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Homemade Arnica Salve Recipe

by | Jan 16, 2021 | Healthy Living, Herb, Herbal Remedies, Thrive

If you’re looking for natural pain relief from sore muscles, tension headaches, or bumps and bruises, arnica may be the answer. This “no more pain” arnica salve, made from homemade arnica oil, is a great recipe to have on hand to help ease the pain.

Tins of arnica salve with the ingredients laid out on a table.

It’s no surprise by now that we love herbs. We love planting medicinal herbs in our cottage garden, we love making homemade remedies like this elderberry syrup, this medicinal hop tea, and this garlic salve that’s a fantastic cough remedy.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Safe and effective for the whole family
  • Easy to make
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Inexpensive

Throughout the year on a homestead, there are many reasons to have sore muscles, bumps, bruises, and even tension headaches from tight muscles or stressful situations.

Turning to herbs and natural remedies for pain relief is something I desire to give my family, and it’s much easier than some might think. I especially love recipes like this arnica salve that I know are safe for the entire family.

From late spring to early autumn, we harvest wild arnica flowers in the surrounding forests, then we steep them in olive oil for a homemade arnica oil to use in remedies just like this. We know every ingredient in the salve, which gives us peace of mind about using it on our skin.

Woman standing in front of a hutch holding arnica oil and arnica salve.

Because we make our own arnica oil, this recipe is extremely inexpensive. But know that you can also buy the oil, if you don’t have time to make a homemade version (or if it’s winter and the wild arnica flowers aren’t available).

If you’d like to know how to make herbal oils, check out my YouTube video where I make a quart of arnica oil.

Four tins stacked of arnica salve.

Uses for Arnica Salve

Arnica is a great anti-inflammatory herb, when steeping it in oil, then mixing that oil into a salve with added peppermint, it makes a fantastic anti-inflammatory muscle relief balm.

  • Bumps and bruises – we use this a lot in the wintertime when we’re ice skating on our pond!
  • Sore muscles – after a big workout, a long day in the garden, or cleaning out stalls, this is the best salve to rub on tired shoulders and muscles.
  • Aches – some people like to use this for painful joints, such as arthritis, as the anti-inflammatory properties can help bring relief.
  • Tension headaches – one of my favorite uses for this salve is for tension headaches. If I get sore shoulders or an achy neck, sometimes that leads to a headache, so I like to rub this salve all over my neck and shoulders to help bring relief.
Ingredients for arnica salve on a wooden countertop.


  • Arnica oil – arnica is a wonderful oil for reducing pain and inflammation, making it perfect for this salve to help with bumps, bruises, muscle pain, and even tension headaches. (Learn how to make your own arnica oil here.)
  • Beeswax pellets – I recommend using beeswax pellets simply because they’re very easy to measure out, they melt extremely quickly, and you don’t have to grate a super hard block of wax yourself!
  • Vitamin E oil – because herbal oils can have a tendency to go rancid (due to residual water content in the flower/herb), it’s important to use some kind of preservative to keep your salve fresh. We like to use a natural preservative like vitamin E oil.
  • Peppermint essential oil – this is going to really aid in the pain relief for those sore muscles or headaches. You can reduce, or even omit the peppermint essential oil, but I highly recommend leaving it in for its pain-reducing benefits. Do be careful of using the salve around your eyes as peppermint can cause your eyes to water or burn.
Four tins of homemade arnica oil salve with homemade labels on each tin.

How to Make an Arnica Salve

Using a double boiler, add a couple cups of water into a pot, then place a heat-proof bowl over the top of the pot.

Turn the burner on and allow the water to come to a boil.

Add Arnica oil and beeswax pellets into the bowl of your double-boiler and stir consistently until the beeswax melts completely (about 5 minues).

A large glass bowl with oil and beeswax pellets over a double boiler.

Once the beeswax is melted, remove it from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then stir in vitamin E oil and essential oils.

A woman adding peppermint essential oil into a small measuring cup.

Pour the oil into a clean measuring cup that will make pouring into the tins easier.

A woman pouring a bowl of liquid salve into a glass measuring cup.

Divide the oil equally between four 2 ounce tins. Let cool completely and don’t forget to label your tins!

A woman pouring arnica salve into tins.

That’s it! I told you this recipe was simple!

You now have 4 – 2 oz tins of salve! Store one by your bedside, one in the bathroom, and tuck a couple away in convenient locations where sore muscles, bumps and bruises tend to occur!

How to Store Arnica Salve

Because this is a salve, it’s great to toss in your purse or car to keep handy to use as needed.

For the longest shelf-life of the salve, it’s best to store it long-term in a cool dark place without large temperature fluctuations.

And note that if you keep it in the car during the summer months, it may melt!

Dried herbs for medicinal use.

Healthy Healing at Home

If you’re interested in learning more about herbs and how to use them medicinally in your home, you’ll want to check out my Healthy Healing at Home FREE video series.

You’ll learn:

  • Which herbs to use for different health issues.
  • How to make herbal remedies for sleeplessness, restlessness, and stress.
  • 20 herbs that are completely family safe for everyone in your family and what the herbs are useful for.
  • How to understand how to use the herbal remedies, as well as when to use herbs, when to use essential oils, or when to see the family doctor.

Did you make this recipe? If so, we’d love for you to rate it with the stars in the recipe card below. Also, snap a photo and show us how you’re using it by tagging us on social media!

Four tins of homemade arnica oil salve with homemade labels on each tin.

Homemade Herbal Arnica Salve

This easy recipe whips up in just a few minutes. You can use this pain relieving arnica salve for bumps, bruises, aches and pains, including muslce soreness and tension headaches.
4.33 from 28 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 2 oz. tins
Author: Carolyn Thomas


  • 4 – 2 oz tins


  • 3/4 cup Arnica oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax pellets
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil


  • Using a double boiler, add a couple cups of water into a pot. then place a heat-proof bowl over the top of the pot.
  • Turn the burner on and allow the water to come to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, measure out the ingredients. Once the water is boiling, add arnica oil and beeswax pellets to the bowl of your double-boiler and stir consistently until the beeswax has melted (about 5 minutes)
  • Once the beeswax has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes on the counter to cool slightly.
  • Combine vitamin E oil and essential oils, then pour into the oil and beeswax mixture.
  • Stir to incorporate all oils then pour into a clean, dry pourable measuring cup.
  • Carefully divide the oil equally between the four 2-ounce tins. Don't forget to label your tins!
  • Let cool completely and store in a cool, temperature controlled cupboard.



How to use Arnica salve:

  • Rub on any sore joints or muscles.
  • Apply to bruises or bumps.
  • Rub on the back of the neck and along the jawline for tension headaches. 
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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