Homemade Healing Salve

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homemade healing salve
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Homemade Healing Salve

Last week, within the span of one day, three of my kids needed a Band-Aid for some reason. With six kids who like to climb, jump, and live in their treehouse, this is a common occurrence. I decided to find a natural salve option to use instead of conventional ones like Neosporin.

How to Use a Healing Salve

I’m not a fan of Neosporin because it’s made with petroleum jelly. Plus there are plenty of 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 with diaper rash and baby skin irritations. For cloth diapers be sure to line them with a disposable liner first.

This herbal healing salve is also great for eczema, scrapes, abrasions, and insect bites. And it’s moisturizing to dry skin and cuticles. If there’s a problem and it’s with your skin, this healing salve is likely to help.

Healing Salve Herbs

So how can one salve do so much? The healing herbs here are naturally antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and astringent. This makes it perfect for any herbalist’s first aid kit.

  • Echinacea – Antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. Can help prevent infection from venomous snakes and insects from spreading. Good for burns. At risk in the wild so choose cultivated sources (or grow your own!).
  • Comfrey – Nicknamed bone-knit for its ability to heal broken bones so quickly. Stimulates tissue repair for fast healing. Used for sprains, swelling, and bruises, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic.
  • Plantain – Dubbed “Indian Band-Aid” by the Cherokee. Good for bites, stings, cuts, and scrapes, poison ivy, and sunburn. A plantain poultice helps draw out splinters and stingers. Stimulates collagen growth for faster wound healing.
  • Calendula – Anti-inflammatory, astringent (tightens loose tissues), antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Used for cuts, burns, diaper rash, bites, sprains, bruises, rashes, sunburns, abrasions, and slow-healing wounds.
  • Yarrow – Helps restore stagnant or congested blood flow while also helping staunch bleeding. A vulnerary, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and relieves pain.
  • Rosemary – Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal. Shows positive results against drug-resistant infections. Stimulates blood flow to the area, and eases muscle pain and inflamed joints. Also good for sores, bruises, wounds, eczema, and sprains.

Note on Comfrey

Because comfrey can heal skin so quickly it’s important to use it along with other herbs. You don’t want the skin to heal so fast that it seals infection in. By using antimicrobial herbs like rosemary and echinacea it helps prevent this issue.

Other Ingredients

You can also add some lavender essential oil or tea tree oil for extra skin benefits. Lavender is a natural antihistamine so it’s great for soothing itchy skin and bites. Tea tree is a potent anti-fungal and it also offers some soothing itch relief. You can use any skin-friendly blend of essential oils you prefer in this. Frankincense, chamomile, and helichrysum are some more options.

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 of the US and is great for the skin. You may also be able to find yarrow growing wild in your area. All of the above herbs are useful for lots of things and some can also be used internally or in food.

Almost any liquid oil will work in this recipe but I usually use olive oil. If you use coconut oil you may want to reduce the beeswax some or it can get too hard in cooler temperatures. Sunflower oil, almond oil, and grapeseed oil are more options.

Choosing Your Container

Salve goes well in metal tins or in a glass jar. I prefer the tins for easy travel and I don’t have to worry about a glass jar breaking. Lip balm tubes are another great option. These make it really portable and easy to apply.

homemade healing salve
4.46 from 50 votes

Healing Salve Recipe

This healing salve is a natural alternative to antibiotic ointments. Great for all kinds of cuts, scrapes, rashes, and more.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Infusing Time3 hours
Yield: 2 cups
Author: Katie Wells



Infuse the Herbs

  • Combine the olive oil and herbs in a jar with an airtight lid and leave for 3-4 weeks, shaking daily. This option doesn’t work well with coconut oil.
  • OR heat the olive oil (or other oil) and herbs over low heat in a double boiler for 3 hours (low heat!) until the oil is very green.
  • Another option is to put the herbs and oil in mason jars with lids. Place in a water bath in a crockpot set to low and let this infuse for at least 24 hours. Refill the water in the slow cooker as needed.

Make the Salve

  • Pour the oil through a cheesecloth and strain out the herbs. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get as much oil out as possible.
  • Compost the herbs.
  • Combine the infused oil and beeswax in a double boiler.
  • Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the wax is melted.
  • Add essential oils if desired.
  • Pour into small tins, glass jars, or lip balm tubes and use as needed.


Store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years.

Storage and Shelf Life

This healing salve lasts for a year or more when stored properly, so I make it in big batches. However, you can reduce the size if needed. I always keep this on hand when I’m gardening for skin irritations and bug bites. Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place away from light and heat.

Adding some Vitamin E helps extend the shelf-life and keeps the oils from going rancid as quickly.

Ever made your own salves? Share below!

This natural healing salve is a chemical free alternative to antibiotic ointments and has herbs to help prevent infection.
  1. Luqman, S., Dwivedi, G. R., Darokar, M. P., Kalra, A., & Khanuja, S. P. (2007). Potential of rosemary oil to be used in drug-resistant infections. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 13(5), 54–59.
  2. Herbarium. (n.d.). Monographs. The Herbal Academy.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


300 responses to “Homemade Healing Salve”

  1. Jade Avatar

    4 stars
    So I made this recipe, adding crushed usnea. The lumps you see after awhile are the beeswax pellets re-forming, to fix this issue you need to heat the beeswax and a tablespoon of Shea or coconut oil for 25 minutes in a double boiler (I use my 2 cup Pyrex cup in a pan of simmering water) and then add the infused oil as per recipe. As soon as you get them mixed place tins or containers in the fridge for several hours (I did overnight) and then it won’t clump again.
    I have to say I will NEVER go without this salve again, it works on

      1. Marcus Ma Avatar
        Marcus Ma

        Interested in learning more about your healing salve? Can it treat acne? How often should someone apply it to the affected skin?

        1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

          This is not the best option for acne since the olive oil and beeswax are comedogenic. If you want to try something similar for acne you could do a cool infusion with the herbs in sweet almond oil and just use the infused oil without turning it into a salve. You could apply this every day or however often you feel the need.

  2. Keren DUnn Avatar
    Keren DUnn

    Hello, I would love to make this healing salve, but I do not have access to plantain leaves – can I leave them out or replace with something else instead? I will try to find seeds or something and plant it, but where I am in deepest darkest Africa, we haven’t got any.
    Thank you ?

  3. Toni Avatar

    I know this sounds silly, but instead of straining the herbs n discarding them, can u just blend them into the mix, eliminating the waste? I read some ppl suggested adding additional e.o.’s that would combat the mold issue, so I would definitely use one of them, if it’s possible to do the blended thing.

    1. Angie Avatar

      I made this salve in December of 2022. I’ve mostly stored it in the fridge, and I’m careful to wash my hands before getting into it. It has little white bumps on it. I’m not sure if this could be mold or bacteria growing on it. Have you ever experienced this? Do you have any advice?

      1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

        Are your hands completely 100% dry before using the salve? Damp hands (even though they’re washed) can introduce moisture. Storing it in the fridge could also cause some condensation that could cause it to grow microbes. Stored at room temperature it should last 6-24 months.

  4. Stephanie Avatar

    5 stars
    This stuff is amazing. We use it on everything and it works so well! Thank you for a great recipe!!

  5. Leah Avatar

    I appreciate your dedication to natural remedies and sharing your extensive research and love with all of us.
    I am wondering about this salve as an alternative to the antibiotic ointment Mupirocin… Its for a small skin infection on the inside of the nostril. The doctor said ulcer… which I guess is just a prolonged sore… and a small gathering of staph bacteria…??? It wasn’t fully articulated in a straight forward way.
    I recognize that you are not a doctor and are not prescribing remedies, I am just looking for some guidance on herbal allies to help skin infections as this is an area I am not the most savvy with.
    Thank you for your time and guidance!

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You may want to ask a naturopathic doctor or clinical herbalist in your area for clarification on this. Many of them will also do online, distance appointments. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we’re able to answer here. Best wishes!

  6. Rebecca McCord Avatar
    Rebecca McCord

    Hello, my name is Rebecca. I was wondering if you can use coconut oil instead and is this safe on a 2 month old.

4.46 from 50 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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