Drumming Salve ( ARNICA)

My husband and I started taking a djembe drumming class a few months ago. It has helped us to feel less isolated and meet people over the age of 45. Our teacher is great fun and so creative. I can’t leave the circle without having experienced lots of laughter. We are now advanced beginners and have purchased our first drum. This allows more regular practice to be done at home. With more progress comes sore hands. I created this salve for myself and fellow drummers. I was fortunate to find some cute drum shaped jars down in my basement too.

I made an oil infusion of Arnica flowers, Poplar buds, Skullcap tops, Mugwort tops , St. John’s wort flowers, and Comfrey leaves. As I made the salve I added a small amount of my pain, exercise, arthritis, and muscle rub formulas.

Latin Name: Arnica montana

Botanical Family: Compositae/aster

Parts used: flower heads

Energetics: warming

Emotional/Spiritual uses: for any kind trauma. To prevent disassociation. To support the release of shock when there has been an accident or violent experience so that the energy does not become locked in the body or repeated in “cycles” of fight/flight/freeze unconsciously. To encourage healing, recovery, and soul embodiment after “loss”.

Contraindications: Most herbalists consider this plant for external use only, on unbroken skin. It is considered poisonous internally except in its homeopathic form. May cause a rash in sensitive individuals.

Arnica is a perennial plant found in the mountains of Canada and the US. It is often found growing underneath trees in the conifer family. The rootstock/rhizome is horizontal, dark brown/black, slender and branches into numerous filiform roots. The simple, erect, hairy, rough, striated stem can grow 6-12 inches high. Basal leaves have short petioles, are 2-3 inches long, opposite, and have an oblong/ovate shape. Upper leaves are smaller and have a sessile attachment on the stem possibly at the base of one pair of opposite branches. 1-9 yellow, daisy like flower heads appear during summer. The 15 ray flowers are notched on the outer tips, while the disk flowers form a yellow center. Arnica blooms in July or August.

Historically this plant has been used to make a liniment for aching joints, sore muscles, strains, broken bones, injuries, rheumatism, swollen feet and inflammation. It can be used as a poultice/compress on the stomach to relieve abdominal discomfort or for a headache. A salve can be used on chapped lips, inflamed nostrils, and bruises. Arnica dilates blood vessels near the skin’s surface improving circulation to the injured area.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

%d bloggers like this: