Arnica (Arnica montana L.), also known as Mountain Tobacco and Leopard's Bane, is a member of the daisy family that is native to Central Europe and the western US and naturalized in India and Greenland. The flowers are infused in oil to make topical preparations for sprains, sore muscles, bruises and arthritic joints.
The analgesic effect of arnica is thought to be due to a compound called helenalin. There is evidence that this sesquiterpene lactone exerts other actions, including anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. However, because helenalin is toxic to the liver and lymphatic tissue, the use of this herb is limited to topical applications and homeopathic formulas.
1 cup arnica flowers
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops ginger essential oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine the olive oil and vitamin E oil in a small bowl. Place the arnica flowers in a pint-sized mason jar or similar glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the herbal material with the oil mixture, adding more olive oil if needed. Cap the jar and place on a sunny windowsill to infuse for 6 weeks, turning the jar once each day. Strain through cheesecloth or wire mesh (squeeze out every drop!) and transfer the reserved oil into an amber-colored glass jar. Label and date and store in a cool, dark place.