Our favorite homemade remedy for sprains and bruises is Yarrow and Arnica Bruise Cream. Arnica is known for its pain-relieving properties and yarrow herb is highly regarded for bruises and sprains.
Traveling can be fun. In fact, it may even be the highlight of your summer as you explore new places and trek new roads. All that trekking can also lead to bruises and sprains from bumping into immovable objects and taking missteps.
There is no better way to get relief than to combine the pain-relieving properties of arnica with the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties of yarrow, which is highly regarded for healing wounds, bruises, and sprains.
Making Homemade Healing Salves
Homemade salves are a good way to tap into the benefits of the herbs you have growing in your own back yard. Salves deliver the medicinal actions of herbs directly to the body via the skin. Salves are often used for skin conditions, bruising, dryness, rashes, boils, and abrasions, but they can also be used to deliver warmth and anti-inflammatory actions to the body.
Get to Know Arnica
Mountain Sunflower, or Arnica montana, is a bright yellow, daisy-like flower that blooms in Spring on nutrient-poor hillsides, rocky places, and stony plains. The plant is toxic if ingested in large quantity but highly beneficial when used topically or as a highly diluted homeopathic tincture.
Arnica was found to have the same pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effect as Ibuprofen (5%) when used in a gel at 50% concentration. This is the concentration that you would get if you infused the flowers in olive oil. There are reports in the literature of paralysis being healed with the use of arnica, as well. Arnica is definitely an herb that is worth getting to know better.
It has a pungent smell, its stem is slightly fuzzy, soft, hairy leaves. The name arnica comes from the Greek “arni” meaning lamb for this characteristic. The whole plant is used in herbal medicine, but since it is a perennial, most herbalists leave the plant in the ground and only harvest the flower heads.
Get to Know Yarrow
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a plant of waste places, roadsides, and meadows. The wild plant has white flowers and some wild plants may have pinkish blooms. Garden plants can be red, orange, or yellow. The foliage is feathery.
The plant is perennial with two kinds of growth in the season. Long feather leaves come up from the base of the plant in midsummer and remain until frost. The flowers stand about 12 to 18 inches tall, with a cluster of tiny flowers making up each flower head. In the garden, yarrow can grow quite tall, when given adequate moisture and fertile soil.
Yarrow is commonly known as Soldier’s Woundwort, for its ability to staunch bleeding and prevent infection in wounds. There is a scene in the Iliad, where Achilles is instructed by the centaur Chiron to use yarrow to heal wounded soldiers at Troy during the Trojan War. Achilles used yarrow to cure the wounds and sores of Telephus, the son of Hercules. The ancients called Yarrow, Herba Militaris, the military herb.
Yarrow is a prolific perennial that comes in several attractive colors. While some sources say that the medicinal strength of the colored blooms is not as high as the wild plant, several selected cultivars are available. Use what you have growing in the landscape around you.
Infusing Herbs in Oil
For Yarrow and Arnica Sprain and Bruise Cream, you’ll need to start with making an infused oil of each flower. This process, using the cold infusion method, will take several weeks so plan on starting months ahead of your travel plans.
Equipment you’ll need for infused oil:
- Wide mouth pint Mason jar
- A tight-fitting lid
- Fine Sieve
Ingredients for EACH herb infused oil:
- 2 cups Organic Virgin Olive Oil or Organic Sweet Almond Oil (or other cold-pressed oil of your choice)
- 1 cup of dried herbs or 1 1/2 cups of fresh and wilted herbs
Follow the directions in the article and after 4 to 6 weeks, strain the herbs from the oil. You can leave it up to 8 weeks if you wish. Squeeze out as much oil as possible from the macerated herbs. I often use a potato ricer to get every drop. Then bottle the oils separately in a blue or brown colored glass bottle. Cap tightly and label.
Now you have a batch of yarrow infused oil, and a batch of arnica infused oil, that are both ready to be used to make into salves, ointments, healing balms, creams, and moisturizers.
Making Yarrow and Arnica Bruise Cream
Yield: 2 4-ounce shallow round steel tins
- 4 ounces yarrow infused oil
- 4 ounces arnica infused oil
- 2 tablespoons Beeswax
Use 2 tablespoons of beeswax for every cup of infused oil for a spreadable consistency that will go on your skin easily.
- Make a double boiler using a glass measuring cup and a saucepan.
- Place the beeswax and infused oils together in the glass measuring cup. Heat the saucepan over medium heat till the beeswax melts completely.
- Remove from heat and pour the finished salve into two 4-ounce shallow round steel tins. Allow this yarrow and arnica bruise cream to cool completely before sealing on the lids. Label and date each tin.
Because it is hard to control the temperature for travel storage, Yarrow and Arnica Sprain and Bruise Cream will keep in your travel bag for one year. Do your best to keep it away from heat once the jar is opened.
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