It’s fall! Time to restock your herbal medicine cabinet. One of the easiest remedies to make is a healing salve.
The skin is like a sponge. Whatever you put on it quickly enters the body. Healing salves are great for the skin. They can soothe dryness, irritation, heal wounds, and rashes. Healing salves can also be used for internal complaints like chest congestion or sore muscles, too.
What is a Healing Salve?
So what exactly is a healing salve? It’s an oil that has been infused with something like herbs or essential oils. We then add wax to make it more solid so that it stays in one place. Sounds easy, right? It is. I will give you a basic recipe and then talk about variations.
How to Make a Healing Salve
1/2 cup (4 oz) of oil of your choice
1/2 oz beeswax or carnauba wax shavings
1/2 c. herbs or essential oils (about 10 drops total)
If you are using essential oils, gently heat the oil and wax. Go slowly. It’s easy to burn the oil.
Once the oil and wax are completely melted, let it cool to room temperature, but not to the point where it’s starting to become solid. Add the essential oils. Stir to mix. Put the oil into your jar. Let cool. Once it’s solid, it’s ready to use.
If you are using herbs, you have two options. The first is to add the herbs to the oil. Set in the sun for four to six weeks. At the end of that time, place the cheesecloth over a bowl and drain. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all the yummy herbal essence.
If you are in a hurry, you can put the oil and herbs in a glass measuring cup. Fill a larger pot 1/4 full of water. Place the bowl of oil and herbs inside a pot of water. Be sure that there is enough space so that when the water boils, it doesn’t flow into the cup of oil. Bring the water to a boil. Then simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.
Let the oil cool until it’s safe to handle. Place the cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the oil over it so that the oil goes into the bowl and the herbs stay on top. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract any remaining oil.
Add wax and reheat to melt. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, you can add essential oils or other additives or just place it into your container. Let cool until solid. Now it’s ready to use.
Now that you have the basic idea, you want some specifics, right? Here you go. Feel free to research, experiment and make your own.
You can use one oil or combine them.
Coconut oil- it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Olive oil- this has a luxurious, moisturizing feel, and also contains vitamins A, D, E, and K
Shea butter- this comes from a nut tree and is used for moisturizing
Tallow – this is animal fat. It’s the traditional way salve and old fashioned lye soap is made. It’s great for skincare.
50/50 meadowsweet and calendula – for aches and pains
25/25/50 dried lavender, rose, and calendula – for dry skin
25/25/25/25 cayenne pepper, ginger root, turmeric, arnica flowers – for aches and pains
25/25/25/25 dried plantain leaf, dried comfrey leaf, dried burdock root – for bites and stings
50/50 activated charcoal, kaolin clay – draw out salve
15 drops peppermint essential oil (EO), 10 drop eucalyptus EO, 5 drops lemon EO – chest congestion
3 drops each of peppermint EO, eucalyptus EO, rosemary EO, lavender EO, camphor EO – for chest congestion
combine 40 drops clove bud EO, 35 drops lemon EO, 20 drops, cinnamon bark, 15 drops eucalyptus EO, 10 drops rosemary EO. Use 10-15 drops of this in your base salve for immunity.
How to Use Salves
Rub on the affected area. It’s that simple! Healing salves can be used for dry skin, eczema, burns, cuts, scrapes, sunburn, diaper rash, or just plain old moisturizer. If you are using it on your feet, put it on the bottoms of your feet before you go to bed. Cover with socks. I don’t know why this works better, but it does.
One more tip. For freshness make small batches. Oils will go rancid. Some herbs speed this up. Some essential oils slow it down. The average shelf life is about nine months.
Salves are probably found in every culture. They’ve been around forever because they are effective. If you want to go natural, this is a great way to make that change.