Learning how to make the perfect arnica salve is one of the first things you learn as a budding herbalist. Whether you spend your free-time gardening, are an avid hiker, an outdoor enthusiast, build things with your hands, suffer from joint disorders, have children, or are just clumsy like I am, a well-made arnica salve has a multitude of uses for healing all sorts of bumps and bruises.
How to Make The Perfect Fool-Proof Arnica Salve
Arnica is one of the most popular herbs to add to healing creams, salves, ointments, and balms.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed it for bruises! As soon as I wack into something, I simply apply a small amount where I need it and I can usually prevent a bruise from forming or help it heal much faster.
It’s quite magical, really.
Arnica has an affinity for increasing healthy blood flow to injuries by dilating the capillaries, removing stagnation, and encouraging healing.
The end result is decreased swelling and pain and faster healing.
Here are some of the uses and benefits of arnica:
• Can be massaged into muscles before and after exercise to stave off soreness
• Can be massaged into the skin pre-surgery to minimize swelling and healing time post-surgery (many people do this before getting their wisdom teeth extracted or before cosmetic surgery – though NEVER put arnica in your mouth, only externally)
• Heals and soothes bruises
• Helps speed the healing of overworked muscles and connective tissue injuries
• Is highly anti-inflammatory
• Reduces pain
• Relieves pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, and even tension headaches
The Perfect Arnica Salve Recipe
This recipe is really easy! You only need 3 ingredients – beeswax, carrier oil, and of course, dried arnica flowers.
Today, I’ll be making 4oz of arnica salve, but you can divide or multiply to the recipe as needed. I just find that this amount lasts me pretty much all year with a bit left to spare.
It stays fresh which is an added bonus!
Here’s what you’ll need to make 4oz of fool-proof arnica salve:
• A double boiler
• One 4oz container or smaller tins like this and this – you can give them away as gifts!
• ½ cup of carrier oil – I recommend going with an oil that does not go rancid easily like jojoba or fractionated coconut oil – this one doesn’t smell like coconuts.
• 1 TB of beeswax pellets – I used white, but the yellow version gives this salve a wonderful golden color!
• ¼ cup of dried arnica flowers – I pack them in since the flowers are so light
Loving Preparation – Arnica Salve Recipe
• Simmer the oil and flowers for one hour – make sure that the water in your double boiler doe does not evaporate completely. Top up as needed.
• After an hour, strain the arnica flowers from the oil into a heat-safe glass container (I simply used the 4oz jar I wanted to store the salve in, but you can use a small pyrex measuring cup or similar).
• Add the beeswax pellets to the strained arnica oil and return it to the double boiler until completely melted. Stir to mix.
• Once melted through, Pour the final mixture into your container of choice.
• Allow to cool completely before use.
This salve has a very petroleum-like texture that is super easy to rub into the skin. However, if you would like a firmer salve, simply add one more TB of beeswax pellets.
How to Use Arnica Salve
Arnica salve is best used on closed wounds since it can be irritating for some people when used on open wounds.
This salve works well for tense or sore muscle, stiff and aching joints, bumps, bruises, strains, and sprains.
It’s the perfect companion for avid outdoor enthusiasts, adventurous children, and for anyone who feels like their muscles are over-worked or their joints are aching.
To use arnica salve, simply apply a small amount over the areas that need it and gently rub it in.
For arthritis, you can apply this salve as needed for pain relief and to decrease inflammation in the joints.
To help decrease pain and swelling after surgery, massage a small amount of arnica salve over the area where the surgery will take place 1-2x daily.
Alternatively, you can also take an arnica homeopathic to achieve the same results pre and post-surgery.
*** Do not use arnica salve orally since arnica itself can be toxic if ingested.
Have you made arnica salve before? How did it turn out and what do you use it for? Please share in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Lyss, Guido, et al. “Helenalin, an anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica, selectively inhibits transcription factor NF-κB.” Biological chemistry 378.9 (1997): 951-962.
Ramelet, A-A., et al. “Homoeopathic arnica in postoperative haematomas: a double-blind study.” Dermatology 201.4 (2000): 347-348.
Stevinson, C., et al. “Homeopathic arnica for prevention of pain and bruising: randomized placebo-controlled trial in hand surgery.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 96.2 (2003): 60-65.