Aches & Pains Balm Recipe

This herbal balm recipe offers relief from general aches and pains, arthritis, bursitis, and sore muscles.

tin of salve with comfrey leaves

I originally designed this Aches & Pains Balm specifically for my dad, who has bursitis and arthritis.

He’s worked hard his whole life – often so much that his hands would crack and bleed, so I wanted to make something to help ease his sore muscles and hands somewhat.

Over the years, it has become a family favorite and I try to keep some on hand at all times in my home!

tin of salve on wooden background

About the Main Ingredients

Tei Fu Oil

The star of this recipe is Tei Fu Oil – it’s a blend of safflower oil, wintergreen oil, menthol, camphor, clove, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils.

I was first introduced to Tei Fu Oil at my local health food store, as a remedy for a migraine I was experiencing. (Massaged into tender pressure points, it worked very well!)

Check local health food stores when possible, but you can also buy Tei Fu Oil on Amazon.

If you can’t use Tei Fu Oil, try a blend of: 60 drops peppermint essential oil, plus 10 drops juniper berry (or cedarwood Himalayan or fir needle) essential oil, plus 8 drops rosemary essential oil.

Castor Oil

Castor is a thick oil with a unique profile that sets it apart from other oils. It’s sometimes used in products for pain and inflammation, and can help ingredients absorb into your skin more readily.

Tamanu Oil

Tamanu is a remarkable oil, for helping scars, sores, tough-to-treat skin conditions, and inflammation.

It has a strong nutty scent (it’s in the tree nut family) and a dark green color that adds a pretty green hue to products. A little bit goes a long way!

Arnica Flowers

Arnica (Arnica montana) is an anti-inflammatory herb that’s excellent for bruising, sore muscles, arthritis, and pulled muscles. (Not for use on open wounds.)

Comfrey Root or Leaf

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) helps bruises, pulled muscles, broken bones, and tiny nicks heal faster. It contains allantoin which stimulates skin growth and soothes and protects skin. (Not for use on deep, open, or puncture wounds.)

Some links on this site are affiliate links; I only recommend products I personally use and enjoy. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

dried arnica flowers and fresh comfrey leaves and flowers on a small pottery saucer

Step 1: Make the Infused Oil

Before you can make this balm, you first need to make an infused oil.

Ingredients you will need:

Add the dried herbs of your choice, plus the oil to a heatproof canning jar and infuse in one of the following ways:

For a quick infusion:

Set the uncovered jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler of sorts. Place the pan over a low burner and heat for around 2 or 3 hours. Don’t allow the water to evaporate out of the pan, and monitor the oil while it’s heating.

Remove from the heat and strain out enough oil for your recipe when needed. You can top off the jar with more oil and allow it to continue infusing the slow way until needed again.

For a slow infusion:

Instead of infusing over heat, put a lid on the jar and tuck it away in a cabinet or on a shelf and let it steep for at least 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to.

Shelf life and storage of infused oil:

Strain and store any remaining infused oil in a dark spot or cabinet out of direct sunlight and heat. Shelf life should be about 1+ year.

freshly filled tins of salve

Step 2: Make The Balm

Now that you have an infused oil, you’re ready to make your balm!

Aches & Pains Balm Recipe

This balm is perfect for soothing over general aches, pains, arthritis, bursitis, and muscle soreness. Don’t apply to broken skin or wounds.

Ingredients:

(Remember, if you don’t have Tei Fu Oil, try a blend of: 60 drops peppermint essential oil, plua 10 drops juniper berry (or cedarwood Himalayan or fir needle) essential oil, plus 8 drops rosemary essential oil.)

Directions to Make:

  1. Add the oils and beeswax to a heatproof canning jar or upcycled tin can.
  2. Set the heatproof jar in a small saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler.
  3. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until the beeswax is melted.
  4. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then stir in the Tei Fu Oil Blend.
  5. Pour into small tins or jars.

Yield: around 4 ounces of balm

Hopefully, a few of you can use this recipe, or one like it, to bless someone you love with a balm to help ease their aches and pains.

(P.S. But don’t forget to save some for yourself!)

Originally published August, 2012. Updated July, 2020.

Check with a qualified medical professional if you have any questions or concerns about use of this product or medical symptoms you may be having, especially if you are elderly, pregnant, nursing, or on any medication. 

Looking for more creative ways to use flowers and herbs? Check out my Big Book of Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home!

Available from your favorite bookstore or the following book sellers:

Jan
 

Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • Susie Earning-My-Cape says:

    How sweet of you to make this for your dad!
    I am pinning this & I really hope to make some as soon as I get the necessary oils. :-)

  • Jane says:

    You are too sweet! You don’t know how that made my day :) Sorry about the problems you are having with Etsy.. and your computer!! I know what you mean … I would prefer just give things away too :) Can’t wait to try this!!

    • Jan says:

      Aw, I’m glad to hear that. :)
      Fortunately, it wasn’t my main computer – I had handed down an old one to the kids, but kept a few things on it. :)

  • Matt Burks says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ll be stopping the Etsy store – you’re really talented at creating all of these products – but I’m glad that you’ll be focusing on what you really enjoy! This sounds great, but way to complicated for me, ha!

    • Jan says:

      Thanks Matt! I think I probably made it sound more complicated than it is – succinctness is not my strong point lol. If you can melt chocolate without burning it, you can pretty much make this! It’s a lot of fun to create these types of things, but I have so many other interests and hobbies I want to pursue too. Having my plans wrinkled is a good thing. :)

  • Dana says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have arthritis in my back and spine and I would really like to make this. Is there a place you can recommend buying these ingredients?

    • Jan says:

      I get everything from http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/index.php?AID=125439 (that is my affiliate link) :) but some of it you may be able to find in your local health store. I often get olive oil from my grocery store. Some of the items I put in just to help the skin (since I had a relative successfully using it for painful varicose veins also.) So, if this is strictly for arthritis you can leave out: the rosehip seed oil, castor oil, blue chamomile oil, carrot seed oil, and violet leaf oil & still get an effective product. The ginger oil is optional too. What really gives it kick is the Tei Fu Oil so definitely keep that in (I buy it at my local health store, but there’s places online too.) It’s a very concentrated oil that comes in a teeny tiny bottle, which is why I put it in a balm so it could cover more territory, so to speak. Have fun making this! :)

  • Cindee Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing. I get exactly what you are saying! Esty is a beautiful site, I was just about to start a store, rethinking the process here. Thank you FDA but if it is Gods plan. Thanks I love your stuff and those cute labels.

  • Farmer Doug says:

    Shame about losing all the work you did in creating labels and such. Please continue with your excellent blog, as it is obvious how much love and effort you put into it. My wife particularly enjoys your very detailed recipes and craft ideas and the many pictures that are included with them.

    Best regards,

    “Farmer Doug”
    Ladysmith, B.C. Canada

  • Fran K says:

    This is the type of recipe I have been looking for. I was sorry to read you are stopping Etsy, if you have any of this bam left, would you consider selling some via email/mail? (please oh please!) It would be quite some time before I would be able to make this myself.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Fran! I’ve had a lot of requests to sell products again, just working out the logistics is the hard part. I have very little capital so getting it up and going again will take a bit of saving up to restock some supplies I need. (I used our tax return last time!) :) But, I will keep everyone posted on how it goes & if it will work out!!

  • Aldana says:

    Hi Jan,

    What’s Tei Fu Oil and what properties does it have? Can we omit it? Can it be replaced with something else?
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Aldana

    • Jan says:

      Hi Aldana, Tei Fu Oil is an essential oil blend. My naturopath first gave it to me, to use when I had headaches. Later, when my husband was having occasional back pain (leftover from where he fell off of a second story subfloor & crushed a disc) she recommended I rub on his back when it hurt. It worked fabulously! This link actually gives better information than the one I had in the post:

      http://www.theherbsplace.com/Tei_Fu_Essential_Oil_Blend_Pocket_Size_p_56.html

      The ingredients are:
      Safflower seed oil, menthol mint leaf oil, camphor flake, wintergreen oil leaf and bark oil, eucalyptus leaf oil, lavender flower oil, clove flowering bud and leaf oil

      I kind of consider it THE ingredient that makes this balm, so if you omit it, you would probably want to replace it with the essential oils that are in the ingredient list and just test around until you find the desired ratios and strength needed.

      Hope that helps! :)

  • How To Make An Aches and Pains Balm says:

    […] How To Make An Aches and Pains Balm […]

  • 14 Ways to Use Ground Ginger | The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] several hours. I like to use it in salves and balms that I make intended for sore muscles. See my Aches & Pains Balm recipe for an example of […]

  • Terri says:

    I absolutely love your recipes etc. I also wish I could get my hands on a jar or two of your balm as it would be quite some time before I had money & time to make some myself so please, please keep us posted if you start selling it again.I have bad arthritis in my knees & am always looking for something that actually works. Keep up the terrific recipes!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Terri! I did reopen my Etsy shop and plan to have some of this balm available in the next week or so. (Just waiting on a new batch of tins to come in!) I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes! :)

  • Christi-TX says:

    I put a note on my calendar to check back for this on your Etsy account-I would rather buy it first & if works on my knee then maybe I’ll try and make it–but would probably just BUY more :)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Christi! :) I plan to have it restocked on November 25th or 26th. I’ll also have a holiday coupon code listed then – here and on Facebook!

  • melissa says:

    I wonder if the beeswax could be substituted for coconut oil or butter , or shea butter… or any other base cause we are vegan here… Is there a good substitute? Thank you so much i work a lot with essential oils here at home…

  • Alex says:

    Why there’s no peppermint oil ? isn’t it a good oil for sore muscle and it feels great on the skin, like it’s refreshing

    • Jan says:

      Hi Alex, You’re right – peppermint oil is great for sore muscles and is super refreshing! The Tei-Fu oil I use in this recipe is full of menthol mint leaf oil, so there’s no need to add extra peppermint. (Though you could probably add 20 or 30 drops, if you’d like to make a stronger version.) You might also like the pure peppermint salve recipe in this post: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/using-fresh-mint-to-make-lip-balms-salve/ It’s one of my favorites!

  • Leslie says:

    Wondering if this could be made with, maybe, shae butter or something instead of the beeswax, as I have trouble with beeswax…it’s a pain too, since every natural recipe I seem to find has it as an ingredient! Thanks.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Leslie, I have two different lines of thought that might help:

      1.) Have you ever tried candelilla wax or sunflower wax before? In recipes calling for beeswax, you can try using 1/2 as much candelilla wax or 1/4 as much sunflower wax and that usually works out pretty well.
      So if a recipe calls for 1 ounce beeswax, use 1/2 ounce candelilla wax or 1/4 ounce sunflower wax instead. (Those are good starting amounts. Depending on the recipe though, you might need to remelt and add more.)
      Brambleberry.com has candelilla wax and NaturesGardenCandles.com has sunflower wax.

      2.) I have made an aches & pains body butter before. I just used this recipe: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/wild-rose-body-butter/ but used arnica & comfrey infused oil plus added the tei fu oil instead of rose scent & left out the rose clay. No beeswax needed and it works wonderfully. (In fact, I need to put that recipe on the blog. Thanks for the reminder!)

      I hope one of those ideas will help!

  • Trish says:

    How do I make the arnica and comfrey infused oil and the other infused oils?

  • kathyinozarks says:

    Hi Jan, I have lots of little jars with herbs infusing in oil over this past summer-I am now ready to make some of your recipes-your violet leaf balm everyone loved that I gave it to. I have a question-all my herbs look great in the jars no mold-do I have to strain them out-or can I just strain out what I need for a recipe. thanks much Kathy

    • Jan says:

      Hi Kathy! Well, you’re supposed to strain them out after the infusing time, but to be honest, I have some herbs & flowers that have been in their jars at least six months and I just strain around them and occasionally add a little more oil on top to keep them covered. I’m all for the least fuss as possible. :)

  • Jenn says:

    You mentioned this balm was good for headaches. How or where would you apply for this specific purpose? Thank you

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jenn, You can try rubbing on your temples & across your forehead (be very careful not to get in eyes) and on the back and sides of your neck. My naturopath is the one who taught me to use the Tei-Fu oil directly on pressure points in your neck and back; I use the aches & pains balm instead of the straight oil now though. Have someone help you, and gently press or rub in small circular motions around your neck & back (especially between shoulder blades) and you’ll find some spots feel very tender, sore, tight, or sensitive. Rub the oil/balm into those for at least thirty seconds. She says that some headaches are caused by tension that you don’t realize you’re holding on to & this helps relieve it. Depending on your headache trigger, it can really help ease the pain.

  • Vashti says:

    Hi Jan!
    I absolutely love these recipes. I have tried a few of them and I am pleased every time! I tell all my friends about your website.
    I have a question regarding coriander essential oil. I received this in the post by mistake of the sender and I’m wondering what I can do with it. I ordered various oils to make your boo boo balm and bugs away which I can’t wait to try. I’ve done some reading into coriander essential oil and its attributes, but no recipes for ointments. Any ideas? I have a feeling it will be good for menstrual cramps and growing pains…
    Any advice would be gratefully received!
    Vashti

  • Karen Airhart says:

    Jan, I am very new to this site but am very interested in the all natural and healthly pain balms. Looking forward to reading more on your site and web pages. Thanks again!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Karen, I’m happy to hear that you’re interested in making all natural pain balms and I hope you find the site helpful!

  • Wendy says:

    Oh thanks Jan, you are so informative. The link to the Inflammation Away Lotion is helpful – I’ll have to go EO shopping :-) then I’ll give that a try.
    There are so many websites with lots of info, but yours is a bit special, not only for the good recipes (and all for a generous £0) but more important, you reply to queries, so few others bother to do so. Which means, for me, I try things I might not otherwise. And, bit by slow bit, I get to expand my self help know how. So here’s to you and your generosity :-)

    • Jan says:

      Thank you Wendy for the kind words! It makes me happy to know that you find the site useful and are venturing forward on making your own products and such! :)

  • DavetteB says:

    How large is the bottle of tei fu oil that your recipe says to use half? Thanks

  • deborah repko says:

    hi Jan Iam handicapped and unable to make your salve’s I have pain in my right hand not sure what is causing it I would like to try your salve for my pain to see if it could help I signed up for your newsletter can you let me know if I can purchase it from you thank you Debbie

    • Hi Debbie! I’m so sorry about your hand! Right now I’m out of the supplies to make more of the salve and my other products (Christmas cleaned me out!), and it will be a little while until I can buy everything I need, so my shop is closed until then. Have you tried Two Old Goats lotion?
      I know some people that thought it worked just as well as my balm did for them:
      http://twooldgoats.com/
      You can call and order from their site or you can find it on amazon too.
      I hope that you feel better soon!

    • Anj says:

      Hello Jan, would just like to say I am impressed with your hard work and determination. Your website and honesty has helped me understand so much I was struggling to grasp because I want to open my own small business too. Nice to come across people that are kind and open like yourself who he’ll others and use their talent to help others too. I really feel touched. I want to try the complicated recipe out as my mum suffers from arthritis to the point she can’t get up in the morning. She also suffers from hypothyroidism and as bad as that is she’s taking medication but at the moment the biggest problem is the arthritis so I want to make it got her. I just wanted to ask is the first ingredient 0.5 ounces of Violet Leaf Infused Olive Oil or 5 ounces? Thank you again for posting your recipe because I’ve been lookin for something natural instead of chemically induced marketing products. You’re a brilliant person and your dad is lucky to have you as you have him. Good luck with everything =D

      • Hi Anj, Thank you so much for the kind words! :) That should be 0.5 ounces of violet leaf infused oil – I left the zero out! Thanks for letting me know!
        I hope that it helps your mom out as much as it helped my dad!!

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