An Herbal Salve is a semi-solid herbal mixture that is used topically to bring healing through the skin to the body. Starting with an oil (coconut, sweet almond, apricot kernel, lard, etc.) that has been infused with herbs of your choice, the mixture achieves its semi-solid texture through the addition of waxes, like beeswax or candelillia wax (vegan).
Salves are great topical remedies to have in your medicine cabinet because they are versatile, highly absorbable, easy to administer to babies and children and, depending on the method of preparation and proper storage, they can have a shelf life of 1 year.
If you are sore and achy, make a muscle rub. If you experience upper respiratory congestion often, make a chest rub. For PMS you can make a salve that reduces pain, cramping and inflammation. With your base recipe, a salve can be quickly tailored to suit your needs.
For this DIY I made a Wound Herbal Salve to be used on cuts, burns, rashes, bites, stings, poison ivy, bruises and bumps. I have been known to nick myself a few times will cutting vegetables. Tami gets blisters and bites from working in the garden. And we have a very active, nature-loving toddler who likes to climb, jump, kick and explore. Basically we use this Wound Herbal Salve everyday.
Making an herbal oil is the first step in developing your herbal salve, the tutorial for which will be posted separately. For my Wound Herbal Salve I infused coconut oil with comfrey, lavender, plantain, calendula and rose. There is a lot to be said about making herbal oils in terms of choosing fresh vs. dried herbs, cook time, herb to oil ratio and different infusion methods, so I’d like to devote an entire post to it. For now, let’s assume you have herbal oil on hand. Alternatively you can make a medicinal salve using essential oils.
Ingredients for a 2-ounce Wound Salve:
- 3 TBLS Herbal Oil
- 1 TBLS Shea Butter
- 2 TSP Beeswax
- 30 Drops Essential Oil (optional)
- On low heat warm the Oil, Shea Butter and Beeswax until the wax is melted.
- Once the wax is fully melted, stir your essential oils in if you are using them.
- Pour the liquid into a 2-ounce jar.
- Place in the refrigerator to cool and harden for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator, label and cap.
- Store your salve in a cool location, away from direct sunlight. It will keep for approx. 1 year.