One herb that I always keep on hand is Arnica (or scientifically, Arnica Montana). Though this is not an herb that can be taken internally, it has definitely earned its place in our house. Arnica is well known for its ability to help with bruises, sprains, strains, etc and can remove shock and speed healing. It can be put on areas of trauma after falls, accidents, etc.
Arnica is native to Europe and has been used for centuries. Many athletes use some form of Arnica to recover from muscle strain and speed recovery after a work-out.
From Mountain Rose Herbs:
Used as an infusion (approximately 1 teaspoon dried herb in 1/2 cup water), tincture (approximately 1 part herb to 10 parts alcohol), oil (1 part dried herb in 5 parts plant oil), or mouth rinse (1 part tincture in 10 parts water), or ointment (1 part arnica oil to 4 or 5 parts base). Only homeopathic preparations of arnica are recommended for internal use.
Arnica oils and creams are used topically to treat sprains, bruises, and muscle pain. Diluted tinctures of arnica are used in foot baths (1 teaspoon of tincture to a pan of warm water) to soothe sore feet. Grieve’s Herbal reported that nineteenth century American physicians recommended arnica tincture as a hair growth tonic. Homeopathic arnica is traditionally used to treat seasickness. Research published in June 2005 in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that homeopathic arnica can reduce post-partum bleeding.
Not for internal use. Do not swallow any form of arnica except homeopathics. Repeated application to the skin can cause irritation. Do not apply to broken skin. Not recommended while pregnant or nursing.” (except in homeopathic form)
How I Use Arnica:
Arnica can be used in tinctures, salves, vinegar tinctures, decoctions, etc. Here is a recipe for a salve I always keep in the house:
- 3/4 cup oil infused with arnica (pour oil over 1 ounce dried herbs in a jar, shake daily for six weeks) You can also buy the oil pre-made to save time.
- 1.5 oz Beeswax
- A few drops of Wintergreen Essential Oil
Directions: Warm oil in double boiler. Add beeswax and stir until melted. Add Wintergreen Oil in desired amount (warning-wintergreen is very strong!). Pour into desired storage container (we use small tins or little jam jars). Let cool.
Can be used on bruises, sprains, strains, head bumps, etc.
Ever used Arnica? How did it work for you?