Making your own salves at home can save you money and allow you to custom make each one to fit your family’s unique needs and scent preferences. Salves are good for healing, reducing scar tissue, fighting fungus such as athlete’s foot or ringworm, and many other uses.
Salves don’t need to be refrigerated, and they have a shelf life of about a year, or until they begin to smell rancid and turn white.
Here are the supplies you will need to make your own salves:
Casserole dish, glass or ceramic (not aluminum or stainless steel)
Potato ricer/ press (optional, it is helpful but not necessary)
Now for the fun part: making salves!
First, place the herbs in the casserole dish with olive oil, the herbs should be swimming in the oil.
Set the oven at 100 degrees F or plan for a warm, sunny day to sun bake.
Cook for 2 hours or more, checking the temperature often to assure that it stays at 100 degrees.
Break up the beeswax into small pieces.
Strain the oil well using the cheese cloth.
Add the beeswax little by little to the oil, stirring it in to melt it. Do not add all of the beeswax at one time; you can always add more beeswax if the consistency is not right.
Check the consistency of the mixture by taking a spoonful out and letting it dry. When you are satisfied with your salve’s consistency, pour into the containers and label with the name and date, ingredients are helpful to me because when I have different salves in the same containers, I forget what went into each one. Another suggestion is to label the salve with its uses.
Leave the lids off while it dries and cools.
For measuring purposes, you will lose some oil in the process, but it may end up balancing out with what beeswax is added in. For example, out of 14 ounces I lost 2, but added 3oz of beeswax for a firm consistency (like refrigerated butter).
A great book for herbs and their uses is Susan Weed’s Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Some herbs that are safe to use topically are dangerous to ingest, so please research before making teas & tinctures.
A few common herbs used in salves are calendula, comfrey, goldenseal, arnica, eucalyptus, peppermint, plantain leaf, and St. John’s Wort flowers.
Two recipes for common use salves:
For first aid ~2 parts Calendula, 1 part Comfrey, and 1 part Goldenseal.
Calendula flowers (petals only) are soothing, and make a great ingredient for diaper rash cream, or minor cuts and scrapes. Comfrey leaf is healing, and Goldenseal is both healing and acts as an antibiotic, for major scrapes.
Bites and Stings ~ 2 parts Plantain, 1 part Comfrey, and 1 part Goldenseal.
The Plantain has extracting properties, it works to draw out venom, infection, etc.