Gary always hurts.
It’s a fact-of-life he can’t run from; from his head to his toes, 365 days a year, 24-hrs a day.
The days his pain scale reads 3 or 4, those are good days. Most days he can look forward to hitting 5 or 6; but if a headache decides to join in at full force, then you can throw out that scale.
Thankfully there are ways to ease some of the body ache and joint pain. Doctors frown upon taking acetaminophen in truckload quantities. Floating in a haze of prescription painkillers is an option, but Gary already takes 199 pills a week. ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE PILLS. It’s understandable why we try to find him relief using alternative methods.
I make Arnica infused olive oil in large batches. I tried arnica first when I hurt a flexor muscle running. (Lesson- stretch, stretch, stretch). You can buy arnica off the shelf in a variety of forms, cream, balm or oil. I tried cream but found the oil-based formula worked the best. Gary was still working back then, but I was sure it could help him too.
We started by rubbing just the sorest spots on his back and moved up to using it as a full body massage oil, back, arms, legs, and neck. It quickly became pricey when the bottle is only 3.4oz (100ml).
I experimented with several methods of making our arnica infusion. You can steam distill arnica flowers to extract the essential oil with a home distiller if you’d like to create a balm. My original recipe included several other herbs too, but I chose simplicity for our final version: dried arnica flowers and olive oil. It’s true; less is more.
I add one ounce of dried arnica flowers to a quart sized mason jar and filled to the top with olive oil. It’s that simple. You don’t need to buy an expensive gourmet olive oil just choose one that is 100% olive oil. No blends. I set this in the sun for a few days to kick-start the process and then let it sit in a darkened cupboard for a month. I strain the oil through a coffee filter and store it in dark-colored glass bottles.
You can quickly start your first batch by using a slow-cooker. Place one ounce of dried flowers and 2 cups of olive oil in your pot, set it on the lowest heat and walk away for 24hrs. Strain and store.
Olive oil keeps better than most other oil choices so as long as you store it in a dark glass container, there isn’t a problem with it going rancid. We keep our large batch in the cupboard and fill a small bottle up for use.
Arnica helps by easing the pain from sprains, deep tendon soreness, and swelling; it helps relieve arthritis, muscle, and joint pain. It also helps with bruises by reducing swelling and cutting down the ugly green-purple stage.
Arnica flowers contain helenalin, a very potent anti-inflammatory, which may cause an allergic reaction in people with skin sensitivity. One of our granddaughters developed a mild rash while using arnica infused oil so you might want to test a small area of skin first. You should never apply arnica to an open wound, cracked skin or ingest it.