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The Pain-Relieving, Inflammation-Reducing Power of Trauma Oil

I'm a natural health coach, herbalist, and aromatherapy consultant using the power of essential oils to improve health and well-being.

When our grandmothers got aches and pains, bumps, bruises, fevers and other illnesses that their family might have suffered from, they didn't have a corner drugstore to run to, and the nearest doctor might have been miles away. I know that was the case when I was growing up in a rural town in Jamaica. I remember having lots of food growing in the yard. We had our own chickens. We grew lots of herbs. It was great. I want to share some of this wisdom with you today.

My Experience With Lupus and Trauma Oil

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I was placed on several pain medications and steroids that nearly killed me. I searched for more natural methods to deal with the pain, as well as to heal my body, and this was one of the methods that I discovered. Trauma oil not only helps me with lupus but also with my neuropathy pain as well.

Since learning how to make it, I also started to blend essential oils into it to make it even more potent. I shared it with several friends who were experiencing fibromyalgia, and they expressed to me that it was the only product that gave them any relief. These friends still use it today.

I've even written a short book detailing various recipes, using trauma oil as the base. These blends help with issues ranging from sports injuries to arthritis pain.

One Very Important Item I Learned to Make in Herbalism School: Trauma Oil

It is one item that everyone should have in their natural medicine cabinet. The item that I will discuss here is called trauma oil.

If you have a natural first aid kit, you’ll want to be sure to include trauma oil among your primary items.

What Is Trauma Oil?

Trauma oil is a blend of three organic flowers: calendula, st. john’s wort, and arnica. These three flowers are infused in organic olive oil (or another carrier oil) to create trauma oil.

What Is an Infused Oil?

An "infused oil" is a carrier, usually olive oil, that has been soaked (infused) in herbs or flowers. If you’ve ever made sun tea, you’ve made an infusion!

The oil that results from an infusion contains the medicinal properties of the plants that were soaking in it. The result is a versatile product that can used alone on the skin for healing or added to salves and balms.

Side note: Using an infused carrier oil in addition to essential oil is a terrific way to double the therapeutic benefits!

What Does Trauma Oil Help With?

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sciatic discomfort
  • Injuries and wound care
  • Strains of muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints
  • Inflammations of muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints
  • Fractures and dislocation
  • Sprains, bruises and contusions
  • Arthritic joints and rheumatic pains.

Trauma oil can be massaged into the injured areas as is or blended with essential oils to enhance healing, reduction of inflammation, and relief of pain.

Calendula-Infused Oil

Calendula-Infused Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 part calendula
  • 1 part st. john's wort
  • 1 part arnica
  • 10 parts carrier oil, (virgin olive oil, jojoba, coconut oil, etc.)

A Few Notes on Technique

  • I personally like to make individual infusions, and then combine equal parts of the oils to make the final trauma oil. I do this because I sometimes use the calendula oil on my granddaughter or in some of my DIY beauty products. It is entirely up to you whether you combine the three herbs or make individual infusions and then combine those oils to make the final blend.
  • I prefer to use dried herbs and flowers because fresh herbs contain water that can cause mold growth and spoilage of your finished oil. Grow your own or purchase organic dried herbs so you don’t end up with pesticides in your herbal oil.

Five Ways to Make an Herbal Oil Infusion

Trauma oil is essentially a combination of infused oils of the three herbs. Alternatively, the three herbs can be combined in equal quantities and infused at one time. Either way, you decide to blend the properties of these plants, a special infusion must be done first. For the sun infusion and slow cooker heating methods, prepare the herbs in the following way first:

  1. If using fresh herbs, wilt them first for 12 hours to remove the moisture (too much moisture will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortar and pestle before adding to the jar. You can skip these extra steps if your herbs are dried.
  2. Place your dried herbs in a clean quart jar.
  3. Pour oil into the jar, making sure to cover herbs with at least 1" of oil and leaving at least 1/2" of space at the top of the jar so the herbs will have room to expand. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more on top to ensure that the herbs are well covered.
  4. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.

If using a high heat method, skip to those, and follow those preparation instructions. High-heat infusion methods are not recommended.

Sun Infusion

There are several ways to infuse oils, but my favorite is the Folk or Simpler’s Method which relies upon the heat from the sun to naturally infuse the oil with herbal properties.

You can use countless herbs with this method.

  1. Place the jar on a sunny and warm windowsill. Shake once or more per day. You can also cover the jar with a brown paper bag if you prefer that to direct sunlight.
  2. After 3-6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth. Make sure and squeeze every precious drop of oil out!
  3. Pour into tinted glass bottles (blue or brown work well)
  4. Label and store in a cool dark place.

The oil should keep for at least a year. Vitamin E oil may also be added to prolong the shelf life.

Slow Cooker Method

If you prefer, you may use a slow cooker with a “warm” setting which prevents the oils and herbs from getting too hot while cooking. The lower the heat and the slower the infusion, the stronger your herbal oil will be. If your slow cooker only has a “low” setting, you can still use this method, but you’ll need to check the temperature frequently, turning your slow cooker off and back on to regulate the heat.

  1. Place a hand towel in the bottom of your slow cooker. This serves to keep the direct heat off jars and promote more even heat distribution, as well as cushioning jars from bumping the pot which could cause chips and breakage. Fill slow cooker about halfway with water around the jars of oil. Turn slow cooker on “warm” setting to preheat.
  2. Cap jars and place them into the slow cooker on top of the towel. Allow oils to infuse for 8-12 hours on your slow cooker’s lowest setting. The temperature should remain between 100°–120°. You may want to check the temperature every few hours, turning off the slow cooker for a bit if needed. Stir or gently shake jars a few times during the infusion process.
  3. Once herbs have been infused, turn off the slow cooker and allow it to cool to room temp. Strain herbs/flowers out using a tea towel or several layers of unbleached cheesecloth. Compost or discard the spent herbs.
  4. Transfer your infused oils to clean glass jars or bottles and cap tightly.
  5. Label your jar with the type of oil used, herb it was infused with, date

Protect your herbal oils from heat and light by storing them in a cool, dark place. Your oils may last a year or more if stored properly.

Stovetop Method for Herb-Infused Oils (High Heat)

Place the herb-filled jar in a saucepan that has been filled about ¼ full of water, simmer for 4-8 hours. Remove the jar from the saucepan and allow it to cool. Decant, bottle, label, and store in a cool dark place.

Oven Method for Herb-Infused Oils (High Heat)

Place the herbs and oil in a large ovenproof dish and place in a preheated 250 degrees oven. Turn the oven off and place the herb-filled bowl in the oven for 24 hours uncovered. Cool the mixture then pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl with a spout. Bottle, label, and store following the instructions above.

Double Boiler Method for Herb-Infused Oils (High Heat)

Prepare and place the herbs and oil in a double boiler and bring to a slow simmer. Slowly heat for 30-60 minutes. Keep the heat nice and low for a longer simmer time and to help release medicinal properties. Decant, bottle, and store following the instructions above.

Don’t forget to label your infusion!

Calendula or Marigold flowers that are used to create the infusion for Trauma Oil.

Calendula or Marigold flowers that are used to create the infusion for Trauma Oil.

Calendula

Calendula, or marigold, has been used medicinally for centuries.

Calendula oil is great for:

  • dry and damaged skin (but not an open wound)
  • skin inflammations
  • rashes
  • diaper irritations and other skin disorders.
  • conjunctivitis
  • eczema
  • minor burns including sunburns
  • warts
  • minor injuries such as sprains
  • reducing inflammation
  • promoting healing

Fun Facts About Calendula

  • Calendula is an anti-fungal agent and can be used on athlete's foot, ringworm, and candida. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. The tincture applied neat to cold sores (if unopen) also encourages healing. In mouthwashes and gargles, calendula soothes sore throat or mouth tissue (but do not ingest) (Cronkleton 2019).
  • Calendula has a high content of flavonoids or chemicals that act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. Oxidation produces oxygen free radicals, natural chemicals that may suppress immune function (Nelofer et al, 2017).
St. Johns Wort flowers that are used in the Trauma Oil infusion

St. Johns Wort flowers that are used in the Trauma Oil infusion

St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort is an incredible herb with tons of benefits. Be warned that the effects of St. John's Wort can cause contraindications; in other words, St. John's Wort can mess with your other medications (Pietrangelo, 2018).

St. John's Wort is well-known in the herbal community. It is:

  • a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • highly antiseptic
  • antiviral

Additionally, it helps to relieve muscle cramps and is used homeopathically for depression. It is used to improve mood swings and relieve anxiety.

Arnica flowers used to make the infused oil

Arnica flowers used to make the infused oil

Arnica

Arnica oil has a number of homeopathic uses:

  • is traditionally used for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties
  • used to treat sprains, bruises, and muscle pain
  • speeds the healing of strains, contusions and muscle and joint pain
  • improves the local blood supply where it is applied
  • reduces inflammation
  • is used to treat swelling
  • is used to treat arthritis
  • is used to relieve sore gums after removal of wisdom teeth,
  • is used to treat insect bites,
  • is used to treat painful and swollen veins near the surface of the skin
  • In manufacturing, arnica is used in hair tonics and anti-dandruff preparations. The oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics (Bowman, 2020).

Side Effects of Arnica Oil

Pure arnica oil can be toxic if it gets inside the body, so avoid ingesting it. If taken orally, this herbal oil may cause:

  • Heart irregularities and increased heart rate
  • Nervous disturbances
  • Dizziness, tremors weakness and vomiting
  • Mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation

Back to the Basics: Picking Your Own Medicine

My grandmother and other older family members relied on simple wisdom, common sense, and pantries that were well-stocked with herbal remedies, or other items that were readily available to be picked from the yard, gathered in the fields or the nearby woods . . . like fever-grass, pepper leaves, and a host of others.

There is a growing awareness about the importance of returning to whole foods and healthy herbs in our modern lives. When I was studying to become a Certified Herbalist over four years ago, I could not help but remember the times that I shared with my grandmother and other family members while practicing making herbal remedies. I also can't forget using these remedies—when I got boils all over my legs, or when I got a fever or some other ailment.

It is my goal to preserve the knowledge and wisdom of my grandmother, elders and culture for current and future generations. I have seen these products work, not only in my private life but also in the lives of my friends and family.

Sources

Bowman, Joe. 2020. Does Arnica Help With Pain? Healthline.

Nelofer, J., Khurshid, I.A., Riffat, J. 2017. Calendula officinalis - An Important Medicinal Plant with Potential Biological Properties. Proc Indian Natn Sci Acad.

Cronkleton, Emily. 2019. 7 Ways to Use Calendula Oil for Your Skin. Healthline.com.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

Comments

Gina Welds Hulse (author) from Rockledge, Florida on December 21, 2017:

Vickie M, the link is: http://amzn.to/2BwD0EF

I also linked it in the hub. Hope it helps.

Gina Welds Hulse (author) from Rockledge, Florida on December 21, 2017:

I have written a short book, but each time I put the link, it is removed by HP. I will post it again for you. Hope it helps.

Vickie M on December 21, 2017:

I would love to make my own trauma oil, it is pretty expensive to buy it. You mentioned you have written a book with the recipes - is it for sale? Or do you share your recipes online? Thank you.

Linda L on July 24, 2017:

Gina, would you want to share the recipe you used for your friends that have fibromyalgia? You said you added other essential oils to the trauma oil which really helped them. I have a friend that is dealing with the horrible skin pain and I would like to help her with trauma oil and other essential oils.

Gina Welds Hulse (author) from Rockledge, Florida on September 28, 2016:

I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Shauna. I am hoping that my infusions/transfusions will cease once the last surgery takes place.

I will certainly keep you updated. Thanks for your empathy.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 28, 2016:

Gina, I'm sorry to hear about your bleeding problem. I had the same thing in the latter part of 2010 and early 2011 (female bleeding long after I'd stopped having periods). It took two surgeries within two months of each other to clear it up. No fun. I feel your pain.

Thanks for the link. Please let me know if and when you reopen your store.

Gina Welds Hulse (author) from Rockledge, Florida on September 28, 2016:

Hi Shauna. I did have a store, but I closed it for a period of time as it was taking so much time. I made everything from scratch so it was very time consuming. The store is not permanently closed, but I'm dealing with a serious bleeding problem, and that has taken a lot of trips to various doctors over the last few months to resolve. One recent surgery did not work so I have another scheduled for November. That one should resolve the problem...I'm praying.

There is a very reputable company that you can order the plants from....organic and the prices are not bad at all. You can then make it yourself. The website is www.mountainroseherbs.com I have not given up on the store, but I want to be able to deliver timely when ordered. So for now I share the recipes.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 28, 2016:

I've never heard of trauma oil, but it sounds like the perfect panacea for so many ailments. I'm so glad I chose to follow you, Gina. I'm learning a lot!

Do you make and sell the remedies you write about? I'd love to try some of these, but don't know where to buy the flowers. Do you have a store? I'd be seriously interested in purchasing some of your tinctures.

Gina Welds Hulse (author) from Rockledge, Florida on September 22, 2016:

Thank you for your feedback, Manatita. It is one oil blend that I always have in my medicine cabinet. There is a marathon coming up and one of my blends, which has the trauma oil base, has been requested to be given out at the beginning of the race. Think about this for your next race.

I hope you're feeling better.

Much love.

manatita44 from london on September 22, 2016:

Well explained and seemingly significant oil for many. I personally could have used this at our 24-hr race last weekend or at our marathon in NY last August. I should remember this.

You explain the herbs well and the infusion-blending also. Great informative and educational Hub.