can always hop over to my Etsy store and purchase a jar made with Peace & Love by me.
DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.