Making your own herbal salve is a pretty simple process. By taking advantage of the “weeds” growing in your yard, essential oils, or dry bulk herbs you can create salves with a variety of uses. Want stress or pain relief? How about a salve to quiet the sting of a bug bite? Create your own herbal salve following this recipe!
The Basics of Herbal SalveNo matter if you’re using fresh herbs from your yard or garden, essential oils, or dried herbs from a store, you’ll also need to purchase vitamin E oil, beeswax pellets, and a container for your salves (tin, glass, or plastic).
If you’re using dandelion or violet, or some other herb, from your yard you’ll need to take some extra steps in preparing the herbs for use.
- Choose healthy leaves for your salve, rinse them in cold water to remove bugs and dirt then drain and gently pat dry.
- Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake on the lowest temperature setting for a couple of hours until the leaves are dry and crispy.
- Put the dried leaves (or dried bulk herb, if that’s what you’ve chosen) into a quart-sized jar then fill to the top with organic olive oil. Gently push the herb to the bottom of the jar with a blunt knife to remove any air bubbles, and place a piece of wax paper over the top of the jar before securing the lid.
- Keep the jar in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks.
- Check on your oil every few days and turn the jar upside down and turn it to move the oil through the herb.
Making Your Herbal Salve
After the 4-6 week period, you’re ready to make salve!
- Strain the oil through a sieve, lined with cheesecloth or an organic coffee filter, into a glass measuring cup or the top of a double boiler. Squeeze every last drop of oil possible from the herbs and cloth or filter. (consider a reuseable hemp coffee filter if you plan to make several batches!)
- Add 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of natural beeswax for each ounce of oil you use. Place the measuring cup in a pot of water but be careful not to get water into your herbal oil.
- Heat the oil over medium heat until the beeswax is melted then remove from heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil, stir to blend. If you’re using essential oils, this is the time to add them.
- Pour the oil into your chosen containers.
- Allow containers to cool completely before putting a lid on them.
Oils or Herbs?
Using essential oils for salves is an easier option and allows you to make several types of salves because you are able to skip the process of concentrating the dried herbs in the oil. Consider using lavender for stress relief or pain, peppermint salve for headaches or digestive issues, wintergreen for muscle aches, or a citrus scent for an energizing boost. When using essential oils be sure to pay attention to labels and purchase pure, organic oils whenever possible. If you’re using herbs from your garden or dried bulk herbs the process will take a bit longer but you’ll be able to control the purity and concentration of your salve. A great herb to consider, aside from dandelion and violet, is plantain leaf which promotes healthy skin and can help draw venom from animal bites and stings from the skin. Keep in mind that you can use dried herbs like lavender and peppermint to achieve the same result as the essential oils
Want more uses for essential oils? Check out our blogs on DIY essential oil uses, DIY pesticides, DIY insect repellents, how essential oils can benefit your first aid kit, meditation, and help you sleep better. Take a look at this post for a DIY lip balm using the many of the same ingredients listed here! Get creative and enjoy using herbs and natural remedies for health!
Following the recipes listed in these DIY blogs will help you create salves for repelling insects as well as quieting the sting of poison oak/ivy/sumac or bug bites!