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Herbal Preparations – Salves

Herbal Preparations - Salves

Greetings friends. We continue today with my short series of articles on how to make and use home herbal remedies. This time we are looking at making Herbal Salves. A herbal salve is a thick herbal oil that can be put on the skin and left on to help heal stings, bites, cuts, sores, scrapes, burns and other skin related problems. Salves help to heal the skin quickly and also reduce the pain may help eliminate itching quickly. My kids have been getting healed using these since they were little! Salves can be made with fresh cut or dried herbs. They are easy to use; simply spread some on the affected area with your finger or a cotton tip. Salves a great addition to your first aid box. The herbs included may be as simple as one or two herbs, or may be more complicated by combining many herbs keeping them in the desired proportion for effectiveness. Salves can be made to address a single condition such as itching or dryness or a general purpose salve can also be made. The oils used should be able to be readily absorbed by the skin. Sesame and olive oils are generally the best and ghee can also be used. Some other examples of oils you could use include;

  • Non-Drying Oils (Saturated Fats – Oleic Acid) – Coconut, avocado, castor, apricot, coco butter, olive
  • Semi-Drying Oils (Unsaturated – Linoleic Acid) – wheat germ, sesame, sunflower, safflower
  • Drying (Unsaturated-Linoleic and Linoleic Acids) – Soybean, linseed (Flax)

Non-drying oils are best for dry skin as they do not absorb as readily as the semi-drying oils. Try combining both types (for instance sesame and olive). Castor oils is a nice addition to salves as it is very thick and an excellent healing oil in it’s own right. However only add in small amounts as it is very sticky. In addition to these ingredients, any herbal tinctures[link to tinctures article] may be included to enhance the salves healing properties. For example; calendula tincture added to calendula flower salves makes it’s healing properties stronger. Lastly, some Vitamin E oil needs to be included to preserve the salve. This is not going to detract in any way from the salve, it will only enhance it as Vitamin E is very healing to the skin.

What You Need To Make a Salve

1. Herbal Oil – See here to find out how to make a herbal oil
2. Pot or saucepan + 1 Old pot or saucepan for beeswax
3. Beeswax
4. Vitamin E Oil
5. Small resealable, airtight jars or tins for storage of salve.

Salve Recipe

1. Make herbal oil with desired herbs – See here on how to make a herbal oil
2. Pour herbal oils into pot and gently heat to simmer
3. Melt beeswax in old pot
4. When beeswax is melted, pour into herbal oil and mix well.
5. Add vitamin E oil
6. Test salve for hardness; take a teaspoon of salve oil and blow on it until hard. Or put teaspoon of salve oil into the refrigerator for a minute. When it looks hard, test with finger to see how it feels. If too hard, you won’t be able to spread salve; add a little more oil to salve. If too soft, it will feel mushy; add a little more melted beeswax to salve. In either case, keep testing until you get the desired hardness.
7. Right away pour into small jars or tins as it will start to harden immediately. Wash out pots with hot water as soon as possible and make sure the jars and tins have airtight lids.

For 100gm of salve, use 50gm of dried or powdered herbs, or 120gm of fresh herbs to 1 cup of oil and 45gm of beeswax. To this add 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Simply scale up to suit the amount you wish to make – ( so for 200gm of salve you would use 100gm dried herbs or 240 gm of fresh herbs to 2 cups of oil and 90 gm of beeswax and add in 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil)

Use as much or as little as needed externally only on the skin. Do not ingest.

Salves stored in a cool dark place like a cupboard will usually last for around 4-5 years. Mine never last that long because they are always being used 🙂

Well there you have it friends, an easy way to make a great addition to your first aid kit from natural herbs and oils. These are honestly one of the most useful herbal remedies you can have especially if you have active kids!
Until next time, be well, naturally.

Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Practitioner



My own clinical knowledge

“Herbs of Life” authored by Lesly Tierra, pg 186-187

Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of  is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.

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