Arnica Herb Profile

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Arnica for muscle recovery and healing
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Arnica Herb Profile

I use many herbs daily for their medicinal, culinary and therapeutic properties. One herb that I don’t use daily but 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. It is well known for its ability to help externallywith 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 it to recover from muscle strain and speed recovery after a work-out.

Though it should never be taken internally, some homeopathic remedies are available that are generally considered safe. It should also not be applied to broken or burned skin.

From Mountain Rose Herbs:

How to Use:

It can be used in various ways depending on the need:

  • On the skin as an infusion to spray on for aches and sprains (1 teaspoon dried herbs in 1/2 cup water)
  • A tincture (1 ounce dried flower preserved in 8 ounces/1 cup of food grade alcohol)
  • An infused oil (1 ounce dried flowers preserved in 4 ounces/.5 cup oil) This post explains how to make an infused oil.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Important Notes:

Arnica is never to be used internally and it is important not to ingest any form of arnica except homeopathics. It is also not recommended to apply to broken or cut skin and some people may notice skin irritation from the use of arnica topically. Not recommended (even topically) while pregnant or nursing. (except in homeopathic form)

Arnica Salve Recipe

Arnica can be used in tinctures, salves, vinegar tinctures, decoctions, etc. Here is a recipe for a salve I always keep in the house:

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.

Other Natural Remedies:

Check out my full index of natural remedies by clicking here.

If you’re just getting started with natural remedies, I’d also recommend some of these basic recipes:

Ever used Arnica? How did it work for you? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


56 responses to “Arnica Herb Profile”

  1. Randall Walters Avatar
    Randall Walters

    I have some pure Arnica powder and would like to make lotion with it, but don’t know how much to use. Does anyone have a recipe for Arnica powder. Thank you

  2. Miranda T Avatar
    Miranda T

    Hi, I made an arnica tincture (arnica in alcohol). It has sat about 6 months to a year. How can I use it? Can I make it into a salve or is it just a tincture now?

  3. Shawna Avatar

    What if i use arnica tablets to infuse the oil? Is that a possible thing? Do you know how?

  4. Katie Avatar

    Hi Katie, For the infusion to spray on the skin, should the water be warm and heated or just soaked in the water room temperature? Thanks!

  5. Ana I Rosario Avatar
    Ana I Rosario

    Hello Wellness mama,
    May I use Arnica infusionin oil or buy Arnica oil to make dyi soaps?

  6. Meaghan Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama, I just read in a “What to Expect” article that you can use arnica oil topically for dry skin. But you didn’t mention that in this post. I’ve never used it (or heard of it) but all I’ve read seems like it’s used to smooth achiness and heal bruising faster. Would you use this topically while pregnant? And do you think it would soothe itchy skin?

  7. Kim Avatar

    Be very careful of ingesting even the homeopathic oral form of arnica. Even that can have serious side effects. Read up on the contraindications before taking the oral form, or err on the safe side and use it topically.

  8. Kit Avatar

    Katie, As the poster just above, I too am hoping to discover if I can add arnica oil to your magnesium lotion. I’ve had a knee replacement that did not go well 7 years ago and now arthrit has set in around it. Also Arthritis in my feet.

    Appreciate all of you’re hard work! love your lifestyle, homeschooling, large family, and healthy living! Thank-you!

      1. Patty Avatar

        Hi Katie. Thank you for this great article. I sprained my ankle pregnant and want to know if you have ever used arnica pregnant topically?

  9. Cheryl George Avatar
    Cheryl George

    I have recently bruised possibly cracked a rib. I have a small vile of Homeopathic liquid Arnica 30C. Label says for bruising and to take 4 drops in a tsp. of water 3 times a day. After reading all these comments I’m hesitant to take internally. Should I mix it with a liquid and apply directly to the bruised area or take internally? The bottle is about two years old, I’m not familiar with homeopathic remedies so I’m a bit reluctant…any input would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Lisa Avatar

    Just found out i have a meniscus tear and heard arnica could help, after going too the mountain rose herbs website it said not too use when nursing. Do you know why? Or do they have to put that on their for legal purposes? I use essential oils everyday and love them! Thanks!

  11. Kelly Avatar

    I love your recipe for Magnesium oil/lotion. I am wondering if I could add arnica to a magnesium oil. I find a lot of relief for the arthritis in my feet, and I am wondering if arnica could be extra helpful. Thoughts?!

  12. Judy Grant Avatar
    Judy Grant

    I am still a little concerned about the toxicity of Arnica. Is it not true that your skin is an organ and absorbs what is put on it?

    1. Chuck Avatar

      It is true that your skin absorbs things, but while A. montana is toxic, the toxicity is low enough that only when taken internally are you likely to have problems with dosage–though I wouldn’t recommend covering your whole body in it!

      1. Christie Avatar

        I’m a sports massage therapist, and work about eight hour days. I was impressed with arnica’s results with my clients and used it continuously for months. A little known side effect of extended overuse is lactation. There is a little information on the internet about it if you can find it. So my personal experience is that yes- you can over do it. Your skin is your largest organ of the body and absorbs what you put on it. I would suggest Moderation.

    1. Chuck Avatar

      I agree with Katie.

      For smaller children especially, I’d tend to go towards plantain-based salves and avoid strong extracts.

      Arnica will work better on bruises, but kids often get scratches & such and the contraindications on internal use of arnica are enough to concern me. Plantain/aloe combinations are far less risky.

      Strong extracts tend to be chancy on sensitive skin.

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