What is arnica oil derived from? What is the benefits of using it?
How to make an oil infusion, and how to use it.
The oil is made from the arnica plant found in the central and northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is native in the mountains of Europe and Siberia and cultivated in North America.
The plant grows 1-2 feet and has daisy like yellow-orange flowers and bright green toothed slightly hairy and round tipped leaves.
The fresh or dried flower heads are what is used for medicinal preparations and are used to make an infused oil that can be used as a carrier.
The essential oil is highly toxic and should not be used in aromatherapy. Be sure and store it separate from your essential oils.
Other extractions do have valuable uses. It is most common found as a tincture, but you can also get an infused oil, or a hydrolate which is safe to use.
As a carrier oil Arnica montana should not be used pure, if you have a pure oil always dilute in a 30/70 solution (use at least 70% or more of a 100% use carrier oil like almond or grapeseed).
It is usually sold as ‘arnica massage base oil” which is pre-diluted, as it is very expensive, so no further diluting would be necessary, but make sure what you have before use.
Some Cautions to Consider
Arnica oil should not be used by pregnant women
It can cause skin irritation, such as eczema, peeling, blisters, etc, if used in a tropical preparation for an extended time.
It should not be used on broken skin.
If you are hypersensitive or allergic to this herb do not use.
Arnica is poisonous when taken internally, causing dizziness, tremors, and heart irregularities.
It can irritate the mucous membranes and cause vomiting.
It is fatal in large doses. (There is an exception when used in homoeopathic medicine where it is used in miniscule doses under the care of a physician.)
The infused arnica oil is beneficial for muscle aches or injured muscles, sprains, bruises, dislocations, swelling due to fractures, trama to soft tissue, rheumatic pain, and inflammation from insect bites.
It makes an excellent massage oil for sport injuries and sore muscles, as it helps to reduce bruising and relaxes tense muscles.
Arnica cream is great to keep in a plant based medicine chest.
Making an Infused Oil
You can make an infused oil with one part dried arnica flowers and five parts vegetable oil.
Put the dried flowers in a glass jar and cover with carrier oil. Put a paper towel over the top of the jar and secure with a rubber band or the canning ring if using a canning jar. Let set for about six weeks, checking regularly to make sure the dried flowers stay under the oil, add more if needed.
When done strain your oil with cheesecloth and a strainer. Put in your jar, cap and label it.
Mountain Rose Herbs has dried bulk arnica flowers.
They also have carrier oils for your infusions.
From Nature With Love also carries a nice selection of Carrier Oils but they do not have the dried flowers.
Using the infused oil
Use as an external treatment for physical trauma, sprains, bruising and other injuries. Can be used immediately after strenuous exertion or injury to help prevent, relieve and reduce swelling, bruises and pain.
Use 15% of the infused oil and blend it with 85% of one of the 100% use carrier oils (like almond oil), and massage into sore area. (use about 14 TBSP almond oil or oil of your choice with about 2 TBSP of the infused oil)
Arnica oils ability to reduce inflammation and bruising makes it a good choice to create salves and ointments for bruises.
To a make a Salve or Ointment use 15% of the infused oil and 85% of a combination of olive oil and beeswax. (warm 1 cup olive oil with 2-3 tsp beeswax and stir until melted then add about 2 TBSP of the infused oil)
To make a Basic Cream melt together 1/2 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter (or 1/4 cup of each) about 3/4 cup of a carrier oil like almond oil and 3-4 tsp of beeswax (use a double boiler) stir until blended, add about 1/4 cup of the infused oil. Put 1/2 cup distilled water or floral water in blender and start it, slowly pour in the oil mix in a fine stream, it will thicken and become creamy.
Mountain Rose Herbs has an Arnica herbal oil.
Made from fresh certified organic Arnica flowers (Arnica montana), infused in certified organic Olive Oil.
From Nature With Love also has an Arnica oil.
The oil is created by infusing arnica flowers in soybean oil. 10 parts of this oil are equal to 1 part arnica blossoms.
(a tincture is an alcoholic solution of a medicinal substance)
Learn how to make a tincture here.
Tincture: 1:10 solution using 70% ethanol
Ways to use:
Creams and ointments: use 20-25% tincture to make a cream, ointment or salve, apply to problem area (use the same method for making the cream or salve in the infused oil section above but use 20-25% of the tincture instead of the infused oil)
Compresses or Poultices: use the tincture diluted 3-10 times in cool or warm water, saturate soft cloth and apply to injury or sore area
Return from Arnica Oil to Carrier Oils
Check out the benefits for some of the many essential oils to see which you may want to add to your carrier oil
Recipes for lotions, sprays, salves, infused oils and more
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