Spicy Arnica Lotion Bars

These warming arnica lotion bars are perfect to rub over sore arthritic hands, feet, and joints that tend to be cold, and that feel better with warmth applied.

flower shaped lotion bars on mini pottery dishes surrounded by red peppers

You can also find this recipe in our new ebook, Things to Make for Aches & Pains, a joint collaboration between my daughter (who started our family site, Unruly Gardening) and myself! ?

Things to Make for Aches & Pains eBook

The Aches & Pains eBook + bonus guide will teach you how to create effective pain relief products, using herbs, essential oils and other natural ingredients!

To make these lotion bars, you’ll first need to infuse a combination of butter and oil with warming herbs, then melt the resulting strong infusion with beeswax.

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Ingredients you’ll need:

How to make the lotion bars:

  1. Combine the mango butter, oil, arnica, ginger, and cayenne in a heat-safe jar.
  2. Place the jar in a small saucepan of water on a low to medium-low burner and heat gently for about 2 hours to infuse the herbs into the oil and butter.
  3. Remove from heat and strain into a new heat proof container.
  4. Add the beeswax to the infused butter/oil.
  5. Place the jar in the pan of water and heat until the beeswax has melted.
  6. Once completely melted, remove from heat.
  7. Add the essential oil, then pour into mini candy or silicone molds.
  8. Let the lotion bars stay in the mold until completely cool, then remove and store in tins or sealed containers.
  9. Shelf life of lotion bars is around 1 year, or as long as the bars smell good.

If you find the lotion bars are too hard, melt them down and add a little more oil to make them softer. If they’re too soft, melt them down and add a pinch more wax to firm them up.

Lotion bars are especially nice to rub over your hands while you’re doing something sedentary, such as watching tv in the evening. That way they have time to soak into your skin and to gently warm and ease pain.

Be careful not to rub your eyes after using a lotion bar or salve containing cayenne – it’s too spicy to go in your eyes!




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  1. Can Arnica oil be used instead of rice bran oil? Heat oil and butter with ginger and cayenne powders? Can batch be doubled or tripled? Thank you

    1. Hi Roberta!
      You could definitely use an arnica infused oil, such as places like Mountain Rose Herbs carries:
      (the ingredients would be arnica flowers and something like olive or sunflower oil)

      Arnica essential oil (CO2 extract) would be used differently, and diluted with a carrier oil (like rice bran, olive, sunflower, etc) according to recommendation of who you buy it from.
      Here’s a great example of that product:

      I often triple similar lotion bar recipes at Christmas, for gifts or stocking stuffer/party favors, and they always do well, so I think this one should too! ?

  2. Hi,
    why adding the wax at the end, and thus having to re-heat the mix? I suppose it may undermine the plants effect? Thanks for a hint. Blandine (France)

    1. Hi Blandine! Normally, you make lotion bars by first spending time to infuse an oil with herbs, then melting together:
      1. the infused oil
      2. shea, mango, or other kind of butter
      3. beeswax (or other wax)
      However, I wanted the herbs to be extra strong in this recipe, so I first infused both the oil and butter. (Instead of just the oil.)
      The reason I don’t infuse the wax too is that it hardens quickly as it cools, and it would stick in the strainer and be very messy to clean.
      It wouldn’t hurt the plant, it’s just for easy clean up! ?

  3. hi, I’m getting ready to make this salve as my oil has been infusing for about 2 weeks.

    At the dame time i started another infusion is arnicia but without the “spices. thought id got the direction from this web site but maybe your moms? seems to me i remember that she used to make it for her dad chapped hands? any help oul dbe greatly appreciated


    1. Hi Judy! I do have a few salves and lotion bars with arnica on this site – perhaps one of these is the one you’re thinking of?

      Aches & Pains Balm Recipe

      Purple Dead Nettle Salve (option 3, with arnica)

      Herbal Intensive Lotion Bars

      Turmeric & Menthol Pain Salve

      I hope one of those recipes is helpful! ❤

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