Last week, within the span of one day, three of my kids needed a band-aid for some reason. With five kids who like to climb, jump and live in their treehouse, this is a common occurrence, so I decided to find a natural salve option to use instead of conventional ones like Neosporin.
A Healing Salve…
I’m not a fan of Neosporin because its made with petroleum jelly and there are natural options that work just as well.
My homemade healing salve (or “boo-boo lotion”, according to the kids) is helpful on cuts, bruises, stings, poison ivy and skin irritations. It also helps diaper rash and baby skin irritations- just don’t use with cloth diapers or line them first.
It’s easy to make and some of the ingredients even grow in your front yard during the summer… One of the herbs I use is Plantain, which grows in most parts of the country and is great for the skin. Most people just know it as a common garden weed. It also calls for optional yarrow, which helps with itching and rashes.
This salve is naturally antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and astringent. It also doesn’t contain petroleum! I never goes bad, so I make it in big batches, but you can reduce the size if needed. I always keep this on hand while gardening for skin irritations and bug bites.
All ingredients and tins and lip chap containers to store it in can be found online. (Storing in a lip-chap container makes it portable and easy to apply. )
Healing Salve Recipe
- 2 cups olive oil (or almond oil)
- 1 tsp echinacea root (optional)
- 2 TBSP comfrey leaf
- 2 TBSP dried plantain leaf
- 1 TBSP calendula flowers (optional)
- 1 tsp yarrow flowers (optional)
- 1 tsp rosemary (optional)
- ¼ cup beeswax pellets
Infuse the herbs into the olive oil:
- Either combine the olive oil and herbs in a jar with an airtight lid and leave 3-4 weeks, shaking daily
- OR heat the olive oil and herbs over low heat in a double boiler for 3 hours (low heat!) until the oil is very green.
Make the salve:
- Strain the herbs out of the oil by pouring through a cheesecloth. Let all the oil drip out and then squeeze give the herbs a squeeze to get the remaining oil out.
- Discard the herbs.
- Combine the infused oil and beeswax in a double boiler.
- Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the wax is melted.
- Pour into small tins, glass jars, or lip chap tubes and use as needed.
Also try my version made with chickweed!
Ever made your own salves? Share below!
Discussion (291 Comments)
are the herbs fresh or dried? Does it matter? Can’t wait to try this!
Either one will work…
Fresh herbs will more than likely cause mold, try dry wilting the fresh herbs for a few days to get all the moisture out. Or use dried herbs.
I used fresh herbs. The water steams off during the heating process. You can include vitamin E as a preservative or a essential oil that will fight mold growth.
Theives is an esstential oil that fights mold. Can put in difuser for getting mold out of room air. And fir cleaning. Great stuff!!
Leslie, I like that idea of using fresh herbs, and it seems they will be more potent that way, as compared to using just dry herbs. I think you’re right that the moisture may leave the mixture while it’s heating – if the cover is left off. That’s my guess.
I wish I could find an effective healing salve that didn’t contain comfrey. I realize healthy individuals can use certain amounts of comfrey without trouble, but I am a battling cancer– all naturally–and don’t want to overload my liver with anything since I need my liver to help fight the cancer. Is there any suitable substitute for the comfrey? Thanks in advance.
I make my slave with plantain, lavender and rosemary. Just plantain is wonderful! My favorite healing herb.
Mmmmmmmm that sounds delicious! I’m making plantain salve now (it’s in the crock pot on low overnight), and adding lavender and rosemary sounds wonderful! I was thinking lavender and bergamot or Lemongrass. I found a different recipe before this one and had already started making it when I found this one. The one I used only uses plantain, not other herbs along with it. It calls for coconut or olive oil but I only had a fresh grapeseed oil, so that’s what I used. I will add beeswax tomorrow to thicken it. I can’t wait to try it! Love reading everyone’s comments.
Julie in Minnesota
The Comfrey makes cells replicate so that they heal faster–it is a “top down healer” which means the skin will seal at the surface first, so it’s not for use on deep wounds until infection has been cleared and the wound well on its way to finishing healing.. This formula should be just fine without it, all of the herbs are great for healing the skin. Using the Comfrey as a part of a formula for an external application such as this should not have an adverse effect on your liver. That worry comes more from internally ingesting Comfrey long term. But again, you don’t need it for this recipe to be effective.
An alternative to comfrey for cancer, could be hemp oil, not hemp seed oil, but CBD oil or hemp oil. See: Run From The Cure on youtube for more information. Extremely Valuable Information!!
Comfrey is not meant to be taken internally, it not only causes liver damage but some studies suggest cancer. HOWEVER, used topically the only harm it can cause is dermatitis if you are allergic to it. If used in a deep wound (which is not recommended for any herbal product) it might have a small chance but it will not affect the liver in salve form. If you are worried about your liver try milk thistle or dandelion both have amazing liver protecting and boosting properties they can keep your liver healthy or fix damage done with the only side effect being an allergic reaction if you had one prior.
I’ve done extensive research on comfrey, dandelion, and plantain during my herbalist training. Comfrey as long as it is not ingested and you are not allergic is not harmful and a very good wound healer.
Comfrey leaves are fine to ingest….I have been using them for teas and other things for 40 years….nothing wrong with my liver. If anything, it could be the root that can cause some problem.
But I think this is if you use lots of it for a long time. And I mean LOTS. Which is not what you’re probably going to do. Comfrey is great. I use the leaf in my mineral tea mix…..It’s one of my very favorite herbs….
I do too Kate. it is the crazy amounts of excessive dosages that has caused the recorded problems in a few people. I drink it in my tea.
I made this and added Shea butter and when it hardened it was granulated. Any idea why, and how I could fix it in future batches? Thanks so much for your great site!
Lindsey, where did you receive your herbalist training? And did you earn a certificate or degree ? My great-grandmother was an herbalist from Czechoslovakia; she taught me a lot, but I’d like to get some kind of formal certification.
The study that is often referred to was done with rats that ate an exclusive comfrey diet for months (I forget how many, but a ridiculously long time). It is a perfect example of the lengths pharma will go to just to squash an herbal powerhouse. Research the studies- not the articles that refer to them.
This is wonderful stuff! I was looking for something to put on wounds in place of antibiotic ointment, and this is perfect. I didn’t have the yarrow, but made it anyway. We needed something for cracked thumbs, so I took my healing salve, put it in the double boiler with some cocoa butter and beeswax, and wa-la. Thick, non-melty healing salve that coats skin.
I can’t help myself but I must correct you: please don’t take offense!
It’s VOILA no wa-la and it means “see it there” as in, from the two words voir (to see) la (there) so it’s voila, meaning, see it there for yourself, that is the meaning. And now you can voila for yourself 🙂
Maybe her expression is wa-la and she wrote exactly what she meant! I love learning new words and expressions, don’t you?
It’s actually “voilà”, to be quite exact! 😉
What is the size of the jar you use? I can’t seem to find that, and b/c of the small amount of herbs, I’m guessing it matters so that its not to diluted? Thanks.
Wow, this is so cool! I have this week growing throughout my yard and had no clue it was anything but a weed! Can you move it to a pot to grow indoors? I have never seen it for sale normally.
Honestly, I’ve never tried moving it indoors, but let me know if you try it!
I will if I can get it to work. Thanks!
Love your website 🙂
This herb is more amazing than most people know. My dad lived in the Jungle of Peru (Tarapoto) to be exact and a medicine man introduced this herb to him when one day he showed him a lesion on the back of his left leg. Dad had previously gone to see a regular doctor, and was told he had a skin cancer and it was not curable unless cut off and it was the size of his calf muscle. Well… this herb that USA calls plantain is called “LLANTEN”‘ in Peru. The medicine man told him to boil water and to drop a leaf in the boiling water just long enough to wilt it, take it out an cool slightly and put the entire leaf or leaves on the affected area and wrap with cheese cloth. Change it daily and do this for a week or until it was gone. After this primitive treatment, all dad had left was a discolored smooth area on the back of his leg for the rest of his life. I personally grow this herb, (it grows wild) and when i make collard greens or other greens I also include some LLANTEN leaves. I also make tea with the leaves, boil water and let it steep, add some honey and a little lemon and enjoy.
Thank you for the info. GOD Bless
hey there wellness mama, I’m new to your site but I was wondering where you got your double boiler from? everything I find at target looks like what I use to steam my veggies, are they one in the same?
I found mine at a garage sale, but it is basically a small pan with a slightly bigger pan that fits on top of it. I put water in the bottom one and the ingredients in the top one. Most of the time though I just use a glass bowl on top of a saucepan that is a little smaller…
I am trying this now… glass bowl on top of saucepan that is a little smaller. It’s been 3 hours on low heat and the mixture is not really green. What have a done wrong? Was a supposed to bring the water to a boil and then turn to low heat for 3 hours? I was afraid of ruining it…
Katie - Wellness Mama
Yes, basically, the oil has to get hot enough to pull the beneficial properties from the herbs. It isn’t ruined, just needs more time/heat
Can I use slow cooker on high for 4h?
Thank you. I learned of the healing properties of “Soldiers herb” aka plantain last summer but was unsure of how best to utilize it. I have to young boys 5 and 2 and we all have allergies to a lot of things. This will be taking a place of honor in our medicine cabinet!! Thank you a thousand times.
This would be worth trying. I found out the hard way that I am allergic to Neomycin. I had an ear infection and they gave me Neomycin drops for it. I almost lost my hearing. They weren’t sure if I would get it totally back. Thank GOD I did. I just about won’t use any medicaitons. Too many risk.
I’m from Australia where plantain grows minimally, probably some native ones around but I have not investigated them just yet. Would HEMP oil work do you think? Also I am thinking of selling some at my school fete, based on the ingredients you listed plus hemp oil, how long do you think the shelf life would be (considering people will use their hands to touch the salve, etc.)
Many thanks 🙂
I’m in Australia too. I make a similar balm to this with beeswax coconut oil (cold pressed – I’ve found the ones that smell less coconut are better for healing), jojoba, essential oils lavander, tea tree. I oringanal lay made it for my son as pomade but found it was fantastic on dry hands, bite and eczema too. Plus it’s all natural and smells lovely.
I’ve yet to try this recipe but very interested as both my son and I suffer ezcema.
Bel, I’d love to get a hold of your recipe too? how can I get this? Thanks
Could I ask what your recipe is? I suffer from severe eczema on my hands.
Is it possible to use a mixture of dried and fresh herbs to make the oils?
I’ve had severe hand eczema my whole life and have yet to find relief! ?
I use what we call the “Stovetop Melting Method”. You’ll need a wide soup pan (3 quart or larger) and a 16 oz Pyrex measuring cup to get started. They Pyrex has to fit inside the pot. Fill the pan about 1/4 full of water, put the Pyrex cup in that pan, and use these as a double boiler. Once the water has come to a boil, lower it to a simmer and add ingredients in the following order, stirring frequently. This is not the time to multi-task! Stay in front of the stove the whole time.
Beeswax and jojoba are first (if jojoba is applicable). Once beeswax and jojoba are melted, add the hardest butter. Once melted, add all the other hard ingredients, then add the softer ones like coconut oil. Leave on the heat only until melted. Once melted, take off the heat and add the liquid oils and shea butter and stir until melted. Once fully melted, add essential oils to the melted butter, stir and pour into containers. Cover containers right away.
In this recipe you aren’t going to be using any hard butters like mango or softer ones like shea, but if you want to try your hand at something that does use them, the above method is the best I’ve ever found.
1 oz beeswax
1 oz jojoba oil
1 oz avocado oil
1.5 oz rose hip seed oil
.25 tsp liquid Vitamin E
6 drops geranium oil
3 drops benzoin resin
3 drops elemi oil
3 drops ylang ylang oil
Combine using the stovetop method described above, pour into container(s) of your choice, cover, let stand until cool and balm has set. Apply as needed.
Hope this helps!
Just wanted to share that after 20 plus years of suffering eczema on my hands, I had a chemical allergy test done and 2 months later, my hands are almost perfect! I’m now making my own salves and soaps ( which is why I’m here for ideas) and avoiding all the everyday things I’m allergic to, such as rubber, latex, parabens and lanolin among others. I’d highly recommend getting tested!
I, too, am from Australia and I had to find out a bit more about ‘plantain’, as I would love to make this balm (Bel’s sounds great, too).
Here are some links that I have found useful, including a summary by Wellness Mama:
I found this helpful, and by the looks of it, plantain can be found in quite a few places around the country.
We have heaps of it in Melbourne! I’ve got lots in my front yard 🙂
is it possible to use comfrey root insted of leaves?
Comfrey leaves are far safer to use, since the root contains substances that have proved to cause liver damage. If you stick with the dried leaf you will be much better off.
Hemp oil is highly susceptible to spoilage–especially if it is lightly heated in making oils. If you can regulate the heating of the oil to cook in the herbs, about 3-6 months in the refrigerator for hemp oil.
Hi, it is now May 2015, so this may be too late to contribute, but here goes anyway.
We lived in Holland (Netherlands) before moving to Canada, and I was told by a friend there to try milk for ear infections. I would soak the end of a small piece of cotton wool (just enough to be damp but not drippy) and place it gently (just enough into the child’s ear for it not to fall out) and leave it there overnight. By the morning, or after no more than 24 hours, the ear infection was always gone.
Fast forward to now, and I’ve been researching colostrum and lactoferrin (a component of both colostrum and milk) for a quite different problem (long story), and have discovered that milk has an extraordinary list of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and even anti-protozoal* ingredients, along with many, many others miraculous protective and life-giving substances put their by its original Designer. I know this has little direct connection to the wonderful salve in question, but thought I would share it anyway, in case it helps somebody. Blessings to all you wonderful people contributing such helpful information on this thread, and especially to Wellness Mama for this exceptionally well-presented site. So grateful. : )
Milk is a wonderful food and can treat a few issues. Though it must be raw milk as pasturization cooks all the beneficial components right out of it. Grass fed and all that good stuff. Colustrum is a staple in our home. In Southern California I was able to buy it raw at health food store and used it to treat my children’s ear infections and viruses, a shock to my doctors who shook their fingers at me for refusing antibiotics. Now in Utah I have a harder time finding raw milk, I use the chewable forms of colustrum and it works quite well. I haven’t found it to help as much with my son’s eczema as diet and natural skin care products. I do allow him some cheat days (he’s 12 and I want him to learn to take control of his own health) and his skin usually shows it, then he doubles up on the lotion bars and probiotics. Cheers =)
Look for it online you can get it anywhere if you order it.
I know a few people that have placed a drop or two of breast milk into their babies ears to treat ear infections and it really does works!
Aha! Brilliant idea! Colostrum would be even better, but sadly that only lasts for about 3 days. You can buy it, though, and there is a Swiss company that sells not only Swiss Brown Cow colostrum, but also colostrum from goats and even mares. Not sure if they export to the U.S. yet, but there are also reliable U.S. and Canadian companies selling good quality colostrum. Colostrum, of course, is another entire subject in itself – one of the most amazing substances God created. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even pasteurized store-bought regular cow’s milk still did the job on my children’s ear’s when they were young. Best wishes. : )
SPROUTS Grocery sells raw milk.
I trust getting it from there.
I am in California and don’t know where all they are located. Look them up.