Native Americans referred to Arnica as mountain tobacco and leopard’s bane, and utilized the plant for sprains, bruises and wounds. Arnica is also an ancient European treatment for bruises, sprains and muscle aches. In the old days, the plant was ground and applied to any blunt force injury that needed healing.
Lloyd had a great deal to say about Arnica in his ‘History of Medicinal Plants’. “All parts of this plant, Arnica montana, were popular remedies in Germany at a very early period. The early botanists, such as Matthiolus, Gesner and Clusius, had a knowledge of its medicinal qualities, as used by the common people." The herb was also recognized in the London Pharmacopeia, 1788.
Dr. Webster, writing in 1898, had this to say: “The place for arnica in affections of the muscles is in the treatment of the painful condition of these organs following sprains. Wherever a muscle has been subjected to over-strain from any cause it is the appropriate remedy, and probably as reliable a one as we have, though not always effective. Pain and soreness of the shoulders or other parts of the body, due to injuries or strains should suggest it."
Arnica is indigenous to mountain areas, and is readily identified by its large orange blossoms. Arnica blossoms are harvested at maturity, and once dried are used to make various tinctures, extracts, oils, creams, gels and lotions.
Arnica should never be used internally unless it is in homeopathic preparations professionally prepared and specifically intended for internal use. It should also not be used on cuts or abrasions, but only on areas where skin is intact.
For a simple yet incredibly powerful way to use Arnica, make this lovely salve for general muscle complaints and relief of discomfort. This also makes a fantastic gift for family members and friends.
Ready Relief Rub
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Shea Butter
1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
1 teaspoon Aloe Vera Juice
1 tablespoon Arnica Flowers
1 tablespoon Calendula Flowers
5 drops Marjoram Essential Oil
5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
Add the coconut oil, shea butter, arnica and calendula flowers to a small canning jar. Put lid on it and place in a crock pot set on low, with water around the jar to a level just higher than the oils and flowers in the jar. Allow to gently warm together for 24 hours. Add more water as needed to keep levels higher than the oil infusion. Every few hours, using a hot pad, remove the jar and gently shake.
After 24 hours (or more) have passed, strain infused oil through a fine mesh strainer into a small glass or stainless steel pot. While oil is still warm enough to maintain its liquid state, mix in the Vitamin E oil, aloe vera, and essential oils. (Gently re-warm on stove if oils begin firming up before additional ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.) Once all ingredients are thoroughly blended, pour into a small glass or metal container and allow to cool. It should be firm yet soft enough to scoop out as needed at room temperature. Ready Relief Rub should stay shelf stable for at least 6 months. Refrigeration will extend its shelf life.
Note: Arnica should only be used externally and never applied to mucous membranes, eyes, broken skin, or to an open wound. It should never be taken internally for any reason, unless in a prepackaged homeopathic remedy.
Pregnancy/Lactation: Arnica is not considered safe for use in pregnancy. It has similar compounds to oxytocin, a compound used to induce labor. In general, it is considered safe to use while breastfeeding as long as applied as directed, but we suggest speaking with a lactation consultant, healthcare practitioner or herbalist before using any new herb while lactating.
Storage: Due to the Beeyoutiful's Herbs and Bulk Foods being organic or wildcrafted, there is a slight chance that there could be some naturally occurring bugs. Beeyoutiful takes precautions on our end to minimize the chances, but we do suggest that you store them in a cold area - possibly the freezer - in an air tight container.