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
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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

Materials

Instructions

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.

Notes

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.
Sources
  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.

Comments

300 responses to “Homemade Healing Salve”

  1. Michelle Avatar
    Michelle

    I am new to making oils/salves but I have all of these herbs in my garden/yard in abundance. Can you have too much of a good thing? Trying to get past the “if a little is good a lot is better” mindset. What I’m asking is can you double or triple the mount of herbs in the same amount of oil or would that cause more harm than good? What about adding lavender to the mix? Thank you.

  2. Kathleen Avatar
    Kathleen

    Thanks for the inspiration! I have all of these growing in my garden – would it matter if you used fresh herbs or would it be better to dry them first?

  3. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    If you want to use this to stop bleeding, would you just apply it directly WHILE it’s still bleeding or do you wipe off afflicted area first and THEN apply directly?
    I can’t wait until my ingredients come in to try as many of your recipes as I can this weekend!

  4. Leslie Avatar
    Leslie

    Starting making this last summer, and I am making another batch as we speak. I made this using coconut oil as a base, along with comfrey and plantain herb (harvest and dry my own), and vitamin E. It works great for people and dogs, and stops bleeding very quickly.

  5. Juliet Avatar

    I was considering making this, but I am pregnant and on your Comfrey page, you say that Comfrey shouldn’t be used when pregnant, even externally. Would this salve still be useful without the Comfrey? Or do you have a different recipe? Thx!

  6. Heather Avatar
    Heather

    This is great! I live in a dry climate, so have been using this on problem dry skin. My teenager uses it on acne and most recently we used it to heal a sunburn. I also discovered that olive oil has UV protection in it, so I will apply it before going in the sun too. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

  7. Elian Avatar

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!! I only have a solid block of beeswax on hand. If the amount of beeswax needed will be different than the amount the pastilles calls for, how much would you suggest?

    Thanks!

    1. Patti Avatar

      This is exactly what I was going to ask. What would the measurement end up being? I really want to make this but I want a general idea of how much of the block to use. Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. Sandy Avatar

    Hi this sounds great! Is it ok to use around the eye area. My most bothersome eczema patch happens to be on my upper eyelid.
    Thanks

  9. Luc Avatar

    When infusing the oil, is it best left in a cool dark place? or a warm sunny window?

  10. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    Hi,
    Do you know if jojoba oil would work instead of olive oil?
    Thanks!

  11. Quianna Avatar
    Quianna

    Seems like a silly question but when you say olive oil do you mean extra virgin olive oil or the refined olive oil? Im getting everything to make several of your home products Friday that all require olive oil and I’m just not sure if I’ve got the right one.

  12. Lainie Gratz Avatar
    Lainie Gratz

    Hi,
    Can you tell me (about) how many 1 oz tins this recipe would make?

  13. Sara Avatar

    What about infusing the oil in a slow cooker/Crockpot for 3 hours on low??

  14. Olivia Mellinger Avatar
    Olivia Mellinger

    Can I use this as an anti-fungal cream for a fungal irritation on my sons bottom cheek?

  15. Heidi Avatar

    I have a question also- Everyone seems to be sold out of small quantities of organic comfrey leaf, so I’m ordering it in powder form. What would the measurement be for that? Seems like it would be less since it’s more condensed. I’m making it for my 1 yr old’s excema so I’m trying to be very cautious about the amount of comfrey I put in it since I don’t want him ingesting any. Oh also I’m using coconut oil, I’m assuming that will work just as well? Thanks!

    1. Colleen Avatar

      I would love to know this too, as mountain rose herbs still seems to be out of stock on most of the herbs you are using and I would substitute the powder if possible and I would like to make this as soon as I can. Thank you, I love your site and all the wonderful advice too.

  16. Chantel Avatar

    I have a question. 🙂 What kind of olive oil do I use? I notice at the store there are olive oils of different colors and they have labels for different uses. Like this one is dipping, for frying, for baking, etc etc… which one is good for salves? Any of them? Does it matter? Would if affect the salve differently with different olive oils?

    Thanks!

  17. Diane Avatar

    Did you ever post the recipe for the Healing Bar? would it just be adding more beeswax?

  18. Donna Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! Am looking forward to trying it, someone recently told me that Comfrey is a carcinogen?? Have u heard of this?? Thanks for any thoughts you might have on this….

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