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Arthritis and Sore Muscle Lotion Recipe (also, bath salts and bath oils)


I used to buy this wonderful arthritis lotion that actually worked. I found it at an artisan market originally, and then I bought it from the maker’s online website. It was a one woman operation, and one day I went to her website to buy some more and there was a notice she’d died and her products were no longer available.

I looked at the ingredients on the bottle, researched the ones I didn’t know about to see what they were for, and then looked up quantities for all of the ingredients for the ratio people used them in their lotion and salve recipes.

I’ve made a few changes to her ingredient list, she had tea tree oil in hers, which I assumed was there as a preservative since it doesn’t have any properties that would help with joints or muscles or blood flow. I substituted lavender for the tea tree oil, as I figured that would act as preservative and soother.  I’ve been debating about whether to add ginger and or cumin to the recipe, I think I’ve decided yes on the ginger and no on the cumin.

I gave instructions yesterday for how to make homemade lotion. If you don’t want to go to that trouble, you can also put the following essential oils into a base oil (olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc), and just rub the oil into whatever is hurting.

Per ounce of carrier oil or lotion you’ll need:

Organic Arnica Oil Extract 9 drops
Cajeput Essential Oil 9 drops
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil 8 drops
Clove Bud Essential Oil 7 drops
Wintergreen Essential Oil 7 drops
Lavender Essential Oil 5 drops
Peppermint Essential Oil 4 drops
Eucalyptus Essential Oil 3 drops

If you are making four ounces then multiply those numbers by four, eight ounces then multiply those numbers by eight, etc. I recommend making four to six ounces the first time you make it. That’s enough for you to get an idea of whether you’d like more or less of an ingredient. Also, Cinnamon and both mints can be irritating to some people’s skin. It doesn’t bother me, RK, or the girls, but if it bothers you then you can just add more of whatever base you are using, and more of the non-irritating ingredients in the right ratios, and you should be okay.

If I add ginger I will probably use around six to eight drops per ounce. I am considering swapping the peppermint for the ginger.

When you buy essential oils, one drop is around .05 ml, and an ounce is about 30 milliliters… so a one ounce bottle will give you around 600 drops. Plant essential oils are very very strong – never use them undiluted, and always use caution when handling them. Try to keep the undiluted oils from touching your bare skin. I don’t use gloves when I handle them, but if I let GG help, I make her wear gloves.

A few things to keep in mind: I know clove, arnica, peppermint, and  wintergreen essential oils aren’t supposed to be used on pregnant women – not sure about the other essential oils. But the point is, you shouldn’t use this recipe if you are pregnant, nor should you give it to someone who is pregnant. I’m sure it will help their aching back, but don’t do it.

Arnica is also used for bruises, it does something to the clotting properties of the blood and keeps you from bruising as badly if used ahead of time, and makes bruises go away faster if used after the fact. There are warnings that if you are on blood thinners or heart medications to talk to your doctor before using it externally — just another thing to keep in mind if you give some of it away. On the other hand, I once made a nasty bruise on GG’s leg go away in no time flat with my arthritis lotion.

I use this mixture on the girls when they have muscle pains or growing pains. I do not use it on a large part of their body at a time — just on the area that is bothering them. TwinkleToes may ask for it three or four nights in a row and then not ask for it again for four or five months. GlitterGirl asks for it maybe once or twice a month when she’s overdone it with her athletic stuff.

Several of the ingredients are also used as preservatives in some natural products — the lavender, clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus. Still, I never make up more than I’ll use in around four or five months. The lotion I bought had vitamin e in it, which is also a preservative. If I were selling it then I’d probably add it in, but for my uses it’s fine without it.

To mix it up, I use the recipe from yesterday, but I use very little water (about a tablespoon, probably), so it’s closer to a salve than a lotion. I also use a fork for the entire stirring process, and not a whisk. If you don’t want to deal with making lotion, then as I said, you can just put the essential oils into some olive oil, or some other base oil. Buying the essential oils the first time can run $60 or so dollars, but they are going to last for a really, really long time. I can’t stress enough the importance of buying good quality essential oils.  While you are at the craft store looking for containers, do not buy the “scents” you will see there. Buy only pure essential oils or plant extracts.

I also use my essential oils to make my own bath salts – I buy plain Epsom salt in bulk (super cheap, I buy it locally in a five pound box for just under $4), mix a few essential oils into the Epsom salt, and then stir that mixture into the sea salt (also cheap, less than $2 a pound when bought in bulk locally).

  • For a relaxing bath salt I use a floral essential oil in one part sea salt and one part Epsom salt – figure fifteen to twenty drops of an oil (or seven to ten drops each of two oils, five to seven drops each of three oils, etc) in one cup Epsom salt and one cup sea salt. You can use lavender, chamomile, geranium, vanilla, orange, ylang ylang — whatever you like, whatever will be soothing to you, personally. I recommend starting with one essential oil the first time for a relaxing bath salt.
  • For a muscle soothing bath salt I’ll use two parts Epsom salt to one part sea salt, and use a total of thirty four drops of some of the various essential oils from my arthritis lotion. (I don’t use the arnica or cajaput, everything else straight from my recipe equals 34 drops).
  • I also make a straight Epsom salt mixture with only the Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, and Peppermint oils, mixed with a total of 18 drops (six each) per cup of base salt — it’s great for overworked muscles or as a foot soak for a sprained ankle or just sore feet.

I mix the essential oils into a cup or two (depending on how many drops) of the Epsom salt to start, and then mix that into the rest of the Epsom salts and then the sea salt — it’s easier that way. Another option, if you’ve got dry skin you can add one teaspoon of oil (olive, almond, sunflower, whatever) per cup of salts.

Speaking of oils, you can make your own bath oils the same way. Use ten to twenty drops of essential oil per ounce of base oil. If you are making four ounces then you’d use 40 to 80 drops, depending on your own personal preference. If you like to use a lot of oil in your bath, use less drops, if you prefer a small amount of bath oil in a single bath, use more drops.

I’ve discovered, by accident, if you have an open wound trying to get infected, the muscle soothing bath salt seems to get rid of the infection. There are warnings against using many of these essential oils on an open wound, but apparently when mixed with Epsom and sea salt and diluted in warm bathwater, they can be helpful. Or that’s my experience, anyway.However; the best way to get rid of an infection is cold/hot therapy. Let’s say you’ve got an infected hangnail. Put water as hot as you can stand it in one bowl, and crushed ice in another. Alternate holding your finger thirty seconds in the hot water, then thirty seconds in the ice, then back to the hot water, etc. Do it for at least three minutes, six is better. If you do it for six you’ll need to reheat the water at the half way point while you are in the ice. Most of the bacteria that thrive in our bodies apparently can’t handle those extremes of temperature. When I do this, I do it every thirty minutes to an hour, at least three times, just to be on the safe side. For an infection that can’t be dipped into water you can use a hot pad (or a hot water bottle) and a bag of ice — and in that case I hold each temperature for one minute instead of thirty seconds, and I go at least six minutes.

But, back to the topic at hand — once you’ve invested in the essential oils you most prefer, you can use them for a whole host of products. If you figure the cost of the product you’ve made versus the cost of what you’d pay to buy the same thing from an organic-all-natural company – it’s a huge savings. Most of the time it’s a pretty big savings even if you compare it to mainstream body products.  And I’ve found nothing that works as well for arthritis as my recipe.

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4 Responses to “Arthritis and Sore Muscle Lotion Recipe (also, bath salts and bath oils)”

  1. Elsie Says:

    RQ, so if you had to knock a few of these off the list, which ones would it be? I already have peppermint and lavender.
    Am going to try to get out today to my store, thanks again!!

  2. RumorQueen Says:

    Probably the peppermint and eucalyptus, since those get the least amount added, but since you’ve already got the peppermint… I’m not really sure. I suppose you could try substituting the peppermint for the wintergreen?

  3. Elsie Says:

    Well I was thinking it was a lot and I might cut a few out (didn’t even notice the links/prices you had listed) but it’s not really and I found almost everything at the store except cajeput, so will have to order that. Also couldn’t find cinnamon bark, only leaf….seems the difference is the strength which I guess helps with pain? Was wondering if I could use the leaf, but since I have to order the cajeput, will just go ahead with the bark.

  4. portlandval Says:

    Excellent post and just what I need for my achey, tired body. My kids also have growing pains. Will try this.