Homemade Arnica Salve - My go to for sore and aching muscles

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.

I make my own arnica salve and arnica oil but include St. John’s Wort, after a hard day on the farm it’s my go to for sore aching muscles, bruises and cuts.  I had a full day hand shearing sheep last week and getting full on head butted by a large 5 month old ram lamb that was trying to escape, leaving me with a golf ball size lump right in the centre of my forehead!  The first thing I did was apply my arnica salve to take away the swelling!

I finally finished my shearing on Sunday after mowing all the lawns (which are the size of a small field), it was a hot day and my God I was aching by the end of it!  So, I knocked up a batch of soothing bath soak made with arnica oil, gathered up some of my handmade lavender candles and had a long relax in the bath

My homemade arnica salve recipe is so easy to make and works wonderfully!  You only need a few ingredients but if you don’t want to make your own you can buy it from my store here.

Here is what you will need:

  • Arnica
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Essential Oil of your choice (optional)
  • Clean Jar
  • Beeswax
  • Carrier Oil(s)

Carrier oils are usually liquid but I have included coconut oil in the list because I love coconut oil, it can be solid or liquid depending on the temperature.  You can choose more than one oil, my favourites to use are coconut and hemp seed oil.

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Avocado 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.

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 to soothe my tired and tense muscles, bruising and pretty much everything else.  I also have mild arthritis in my fingers because of past injuries so particularly in winter I use the salve like you would a hand cream before I go to sleep.

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-inflammatory 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 130g of arnica and 2 tablespoons of St. John’s Wort.

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 250ml of infused oil.

Pour the oil in to a dish and add bees wax, heat the infused oil in a double boiler over a low heat until the bees wax melts and blends with the oil.  Once the beeswax is melted into the oil remove the dish from the heat.

Add your essential oil, I use organic tea tree, this is optional, I add about 20-30 drops – you can add more or less.

Storing Your Salve

I use glass jars and lipsil size tins so it’s handy to carry around in my bag or pocket.  It cools and sets quickly so I recommend you do this 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.

Homemade Arnica Salve Recipe


  • 130g Arnica
  • 2 tablespoons St. John's Wort
  • 250ml of carrier oil. I use 125ml coconut oil & 125ml of hemp seed oil
  • 30g beeswax
  • 20-40 drops of essential oil (optional)

*I use organic ingredients


  1. Infuse the oil with the herbs. (solar, slow-cooker, or double boiler method)
  2. Drain the herbs.
  3. Place infused oil in jar.
  4. Add beeswax.
  5. Heat in a saucepan of water over low heat until the beeswax is melted in the oil.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add essential oil, if using. Swoosh jar.
  8. Pour oil into storage container.




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