20 February 2020

Homemade Pain Relief Salve With Arnica and Copaiba Essential Oil

How to make a homemade pain relief salve with arnica infused oil, copaiba essential oil, and menthol flakes.  Use this herbal pain relief remedy to relieve symptoms from sore muscles or joints.

I am prone to joint pain, so I have to respect my limits.  A few weeks ago, I had a large DIY project, and I did not respect those limits.

My left knee always hurts, but after I was done with this project, both knees and one hip were killing me.  I could barely walk without feeling like I was going to fall down.

I usually reach for the ibuprofen, but that upsets my stomach if I'm taking it too often.  I had some pain relieving herbs infusing in oil to make a solid lotion, but I decided to use them to make a homemade pain relief salve now.

I did a lot of research on natural ways to relieve pain for this recipe.  Menthol products help me a lot, so I wanted to use menthol for sure.  I also just ordered some copaiba for its benefits for natural pain relief.

Arnica is probably the most well known herb for natural pain relief.  I also added lemon verbena because it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Homemade Pain Relief Salve With Arnica and Copaiba Essential Oil

I'm not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one.  Always consult a medical professional before using any treatment.  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

For more natural ways to reduce pain, try my sore muscle bath salt recipe or my muscle rub recipe.  I drink a turmeric tea recipe and use Notion CBD lotion to manage my pain naturally.

I also like to keep sore muscle bath bombs around to add to a warm bath.

Lemon Verbena and Arnica Infused Sunflower Oil

I made an oil infusion with arnica and lemon verbena in sunflower oil.  Arnica is often used for arthritis, sore muscles, and bruising.  The oil infusion takes two weeks, so plan accordingly.  Leftover oil can be used to make a solid lotion.


Arnica is made up of several compounds.  One of these compounds, sesquiterpene lactone, can penetrate the skin.  It triggers a response in the body so the body stops producing cyokines that can cause inflammation.   Get arnica on Amazon or on Etsy.

It also blocks enzymes that can deteriorate cartilage from forming.  Thus, it can help protect the joints from damage from arthritis when applied topically.

Arnica isn't FDA approved, but there have been several studies for topical use that show that it can help reduce pain.  Arnica should not be taken orally. 

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena isn't as effective for natural pain relief, but it can reduce inflammation.  It has a compound called verbascoside that has been shown to reduce inflammation.   Get lemon verbena on Amazon or on Etsy.

Sunflower Oil

I chose sunflower oil because it's a dry oil, so it soaks into the skin quickly.  It won't leave you feeling greasy or oily after you use this salve. I mainly use it on my knees, so I didn't want to get oil on my jeans after I use it.

Hemp seed oil can naturally reduce inflammation when applied topically, so it would be a great oil to use too.  It will leave your skin feeling greasy after using it though.

You could also use fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or apricot kernel oil.  They are all dry oils that soak into the skin quickly.

Infusing Herbs and Oils

Before you make this recipe, you'll have to infuse the herbs and the oil.  Do this by filling an 8-ounce jelly jar half full with the herbs and then covering with the oil.  Then let it sit for four weeks to infuse.  Shake it gently each day to help the infusion along.

After four weeks, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and discard them or compost them.  Then label the oil and use it in recipes like this homemade pain relief salve.

If you don't want to wait for the infusion or don't want to make it, you can also buy arnica infused oil.  It's infused with avocado oil and rosehip oil, both of which are great oils.

Shea Butter

I added shea butter for a couple of reasons.  First, it can help reduce inflammation.  Secondly, it isn't greasy or oily.


I wanted a salve and not an oil.  I added beeswax in a 1:4 ratio with the oil and shea butter to thicken the oil without making it hard.  If you want a solid lotion, increase the beeswax to 1 ounce.

Beeswax also forms a barrier on top of your skin that helps trap the herbal infused oil, menthol, and copaiba against your skin.

Menthol Crystals

Menthol crystals are a byproduct of peppermint essential oil extraction.  The oil is frozen and the menthol crystallizes.  It forms long crystals that have a cool fresh scent and are used for homemade pain relief salve like this or for a natural decongestant.  Buy menthol crystals on Amazon or on Etsy.

Menthol is popular for natural pain relief.  It's cooling and a natural analgesic to temporarily reduce pain when applied topically.  It's used in many sports creams and arthritis creams.

Menthol crystals are very strong.  Always use gloves and avoid contact with your eyes and mouth.

Copaiba Essential Oil

I've been hearing a lot of good things about copaiba essential oil, so I ordered some last month to check it out.  Copaiba is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce pain caused by inflammation.

Copaiba may also be able to reduce pain naturally.  It has shown properties that can block the detection of pain.  It's also been studied for pain management for arthritis.

Although there haven't been a lot of studies performed on copaiba, one study shows that people with inflammation and joint pain saw improvement with copaiba.


Tools and Supplies


Step #1

Use a digital scale to weigh the infused oil, shea butter, and beeswax.  Add them to a double boiler and heat until the beeswax is melted.

I use a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup and set it on a canning ring in a pan of water to make a double boiler.

Step #2

Remove from heat carefully.  Add the menthol crystals and stir.

Step #3

Add the copaiba essential oil and stir well.  Pour into a tin.  This will almost fill three 1-ounce tins.

To use, massage a small amount of this homemade pain relief salve on the affected area.  You can use this twice a day.

arnica, copaiba, salve
Yield: 3 ounces
Author: Cari @ Everything Pretty
Estimated cost: $10

Homemade Pain Relief Salve

prep time: 15 Mperform time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This homemade pain relief salve has menthol crystals, arnica infused oil, and copaiba essential oil.




  1. Use a digital scale to weigh the infused oil, shea butter, and beeswax. Add them to a double boiler and heat until the beeswax is melted.
  2. Remove from heat carefully. Add the menthol crystals and stir.
  3. Add the copaiba essential oil and stir well. Pour into a tin. This will almost fill three 1-ounce tins.


Apply to affected areas twice a day.

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How to make a natural pain relief salve at home. Use this DIY recipe for arthritis and inflammation for sore muscles, knee, back, neck, shoulder, or wherever you have pain and inflammation. This alternative remedies uses copaiba essential oils, menthol crystals, and arnica infused oil to make a salve or cream. #painrelief #essentialoils #copaiba