Midnight Sun Arnica Oil
- A Road Recipe -
They call Alaska the land of the midnight sun and feeling the sun shine on you so late in the day is something you should experience if you can. With so many herbs to collect and see on the Alaskan Highway I’ve been craving to make and use something that will remind me of that seemingly everlasting day even as the days begin to shorten now that the solstice has passed and we’re heading South.
I found the perfect simple recipe that anyone can make even while on the road in a tiny VW van. A flower whose shinning face mimics that midnight sun is the powerful yellow Arnica. Tons of them grow along the side of the hot pavement of the highways up here, but it was a little more difficult to find them away from the road. I finally saw some near the rocky beach of a glacial river high on a pass in the Gurkana Glacier area. We pulled over and harvested about 20 or 30 flowers. Not many.
If you leave them to dry too long they turn to fluff and aren’t very useful so let them dry for a few hours to up to about 12. And make sure you have some oil around at this point. I had about a third of a jar of coconut oil with us that kept melting and hardening because of the changing temperatures that camping here exposed it to.
Dump those wilted flower heads into the liquid oil and let it sit on your dash in the sun for a few days. I didn’t bother with it much just let the long days of the sun heat it and melt it and infuse the yellow of both the flower and the sun into your oil.
After a few days and over the solstice I watched as the flowers began to loose their color to the oil. And then removed them. The way I’ve removed plants from oils in the past has been with cheese cloth and squeezing which honestly sucks. This time I used my husbands Aeropress.
He uses it for coffee in the morning and the thing is magical for pressing herbs out of oil without getting your hands dirty. Using his press I was able to quickly and cleanly press the oil out of the flowers. And came out with a satisfying yellow oil that harden up with the properties of coconut oil for me to use as a balm.
And the Midnight Sun Arnica Balm works wonders. My fingers who get arthritic after too much writing instantly feel better when I rub my hands with it and sore muscles are soothed too. I’ve never used arnica before this and if you haven’t either I urge you to try it. Even my dad is convinced and he’s a pretty big critic of this kind of stuff.
Ingredients — Arnica Flowers and enough oil to cover them
Directions — Dry flowers for a few hours to wilt. Cover flowers in jar with oil. Leave in the hot sun for a few days until flowers loose their vibrancy. Press out flowers from oil. Label oil in jar and compost flower heads.
Enjoy and heal with the power of the sun and flowers!