How to Make Arnica Gel

Written by erin watson-price
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How to Make Arnica Gel
Purchase dried Arnica montana blossoms or shred fresh blossoms from your garden. (Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Arnica Montana is the scientific name for Leopard's Bane or Wolf Bane. Herbalists have used extract of arnica since the 1500s to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches and stiff joints. Today, you can buy homeopathic arnica products in cream, gel or pill form at organic stores and the medicine aisle of most major grocery stores. If you grow arnica in your garden or just want the experience of making your own herbal medicines, you can create a simple arnica tincture. To make a topical gel, combine your tincture with over-the-counter aloe vera.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Glass container with lid
  • Arnica Montana flowers, dried or fresh
  • Knife
  • Vodka
  • Spoon
  • Cling film
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Coffee filter
  • Bowl
  • Ladle
  • Funnel
  • Amber dropper bottle
  • 4- to 170gr glass jar with lid

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Instructions

    Making Arnica Tincture

  1. 1

    Crumble the arnica flower heads. If you have purchased dried flowers, crumble them with your hands or cut them with a knife. For fresh flowers, pluck the petals from the head and tear the heads apart with your fingers.

  2. 2

    Measure out quantities of arnica and vodka. For dried flowers, use 1 part flowers to 5 parts vodka. For fresh flowers, use 1 part flowers to 3 parts vodka. The exact quantities will depend on the size of your container.

  3. 3

    Place the arnica and vodka in the glass container. Stir the contents vigorously.

  4. 4

    Cover the mouth of the container with cling film, then place the lid on the container.

  5. 5

    Place the container in a dark cupboard and allow the arnica flowers to soak for four to six weeks. Stir the contents every three to four days during the soaking period.

    Straining the Arnica Tincture

  1. 1

    Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth or coffee filters. Place the colander over a bowl.

  2. 2

    Pour the arnica and vodka over the filtering material in the colander. Allow the liquid to drain completely.

  3. 3

    Gather the filtering material and squeeze the remaining liquid from the arnica buds.

  4. 4

    Use a ladle and funnel to divide the tincture into amber dropper bottles. The tincture will keep for three to five years.

    Making Arnica Gel

  1. 1

    Measure 113gr of Aloe Vera gel and place it in the 4- to 170gr glass jar with lid. The aloe vera will not interfere with the action of the arnica and will aid in healing of bruises.

  2. 2

    Add 5 drops of arnica tincture for each ounce of gel. For 113gr, add 20 drops. For 170gr, add 30 drops.

  3. 3

    Stir the arnica tincture into the gel.

  4. 4

    Use the gel on bruises and stiff or swollen joints. If the gel does not seem as strong as over-the-counter gels, stir in an additional 5 drops and test again. Continue until you reach the desired strength.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people experience an allergic reaction to helenalin contained in arnica extracts. If you experience a rash or blistering while using arnica, discontinue immediately.

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