Using Arnica Oil for Bruising and Muscle Recovery

When I got my cast off, I was shocked at how bruised and swollen my leg and foot still were. Having never broken an appendage before, I guess I assumed that when you get your cast off everything is all better. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Jump to the recipe for Arnica oil salve.

Using Arnica Oil for Bruising and Muscle Recovery


My muscles had atrophied quite a bit for only having a cast on for four weeks. And everything itched and hurt. And then there was the matter of remobilizing my ankle. That was painful, y’all. Still is if I’m not careful. Thankfully, I have an awesome level 3 ankle brace to help me stabilize until I’m comfortable walking around on my own.

But even that causes pain. In order to be supportive, it needs to be snug. Which isn’t exactly comfortable, if you really want to know. Because I’m ‘pushing’ myself with physical therapy, I’ve been using essential oils and tinctures to help speed recovery, and reduce swelling.

Using Arnica Oil for Bruising and Muscle Recovery

One thing that I absolutely cannot live without is arnica. Have you heard of it?

What Is Arnica?

Arnica Montana is a flower that grows in the northern hemisphere. It’s rather pretty with yellow-orange flowers, much like a daisy. The head of the flower is what is used to make oils, tinctures, and herbal remedies.

Arnica is often used in sports medicine, due to its healing properties. Seriously, arnica oil is known to help with bruising, sprains, strains, muscle tears, and more. It’s been widely used to speed healing (yes, it really does!), and reduce recovery time.

I’ve seen it with my own eyes, people. My Orthopedic doctor told me that the swelling in my foot would last 6-8 months after I was “fully” recovered. I’ve been applying my essential oils and my arnica oil daily, and the swelling is gone, along with the nasty bruising that I thought would take months to go away. I’ve had my cast off for less than a month, y’all.

Using Arnica Oil Properly

I’ll admit-I had NO idea what arnica was until my mom left a little pot of muscle salvation that she’d picked up at her local health food store. She’d been using it on her knees (she had both knees replaced last year) after she did her exercises and swore by it.

When she went home, I left that little pot in my cupboard and forgot about it until I was tearing through my oils desperately looking for where I put my stash of Valor (I hid it from Ish because he loves the stuff, and doesn’t seem to realize it’s like liquid gold!).

I ran across that little jar and figured that it was worth a shot. So I applied the tincture to my leg that night along with my blend of oils.

Y’all. The next morning, my swelling was almost nonexistent. So I kept using that little pot of goodness…and within a week, I felt good enough to try walking without my brace. FIVE weeks out from a broken fibula.

After a couple weeks, I could see the bottom of my pot of muscle salvation. I had to decide: purchase another pot or try to make my own salve?

Obviously, I opted to make my own salve so that I could use my own essential oils.

Arnica Salve

  • 1 Tablespoon dried arnica flowers
  • 2 ounces coconut oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons beeswax pastilles
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops Panaway essential oil blend


Heat the coconut oil and dried flowers over low heat, stirring to combine. Once the coconut oil has fully melted, turn off the heat and allow the mix to infuse for 1 hour.

Reheat the pot just until the oil melts. Strain the flower pieces out of the mix using a cheesecloth or extremely fine sieve. Add the liquid back to the pot and add your beeswax. Heat just until the beeswax melts. Remove from heat and gently stir in your essential oils. I chose to use peppermint and Panaway because they both support muscle recovery.

Pour the mixture into small pots and allow to set up.  Apply to sore muscles for relief as often as needed.

Be smart when using arnica oil. Undiluted arnica essential oil is extremely toxic and should not be ingested or diffused. Additionally, be smart when using arnica oil. Don’t apply to broken or burned skin. 

Have you used arnica oil before?


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