Arnica montana

By Dr. Barbara Richey

If there’s one herbal remedy that I have used and prescribed to family and friends it is arnica!  I call it my ‘miracle herb.’  For example: my granddaughter has used arnica for carpal tunnel pain from her wrist.  I have used it for pain related to arthritis and on my back for pain with quick relief.

Arnica is an herb that grows mainly in Siberia and Central Europe. There is another species of arnica. Arnica fulgens, this species is grown across the Atlantic. The flowers of the plant are used in medicine.  The primary part of the arnica plant that is used are the bright yellow perennial flowers that resemble daisies.  Once dried they are ready to use for medicinal purposes.

Many people keep over-the-counter arnica handy in their medicine cabinet.  Its uses include bruises, swelling, pain relief, mosquito bites, arthritis, and other injuries. The salve can also be used for chapped lips.  Arnica speeds up the healing process and restricts inflammation.

Arnica speeds up the healing process and restricts inflammation.

I have made arnica salve on a number of occasions.  Arnica is recommended for topical use only but it can be made into a tincture.  Using a tincture of arnica is not unheard of as with many other herbs, i.e., mouth for sore throat and mouth pain after surgery following wisdom tooth extraction (be sure to spit it out – DO NOT SWALLOW), insect bites, swollen veins, bruising, and vision problems due to diabetes and stroke.

Never take arnica internally except in homeopathic form.  It is very toxic, but safe when used externally.

To use arnica tincture externally, dilute one tablespoon of arnica tincture in one pint of purified water.  Saturate a clean cloth or gauze pad in the diluted mixture and place on the area requiring attention.

I have osteoarthritis and my doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory for the pain. Instead of using pharmaceuticals that usually help but come with many side effects, I chose to use arnica salve regularly.  The relief I experience when using arnica is almost immediate.

How to Make Arnica Salve

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ Cs Organic Olive oil, Organic Sesame oil, Organic Coconut oil, Organic Almond oil, etc.
  • 3 TBSP Organic Arnica Flowers, Dried
  • 1 ½ TSP Organic Menthol Crystals
  • 1-2 oz. Raw Beeswax
  • 6 Drops Clove Bud Essential Oil, Organic
  • 4-5 Drops Peppermint or Menthol Essential Oil, Organic

Method

  1.  Prepare an herbal-oil infusion (Folk Method)
  2. After the oil infusion has been made, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or nylon fine mesh strainer reserve 1 cup of oil
  3. Using a double broiler or small pot, heat-over a low setting-the herb infused olive oil
  4. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Placing it in the refrigerator to cool also speeds up the cooling process.
  5. Add the menthol crystals and essential oils and stir until well combined. Vitamin “E” may be added to stabilize and add vitality to salve.
  6. Pour the salve into a small glass jar or containers of your choice and allow to cool completely.
  7. Store in a cool, dark place. Arnica salve keeps for 1-3 years depending on the quality of ingredients used.

Note:  Do not use arnica on open wounds or broken skin.

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References:

Green, James, 2002, The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook, A Home Manual

Dr. Weil – Arnica

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