DIY: Simple Arnica Salve |

DIY: Simple Arnica Salve

admin April 6, 2015

Written by Kate Tietje

If you haven’t heard of arnica salve (or cream), you’re missing out!

If you read our arnica herbal profile, you’d know arnica is toxic if eaten. Still, when diluted correctly in homeopathic medicine or used topically, it’s excellent for helping to heal bumps and bruises. Other benefits of arnica include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • May reduce pain
  • Promotes hair growth
  • And more

These benefits come from one of the active constituents in arnica called helenalin. Helenalin is a known anti-inflammatory, driving tinctures, pills, balms, and arnica oils to have dramatic anti-inflammatory properties.

It seriously takes the sting out of the average minor injury and can sometimes prevent bruising. Once, I dropped something on my foot, and it really hurt. Even half an hour later, walking was still stinging and hard. I got my arnica salve, rubbed it on, and in minutes it barely hurt at all.

Arnica salve is a fantastic natural remedy to keep in your first aid kit for spring and summer. Kids are more likely to fall when they’re outside a lot, running around. Although this shouldn’t be used on broken skin, this salve helps the injury and gives you something to “do” besides giving a bandaid when little ones are upset about the bump they just received. Like the idea of an arnica salve but not ready to make your own? Earthley’s Arnica Salve is the best way to quickly relieve pain and swelling from minor injuries and sore muscles. This salve uses the power of herbs to help shrink the appearance of bumps and bruises and promote healing. It’s a must-have for any family.

Simple Arnica Salve

Commercial arnica salve, gel, or cream is availabl but not cheap. Expect to pay upwards of $10 for a 2-4 ounce tube!

I like to keep arnica salve around all the time. In my purse, the diaper bag, the medicine cabinet, really anywhere I might be, just in case. I can’t afford to spend $40 or more to have this on hand.

But making it is incredibly inexpensive. Arnica flowers are expensive (about $8 for 1 ounce), but that bag will last forever. One ounce of arnica flowers would probably make you 30-40 1-ounce tins. In the past, some friends and I had a DIY night, and I gave each person a small bag with some arnica flowers and beeswax so they could make this at home as a bonus project (we also made five different projects together). If you have a shop near you where you can buy herbs in bulk, you could get a fraction of an ounce for $1-$2 and still be able to make several tins.

The other ingredients are super simple: olive oil (or any liquid oil you prefer — avocado, sweet almond, apricot, jojoba, etc.) and beeswax.


  • 1 tbsp. arnica flowers
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp. beeswax


Step 1: Mix the arnica flowers and olive oil in a small saucepan over very low heat. Once it is warm, turn it off.

Step 2: Let this oil mixture sit for 1-2 hours.

Step 3: Strain the oil mixture through a cloth (washcloths work fine), reserving the oil, squeezing out the excess from the herb, and throwing out the flowers.

Step 4: Pour the oil into a clean, dry saucepan and add the beeswax. Turn on low heat until the beeswax is melted.

Step 5: Pour the finished salve into one 2-ounce tin or two 1-ounce tins, depending on your preference. Two tins let you keep it in two different places. You don’t need much at once, so I chose to pour mine into 1-ounce tin. 

That’s it! Once the salve has cooled, put the lids on and store them in a cool, dry place. It could get messy if it melts  – like if you leave it in your car in the summer – but it should be fine. It will just need to re-solidify, which can quickly be done by popping it in the fridge.

Use a small amount as needed on bumps and bruises on non-broken skin. Safe for babies over six months.

How do you treat bumps and bruises?

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  1. Hi there! I’m so excited to make this! I have the oil and beeswax, will be buying the tins and arnica flowers soon! I am wondering how you decided on using for 6 months and older. I just used Hyland’s arnica spray on my 18 month old the other day when she fell and then decided to read on ages and found lots of mix reviews on children. I like this recipe as it doesn’t contain alcohol and is less likely to drip (don’t want it in her eyes and etc). Thanks for your reply and recipe!!!


  2. […] Arnica salve is for bumps, bruises, and swelling.  It helps for minor muscle strains or twists, prevents bruising, and more.  It’s good if you’re hiking and are feeling sore at the end of the day.  It’s also good if little ones trip on the playground and bump their knee (but it shouldn’t be used on broken skin).  Make your own! […]


  3. […] extra sore days, a little arnica is warranted (topically).  A nice cup of chamomile tea might help, too — it relaxes you, so at least […]


  4. […] like this homemade pain cream.  (This recipe uses essential oils — if you prefer, try this homemade arnica salve for pain, which is based on whole herbs and safer for the whole […]


  5. I only have arnica flower extract, I don’t have the actual flowers, would just putting in a tablespoon of arnica extract in the recipe work too?


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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