How to Use Arnica montana Safely

how to use Arnica Safely
Arnica montana is toxic internally, but using it topically can help reduce pain and bruising. Here's how to make a safe arnica lotion

Arnica montana is a common herbal ally that you can find along the shelves in any natural health store.

It’s touted as a safe pain reliever in homeopathic form, but there’s a reason you never see an undiluted arnica tincture.

That’s because Arnica montana is toxic. Reserach shows that if you were to take enough of it internally in its undiluted form, this plant can cause serious issues like organ failure, coma, and in severe cases, it can kill you.

How to Make Arnica Safe to Use?

In some specialty herb stores and online, you can get Arnica flowers to make medicine with – and we do use those flowers in some of our medicines.

If we’re making this for a client that will take it internally, we make it with a very low dose to make sure that it is safe. This is even less than your typical “low dose” plant – which is a single drop of undiluted tincture per ml of a formula. We don’t recommend utilizing this plant in your own internal medicine making practice without working with a trained medicine maker.

However, used topically on unbroken skin, Arnica montana is safe and an effective measure for joint pain and bruising! That means using it in a daily joint pain salve or an infused arnica lotion is a great way to use this plant.

What to use Arnica lotion for

Arnica montana lotion is anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and vasodilating, so it helps to move stagnation in the body.

This makes the herbal remedy effective for physical pain from joint issues like arthritis, bruising, and pain from physical trauma.

Thick Arnica Lotion for Joint Pain Recipe

There are lots of ways to make salves, body butters, lotions, and body oils so if you have your own favorite lotion recipe, you can always use the infused arnica oil in your recipe to achieve the same effect.

Arnica Lotion Ingredients

  • 1-2 handfuls of Arnica montana flowers
  • ½ cup of Infused Almond Oil*
  • ½ cup Shea Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1 Tablespoon of Beeswax
  • Optional essential oils: mint, lavender, and frankincense


  • Handmixer or blender (the directions use a handmixer)
  • Glass jars that are clean and dry
  • A double boiler or a crock pot (this recipe is written with “crockpot,” but the instructions are the same if you’re using a double boiler)


Start by infusing your almond oil with the arnica flowers

If you have your arnica infused oil already, you can skip to the next part.

  • To make your infused oil, place your arnica flowers and add a little more than ½ cup of almond oil in a clean, sealed glass jar.
  • Set the jar in a crock pot of water on low, and let it sit in the heat for 8-10 hours.
  • Strain out the arnica flowers and compost them.**

Make your arnica lotion

  • Pour the infused oil, shea butter, beeswax, and 20 total drops or so of your essential oils into another clean, dry glass jar, and place it back in the crock pot on low.**
  • Stir slowly until they are all melted together in a single consistency.
  • Pour this mixture into a bowl, and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes – when you pull it out of the freezer you should see a crust along the top.
  • Whip it together with your hand mixer and slowly, very slowly, add the vegetable glycerin. Your moisturizer will get a creamy texture!
  • Spoon it into a clean, dry glass jar and store it somewhere dark.

Use it liberally every day on your joints!

*Note that if you’re making this infusion today, you’ll want to start with a little bit more than ½ cup of oil for the infusion so that when you strain it, you still get around ½ cup of infused oil for your lotion.

** Be careful not to get water in this.

Have you ever used Arnica lotion? Tell us about it in the comments below!

References and interesting reads

WebMD information about Arnica 

Another basc DIY Lotion Recipe for Thinner

Vegetable Glycerin for Skin and Hair Guide from New Directions Aromatics

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