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. Pam Avatar

    Hi wellness mama! My baby girl busted her nose and I knew where to look for the salve! Thanks! Question: I have the infused plantain and calendula oils from mrah. How much should I add of each instead of the dry leaves?

  2. cyril e. Avatar

    Hi Jane! My almost 4 month old baby has the same problem. Did you make the salve, if so, did it work on your baby? Thanks!

  3. sue hubbard Avatar
    sue hubbard

    can i use pure essential oils instead. I am making soaps for gifts, and body butter for MIL has eczema, and many allergies. thought id try some of these ingrediants in body butter for her, but with oils instead

  4. Shanette Avatar

    Does anybody have examples where this salve works? I made the salve exactly as directed and for have been applying it to two minor surface sores on my kids as I would with neosporin. There is no improvement on the inflammation or healing progress.

  5. Carolyn Avatar

    I am looking for a good product to use after bikini/brazilian waxing, would this be good?

  6. Mary Avatar

    Hi,

    In a lot of your recipes there are optional ingredients. I just wanted to know why they’re optional… Would the recipe be more effective with the optional ingredients?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Yes. I use the optional ingredients and find they are more effective with all of the ingredients, but if a recipe will work without a specific ingredient, I list it as option in case someone who doesn’t have all of the ingredients wants to try it

  7. Jessie Avatar

    I want to make this but the calendula and rosemary are currently out of stock. would this be weird to not make it with? I know it says optional but I am just curious. Also, how well does this work on eczema? I have terrible eczema and am in search of the perfect salve to reduce the redness and bumps! Thanks!

  8. Bethani Avatar

    Just wondering if this would be ok to use on lips. My kids get bad chapped lips and won’t let me put anything on them because it stings. And I can’t guarantee they won’t lick it off. Thanks a bunch!

  9. Lillian Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama! First off, I love you! Anyway, could I perhaps replace the plantain leaves with St. John’s Wort?

  10. Jackie Avatar

    Can I use herbal extract of each herb instead. And if so how many drops of each?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      If they are oil based extracts you can, but if they are liquid or alcohol based, they won’t blend with the oils in the salve. essential oils do work though and you could use about 5 drops of each

    1. Rayna Harris Avatar
      Rayna Harris

      I have the same question–Wellness Mama, could you please let us know how much this recipe makes?

      Or rather, how many people it might be good for?

      Thank you!

      -Rayna

  11. Jeneal Avatar

    I know it would take some time for you, but it would be so helpful if you explained why you choose the herbs and/or oils you use in each recipe. Even though I like your website and basically trust your judgement, I still like to know why each ingredient is used. Especially when I’m going to use it for my kids. Thanks a million!

  12. Katie Avatar

    Hello and thank you for your great website! Do you know if it would be possible, or effective to use a convection oven to make salve with?

  13. Jenna Avatar

    Great idea! Quick question: if I don’t have/can’t find comfrey leaf, would using double the plantain suffice instead? Thanks!

  14. Jane Avatar

    Hi, my six month old baby has severe eczema with open wounds on her face, it is weeping and infected. We have such heartbreaking days since she is 12 weeks old. Is this salve safe to use for babies face? Thanks. PS: lastly I put aloe herb on her skin it helps a little but not healled completely. Thanks in advence

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Have you tried adjusting your diet to remove potential allergens and being really careful with with you feed her? Tallow lotion and lavender essential oil were also helpful when one of ours had eczema

    2. Bel Avatar

      Coconut oil is edible and certainly won’t harm. If you are nursing try adding yogurt or probiotics to your diet or if formula feeding try one with a probiotic added. There has been some interesting research in probiotics and the medical people agreed if it doesn’t help it certainly won’t hurt. I introduced it with my 1yr old and within a week there was remarkable improvement.

      1. Jane Avatar

        Hi, many thanks for your reply. I will try tallow and lavander. For lavander should I diluted it with olive oil? Also, I don’t have any dairy, nuts, tomatoes, oranges, fish, berries and many other things in my diet. I can say it really helps. Before I cut dairy products she was vomiting a lot, but thanks to God there is no more vomiting. I plan to make my own yogurt with goats’ milk and give to her, I hope it will work. As an information I am prescribed lots of antibiotics and after all she and me suffered with our digestive system. Many thanks again.

  15. Karen Avatar

    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into sharing this info – I’ve been following your blog for over a year and have learned so much! I was considering adding melaleuca essential oil to this as I’ve read it’s supposed to be very healing for the skin – but am just learning about oils and am not sure how much, or if that’s even a good idea. We use your original recipe on my son’s excema patches, which he has at times scratched raw. Would you advise trying the oil?

  16. Melissa Avatar

    Is your eczema salve similar to champori cream? If so, do you have a pre-treatment spray similar to it as well because it as worked wonders, but it is so expensive. I know I can make it at a cheaper price.

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