I’ve been moving into my new house and I’ve really taken a beating during the process. I get done at the end of the day and I’m tired, have bruises I don’t remember getting, and my knees and elbows seem creaky. I decided making an Arnica cream was in order:
What is Arnica?
Arnica montana is a small plant with yellow daisy like flowers. These flowers are often collected and dried for medicinal use. It is used most often in healing bruised skin, sprains, swelling, and sore muscles.
For a DIY cream for bruises and sore muscles, the dried flowers can be infused into oil (keep reading for instructions) or soaked in water to make a part of the cream. Arnica can also be used in soaps. It is very poisonous internally, and so should NEVER be used internally or on broken skin. However, it’s safe and beneficial to use externally. Homeopathic preparations are very different and are very carefully and stringently controlled. What we are using here is the whole herb.
Home Remedies for Bruises and More!
- ⅔ cup carrier oil – sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, etc. (find good quality carrier oils here)
- ½ cup dried arnica (find dried arnica flowers here)
- ¼ cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles, or other wax of your choice (find waxes here)
- ¼ cup cocoa, shea, or mango butter (find organic butters here)
- ¼ teaspoon borax (find naturally sourced cosmetic grade borax here)
- ¼ cup distilled or filtered water
- 3-4 drops comfrey infused oil, optional – prepare using the same measurements and directions as arnica infused oil (find dried comfrey root here or comfrey leaf here)
- Using a heatproof container, heat your carrier oil with the dried arnica. Keep warm for a half hour or so. Strain out arnica flowers and compost or discard them.
- Measure out ½ cup infused oil and add the wax to the oil. Heat until the wax melts. Then add the butter and keep the mixture hot.
- In another container, stir the borax into the water and heat until very hot. When the two mixtures are very hot, very slowly pour the water/borax mixture into the oil/wax mixture. (Be careful, as it will probably bubble up.) Stir as you go, gradually mixing the two together. Stir for a few minutes then add the optional comfrey infused oil.
- Use a stick blender to mix completely. You can incorporate air into it if you like it fluffy or keep it more like a cream. When blended, transfer to jars and close tightly.
Apply cream on bruises and sore muscles to speed healing. DO NOT use on broken skin.
A few notes on ingredients
Why is borax in the arnica cream? Borax acts as an emulsifier to bond the oil and water in this recipe. It’s also antibacterial and helps slow the growth of bacteria in your finished cream. (Uncomfortable about using borax? Warnings about borax state that it should not be used undiluted or get into your eyes or mouth. Since it is a very small amount of diluted borax, and the cream will not be used on your eyes or mouth, we consider it to be safe in this preparation.)
What’s the purpose of the comfrey infused oil? This ingredient is optional, but plays an important role in the cream. Comfrey is also called “knitbone” – it has been said to help speed the healing of sprained muscles and help set broken bones faster.
Ingredient for arthritis sufferers – If you have arthritis, you can add 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder to the dried arnica and infuse it into the oil. This can help to ease pain and stimulate circulation.
Have you ever used arnica? How has it worked for you? Let us know!