Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Arnica Salve your Herbal Sidekick

Well Spring is finally in the mix here in Montana and the flowers are popping. One of my favorites is Arnica montana. A beautiful yellow flower full of medicinal properties. Primarily used for sore muscles, bruises and broken bones-topically it is a strong medicinal herb.

The medicinal constituents consist of

sesquiterpene lactones of the helenanolid type mostly ester derivatives of helenalin and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin

flavonoids -isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin

volatile oil with thymol and its derivatives,

phenol carbonic acid chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid

coumarins umbelliferone, scopoletin

The extraction can be completed with and organic oil like olive-safflower or hemp or by tincturing with 100 proof alcohol.

The oil extraction can be rapid by simmering the fresh flower in oil for a few hours-watch that it doesn't boil. You can also pull the properties by allowing the arnica to sit in a mason jar of organic oil for a few months before using.

A little beeswax is then added to the oil to make a salve.

The alchohol tincture can infuse for several months or longer then added to aloe vera gel or foot and hand baths.

The fresh flower is best collected on a cool dry morning when the flowers have just popped. You'll want to fill your jar full of flower heads then top with oil. Shake daily for the first week, then allow to sit for at least a month.

Great for bumps and brusies and overworked muscles. If you'd like your own travel tube of arnica-for backpacking trips or quick use at home, during travels or for your little one(crawling and walking is hard work!)-I have a fresh batch up for grabs.

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