Bumps and Bruises Balm

tin of salve surrounded by fresh herbs, text says "Bumps & Bruises First Aid Balm"

This balm is part of a basic first aid trio I put together for my kids to use while traveling.

They spent the summer adventuring and camping across the country and I wanted them to be prepared for any first aid needs they might run into.

So far, I’ve shared the recipes for:

Today, we’re making the final piece of the set – a balm for bumps and bruises using herbal infused oil.

It’s also great for treating sore muscles and achy legs that are unused to riding for long stretches in a car. (Don’t forget to get out and move around often too!)

Some herbs to consider using in your balm include:

  • Arnica (Arnica montana) – an anti-inflammatory herb that’s excellent for bruising, sore muscles, arthritis, and pulled muscles. (Not for use on open wounds.)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) – helps bruises, pulled muscles, broken bones heal faster. (Don’t use on deep, open, or puncture wounds.)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the flowers act as a mild analgesic (pain reliever) and healing agent for painful skin.
  • Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) – its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties makes it a good candidate to include in salves, balms, and other products.

Each recipe has a corresponding kid-friendly printable label. You can print off sheets of one style (Bumps & Bruises Balm is HERE) or a combination of the three types (HERE.)

Bumps and Bruises Balm

This balm has a 2% dilution rate and was designed for use on ages 2 or 3 and upward. (For extra oomph, adults could double the amount of essential oils in this short term use product.)

Instead of the lavender and cypress essential oil listed, you could alternatively try using a ready made kid-safe blend, such as Plant Therapy’s Grow Ease.

When making things for aches and pains, I often like to swap out a little bit of the infused oil for tamanu oil. (In this recipe, perhaps use a ratio of 0.25 oz (7 g) tamanu oil and 1.45 oz (41 g) infused oil.) It’s completely optional, but tamanu is a nice touch for these kinds of salves; it will also tint your salve a greener color, as shown in the above photo.



To make this balm, you’ll first need to make an oil infused with herbs that are good for bumps and bruises, such as arnica, comfrey, dandelion, and/or purple dead nettle.

To make the infused oil:

Fill a half-pint canning jar about halfway with dried herb or herb combination of your choice.

Pour sunflower, rice bran, apricot kernel, or your favorite carrier oil over the dried herbs until you almost reach the top.

  • To infuse the slow way: Cap, shake, and store in a cool, dark place for about four weeks before straining. The oil should stay fresh for about a year, if stored well in a cool place, out of sunlight.
  • To infuse the fast way: Stir well and set the uncovered container of oil down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water. This will form a makeshift double boiler of sorts. Set the saucepan over a medium-low burner and indirectly heat the oil this way for an hour or two.  If your water is simmering, you should turn the heat lower. Once it’s done infusing, strain the oil and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Summer Travel First Aid Set with Labels

To make the balm:

Once the oil is infused, strain and pour 1.7 oz (48 g) of it into a heat proof jar or recycled tin can. Add the beeswax (and candelilla wax, if using.)

Set the heat proof container down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, just as you used above to infuse your herbal oil. Set the pan over a medium low burner until the beeswax has melted.

Remove from heat and add the essential oil.

While the mixture is still hot, pour into screw cap tins. (They are much easier to open than the push top kind!)

The recipe, as shown, will fill about one 2-ounce tins. You can buy them from Amazon or Specialty Bottle.

bumps & bruises balm label

Print out the sheet of Bumps & Bruises labels HERE or the combination sheet of all three travel tin labels HERE.

Print them out on sticker paper (I use this kind.)

If you don’t have sticker paper handy, you can print on regular copy paper and affix with a thin layer of glue. It won’t be as durable as sticker paper, but will work!

Apply as needed on bumps, bruises, aches, and minor muscle pains!




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  1. This could not have come at a better time. My son has hurt his knee multiple times this week. I have comfrey but not arnica. Do you have a suggestion for substitution? I am thinking Goldenrod infused oil might work.

    1. Hi Thaleia, A blend of comfrey and goldenrod sounds like a great combo! I hope his knee feels better soon!

  2. Hi there! I have a question. I just made the infused oil- was yours kind of a chlorophyll-green color? Honestly, mine doesn’t look or smell that attractive, and I’m wondering if it’s just mine, or did it turn out the way it should.

    1. Hi Kerstin! That will depend on what type and amount of herbs you used. It sounds like you made a really strong infusion, which is fine to use. The peppermint oil should help the smell some. Sometimes, if an herbal infusion gets heated up too high, it will almost fry the leaves, making for a deep fried plant smell. Those tend to turn brownish instead of green though. To avoid that, heat the oil at lower temps.

  3. Hi Jan.
    I’m really enjoying learning from you! I’m constructing a first aid kit for our trip to Sout Africa in March this year. I am currently in the UK and struggling to find arnica. Would you have a replacement suggestion, please?
    I would really appreciate your input.

  4. Hi

    In the Bumps & Bruises Balm is that 5 ounces of beeswax or 0.5 ounces?

    1. Hi Wendy! That is 0.5 oz. Sorry I didn’t see that I left off the zero, making it difficult to tell. Thanks for the heads up; I’ll go fix that right now.

  5. Quick question, you mention to use comfrey flowers, but Mountain Rose Herbs only has leaf, root or root powder for sale. Are these interchangeable? Which would be best to use?

    1. Hi Kelly, Oops! I meant to write arnica flowers and comfrey leaf. (Though sometimes I mix comfrey root and leaf together for these types of infusions too.) I just fixed it in the text. Thanks for letting me know! :)

  6. Hi I was just wondering which type of arnica I should be using? I went to purchase some seed to grow my own but there were two… Thanks Zoe

    1. Hi Sonia! I’ve not studied or used arnica essential oil to be familiar with its strength or safety data, so I’m just not sure. If you have a way to contact the manufacturer/vendor of your oil, I’d double check with them & see if they have some advice as far as usage rate in a balm. :)

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