Liniment arnica and St. John’s Wort

St. John's Wort I’ve told you before Kloss liniment is one of my favorites medicinal and arnica (Arnica montana ) is a close second. With children at home, and gardening tasks / homesteading to do, we see a lot of bruises and muscle aches. Also known as the Mountain Daisy, snuff mountain, or nightmare wolf Arnica is recommended by the German Commission E (a German publication for medical professionals to reference when prescribing herbs) for “external use injuries and the consequences of accidents, for example, hematoma, dislocations, contusions, edema due to fracture, rheumatic muscle and joint problems. “also known for treating tissues with bruises, sprains, burns and other injuries the St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) combines well with arnica for the formulation of a liniment. It is also estimated as for the treatment of damaged nerve endings. For the recipe I will share with you, you need the flowers of these herbs. If you can not get fresh, dried can be ordered online or purchased at your local health food store.

Identification of flowers

St. St. John’s wort grows in fields and along roads throughout most of North America and Europe. It is a perennial plant that grows from 1-3 feet tall, with oval leaves dotted with translucent glands. The flowers, which is from June to September, are yellow. They have five petals surrounding a thick bundle of stamens. The petals have black spots along the edge. Arnica is mainly found in wastelands of Europe, Spain and Portugal to southern Scandinavia and along the Carpathian mountain range. It is not found in Britain. This flower grows from 8-24 inches with a single flower head. The base sports herbs whorled, ovate leaves with another pair, or two, opposite on the stem leaves. The yellow flowers generally composed grow about 1½ to 2 inches across and bloom from May to August. If you do not live in Europe, arnica can grow in your herb garden.

Making liniment

Combine equal arnica flower and St. John’s Wort in a quart jar of canned clean about 2/3 amounts. Fill the bottle with 70% alcohol, making sure to cover the flowers at least two inches. Apply the cap and shake vigorously. Let stand in a warm sunny window for 14 days, stirring daily. At the end of this time, casting the mixture through a muslin cloth clean, tightening both the liquid as possible. Store in a clean glass jar.


may be used witch hazel instead of rubbing alcohol. Some herbalists prefer to use vodka for their liniments but I would rather stick with the rubbing alcohol for several reasons.

  • Isopropyl alcohol (chemical name alcohol) has historically been used for massage. By itself, it is known to relieve sore muscles.
  • Isopropyl also has a slick feel to it, so it is easier to give massages.
  • vodka, ethyl alcohol or any other, could cause problems for someone struggling with alcoholism. Not only the odor may be a temptation, but nothing applied to the skin is absorbed into the blood. For that reason alone, I would not recommend it for use in children.
  • Because you want the herbs to make your work on your skin, you will not want to wash after using the liniment. But if ethyl alcohol is used, you will have to walk around smelling like a cocktail in the evening.

You can use this to massage liniment pain, muscle pain or gently rub on bruises and swellings. It will only be used on intact skin, as arnica is toxic if ingested. However, there is a homeopathic preparation Arnica that can be taken at the same time accelerate healing.

Photo by John Tann

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