Grow Arnica for a Homemade Sore Muscle Salve


| 2/20/2017 1:45:00 PM


If you’re like me, you tend to overdo things when the weather is beautiful and you’ve been cooped up all winter. Just last weekend, we had 70 degree temperatures in February. I ran outside in a t-shirt and began aggressively cutting back dead flower stalks to make room for new growth. I yanked weeds, turned the compost, pulled the mulch off the strawberries, and spread seeds for a new bed of poppies. It was glorious! However; my body — still accustomed to winter’s lazier habits — was not happy the next day.  The backs of my legs were super sore, and if I’d been better prepared I would’ve had some of my homemade arnica salve on hand.

Arnica montana in field
Fotolia/Didi Lavchieva

Arnica’s Healing Properties

Arnica is used topically to help ease the pain of sore muscles and heal bruises. According to the German Commission E’s arnica monograph, it’s an approved anti-inflammatory with analgesic (pain-relieving) and antiseptic properties. In a 2007 study, arnica gel was found to be as effective as Ibuprofen gel for relieving pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

Gels and ointments containing arnica are available as over-the-counter applications in most pharmacies, however they contain petroleum, preservatives, and other ingredients that can easily be avoided by making your own simple arnica salve with homegrown or store-bought arnica flowers.



Arnica is not safe to consume internally and should only be used topically.



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