Muscle Balm – Susan Elliott

How to make an All-Natural Muscle Rub (Balm or Salve)
Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Splendida Nutrita, Inc.

There are 2 steps to this muscle rub. If you don’t want to make the base you can use petroleum jelly but the infused oils really help it out. If you don’t want to do a solar infusion, you can do a heated infusion. Be very careful not to scorch your herbs. You don’t have to use all these herbs, these are just ones I use. Infused oils and balms are the center of my company so I have many infusing at once.
1. Making the base (infused oils plus wax)
2. Adding the muscle rub ingredients to the base
The most basic balm recipe is 1 CUP of oils to 1 OUNCE of beeswax. The oils most commonly used are olive oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil. Just oil and beeswax makes for a very hard product (balm). By adding more ingredients, like butters, to soften it, it becomes a salve. Whatever you want to call this base, it works MAGNIFICENTLY. I have Lupus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and a host of issues that leads to horrific inflammation, muscle and joint pain and lots of things that make working difficult.
I make this in 3 strengths. I am working on a formula for a pushup stick but haven’t tested it yet. I tried to make this so it worked in a roll-on tube, but this consistency doesn’t work with that. There is a video for one version of the medium strength one on YouTube. You can customize this recipe using the directions below.
This recipe makes about 16 oz of light and medium strength muscle balm and 18-20 ounces of extra strength. I jar it in 4 oz mason jars.
Directions on how to make it “light” or “extra strength” below.

1. Making the base
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING THE BASE
Basic base for light or medium muscle rub: add 1.5 OUNCES of melted beeswax to 1.5 CUPS of oils/butters.
Melt together 1.5 ounces of beeswax (or if you want it to be vegan candelilla wax), ¼ cup of shea butter and ¼ cup of cocoa butter. (If you want it to be hard like a balm, leave the butters out and either add more oils or reduce the beeswax to 1 oz.) The directions for the extra strength base increases
To that I add a cup of infused oils. You can add these in any percentages you like. The herbs I like for a muscle rub are: Arnica, St. John’s Wort, Comfrey, Chamomile, and Calendula (see individual recipes for percentages). I personally think that Arnica is the most effective infused oil but it’s very expensive. I know that Lemon Balm is also very soothing. I am infusing that now but did not have that on hand when I developed these recipes.
For my infusions, I use sunflower oil with ROE added when I open the bottle, extra virgin olive oil and apricot oil. I also add Vitamin E to the infusion before I bottle it. I use solar-infusion. The oils are typically infused for 4-6 weeks. You can do a heated infusion in a crock pot.
You can use any oils/infusions you want for the base. For the essential oils, only the ones in the “light” muscle rub are necessary. The rest are optional. I played with these recipes a long time to come up with the ones I like the best. Your mileage may vary. Feel free to try different things.
2. Sanitize your jars.
I use 4 oz glass “mason” jars. I put them in boiling water and then alcohol them when they come out. Don’t leave the bands/lids in the boiling water. I have learned to just dunk them in the boiling water for a second and then spritzing with alcohol. I buy new bands and lids all the time because experience has taught me that “used” bands and lids can have hidden rust on them.
3. Add the “muscle rub” ingredients:
a. LIGHT MUSCLE RUB
Slowly melt 1.5 oz of beeswax, ¼ cup of shea butter and ¼ cup of cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler.
When the beeswax and butters are melted, add the cup of infused oils. For a light muscle rub I use 60 percent arnica infused oil, 20 percent calendula infused oil, 20 percent chamomile. You can definitely use less arnica (as I said, it’s really expensive and I’ve not yet found a way to make this product inexpensive but my suggestion would be to use less arnica).
While the oils, butters and beeswax are melted and on very low, add 5 grams of menthol chips.
When the menthol chips are melted, remove from the stove and allow to cool to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
At 120 degrees, add
3 grams lavender essential oil
2 grams clovebud essential oil
2 grams of camphor essential oil
2 grams of peppermint essential oil
1 gram eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
1 gram rosemary essential oil (optional)

If you do not have Vitamin E in your infused oils, add 2-4 grams of Vitamin E.
Allow to cool. Sanitize lids and cover.
b. MEDIUM MUSCLE RUB
Slowly melt 1.5 oz of beeswax, ¼ cup of shea butter and ¼ cup of cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler.
When the beeswax and butters are melted, add the cup of infused oils. For the medium muscle rub I use 70 percent arnica infused oil, 20 percent St. John’s Wort infused oil, 10 percent comfrey infused oil.
While the oils, butters and beeswax are melted and on very low, add 7 grams of menthol chips.
When the menthol chips are melted, remove from the stove and allow to cool to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
At 120 degrees, add
3 grams of lavender essential oil
3 grams of camphor essential oil,
3 grams of cajeput essential oil
3 grams of peppermint essential oil
2 grams clovebud essential oil
1 gram eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
1 gram rosemary essential oil (optional)
If you do not have Vitamin E in your infused oils, add 2-4 grams of Vitamin E.
c. EXTRA STRENGTH MUSCLE RUB
NOTE: I increase the base to absorb all the extra essential oils. If you’re not adding all these extras, you don’t need to increase the base. This is a VERY VERY strong rub. Use with care and test it before giving it away or selling it. You can reduce any of the ingredients after the menthol. I highly recommend that you test it with several people. I love this strength and use most of the “optionals” when I make it for me but some people find the medium strength too much. This strength would definitely be out.
Slowly melt 2 oz of beeswax, ¼ cup of shea butter and ¼ cup of cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler.
When the beeswax and butters are melted, add 1.5 cups of infused oils. For the extra strength muscle rub, I use 1 cup of percent arnica infused oil, ½ cup St. John’s Wort infused oil.
While the oils, butters and beeswax are melted and on very low, add 6-8 grams of menthol chips.
When the menthol chips are melted, remove from the stove and allow to cool to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
At 120 degrees, add
4 grams of camphor essential oil,
3 grams clovebud essential oil,
3 grams of cajeput essential oil
3 grams peppermint essential oil,
2 grams cassia essential oil
You can use some or all of the optionals:
2 grams eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
2 grams of lavender essential oil (optional)
2 grams rosemary essential oil (optional)
1 gram cayenne pepper or cayenne pepper oil (optional)
1 gram ground ginger (do not use fresh ginger) or ginger essential oil (optional)
If you do not have Vitamin E in your infused oils, add 2-4 grams of Vitamin E. (Avoid turmeric in a muscle rub. It stains everything and you.)
Recently I have been experimenting/formulating with MSM and glucosamine sulfate. The issue with MSM is that it is only water soluble so adding water to these muscle rubs brings a whole other issue of preservatives and MSM has its own stability issues. Stay tuned….

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