Medicinal Salve

A salve is a combination of oil, dried herb, and beeswax that can be applied to the skin for cuts, bruises, stings, burns, dry skin, bites, etc. Crushed or powdered dried herb is always used (as opposed to fresh) to prevent spoilage of your formula. What makes a salve different from an oil or ointment is the beeswax – it makes it into a harder consistency. They are used to carry the medicine of an herb into the skin to help soothe, decongest and even draw out splinters or toxins.

What you need

  • Dried herb
  • Beeswax
  • Oil: usually good quality olive oil, almond oil or sesame oil
  • Benzoin tincture – this is a balsamic tree resin that acts as a safe preservative
  • Scale
  • Crockpot
  • Blender or mortar & pestle
  • Strainer and cheesecloth
  • Mixing spoon
  • Candy thermometer
  • Small saucepan
  • Salve jars & labels
  • Essential oil (if desired for scent)

Step 1: Prepare the herb.

Choose which dried herb(s) you would like to use for your salve. Some nice healing herbs for the skin are Calendula flowers, Comfrey root/leaf, Plantain leaf, Chamomile flowers, and Marshmallow root. Measure out about 1 ounce of dried herb(s) and use a blender or a mortar and pestle to grind the dried herb into powder and set aside. 

Step 2: Prepare the oil.

Measure out 4 ounces of desired oil (olive, almond, coconut or sesame are best) and add it to your crockpot. Heat the oil to a maximum of 80-100 degrees F to prevent spoiling your oil. Add the powdered dry herb to the warm oil in the crockpot, stir and leave uncovered for 2-48hrs (I usually do 12 hours). Do not let the oil mixture exceed 100 degrees F during the 12 hours. 

After 12 hours of stewing, strain the oil well first with a strainer then a layered cheesecloth to ensure that your salve will be silky smooth. Wipe out the pot then return the oil to the crockpot.

You can skip steps 1 & 2 by purchasing infused oil, such as lavender oil, calendula oil, arnica oil, etc. Once you have the oil, you can heat it to 80-100 degrees F and continue onto the next steps right away

Step 3: Prepare the beeswax.

With the oil warming in the crockpot, grate about 1/4 ounce of grated beeswax into a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan until the beeswax has melted. You can then stir the melted beeswax into the crockpot with the warm oil until it is mixed thoroughly. 

Step 4: Check the consistency.

It’s important for your salve to have an ideal consistency – not too soft and not too hard. In order to test this, place a droplet of the oil and beeswax mixture onto the back of your hand, once cooled it will resemble the consistency of your salve. If it’s too soft – add more beeswax, if it’s too hard – add more oil. If you live in a warm climate, you can use a bit more beeswax, and if you live in a cold climate, use a bit less. Once the consistency is set, you can add your benzoin tincture. You need 1 drop per ounce of oil used, so if you used 4 ounces of olive oil you need 4 drops of benzoin tincture.

Step 5: Fill the jars.

You’re now ready to fill your little dispensing jars with healing salve. Pour the salve while it’s still a warm liquid into the jars, it will set as it cools inside the jars. Now place your labels on and you’re ready to hand out your homemade healing salves as special gifts to friends and family.

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