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. Alicia Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi WellnessMama, I recently found your site and I love it! For this salve, can I use any sort of olive oil (like the extra virgin olive oil that can be found in supermarkets for cooking purposes? I don’t want to waste precious herbs and flowers by using the wrong oil.

  2. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    So I just asked my herbalist group about the ratio of beeswax to oil, and they agreed that it should be either 1:1 ratio or 1:2 ratio. You have a 1:4 ratio and I am really questioning this. I want to re-iterate that I spent over $100 on my ingredients for my salve. I live in Colorado and bought the best pain relieving marijuana buds, I also bought high CBD hemp plant material, and I used arnica flowers. And I used 1/2 bottle of Soothanol for its pain relieving properties.

    This is supposed to be a pain relieving powerhouse, yet I used your recipe for the ratio of beeswax. Now it isn’t a salve, but a lotion consistency. 🙁

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I prefer the smoother consistency because it is easier to apply to kids, but since it is all oil based, you can re-melt and add more beeswax if you want to harden it up.

      1. Rebecca Avatar
        Rebecca

        It is not hard at all… it is a thick liquid. And I cannot re-melt without destroying the properties of the ingredients. That is not a solution.

        1. kristen Avatar

          You should be able to warm it on very low heat in a water bath (double boiler, not direct heat) without heating it high enough to damage.

  3. Rebecca Avatar
    Rebecca

    There is no way that using only 1/4 cup of beeswax with 2 cups olive oil base is going to get the consistency of a salve.

    I am super frustrated with this because I spent about $90 USD on the herbal plant material to use on this. Then I spent $45 USD on the essential oil that I added in (actually, Soothanol X2).

    Are you saying without a doubt, 100% SURETY that you only used 1/4 beeswax to 2 cups olive oil to get a hardened, easy to apply salve? Well, I sure didn’t! Super frustrated about that. Please comment.

  4. Diane H. Avatar
    Diane H.

    There are lots of different Callendula, does it matter which one? I have Callendula Jaguar.

  5. Angela Avatar
    Angela

    I’m making this but it seems a little watery. The beeswax has melted already, is that normal? Will it thicken as it cools?

  6. Angela Avatar
    Angela

    Can I use powder for most of the herbs? That’s all the store had and also, should I use muslin instead of cheesecloth if I use powder? Will it still have the same indefinite shelf life?

  7. Angel Avatar

    I did the math and its roughly 2 1/2 cups of ingredients. Now you’re throwing out the herbs so it’s probably just the initial 2 1/4 cups of liquid you’re adding to the recipe. Which is 18oz. Now there might be less cause you’re straining it with cheesecloth but I would buy enough tubes or jars to fit 18oz. of liquid in it. I’m making this today for my husband. He has eczema on his chest, back and now its on his legs. The doctors gave him some steroid cream. I’d rather try something natural than putting all those toxins in his body. Love your website!!!!!

  8. Mary Avatar

    I’m wondering if you would be able to comfrey essential oil instead of the leaves? how much of it would I put in in that case? TIA!

  9. Tammy Avatar

    I recently researched the FDA and regulations on salves and balms and you do need approval through them to make a claim that you have a healing product that goes under medical. You can make them for personal use but do not sell them.

  10. amina Avatar

    Can I use comfrey root instead of comfrey leaves. I accidentally ordered the wrong thing : (

  11. Angela Avatar

    Is there something that can be used in place of bees wax pasitlles? My husband had a severe allergic reaction to a different type of bee product that makes me worry about a reaction to this could it be omitted or is this something I could use instead?

  12. Patti Avatar

    Hi. Love the great info you share. My question is can I use EO in place of the any of the dried plants/leafs?

  13. Gina Avatar

    Katie–

    Do you sell this Homemade Healing Salve?? I would love to buy some of you do.

  14. Vesna Avatar

    Hi, is it safe to use on a 4 month old baby? He has eczema on his cheeks and a few patches on his body? How often can I apply to his skin?

  15. Lauren Avatar

    Wellness Mama, How did you apply the Tallow and lavender for your child with eczema? Did you mix the 2 and what where the measurements if you did? Thanks in advance!

  16. Marilyn Avatar

    I have all of these herbs growing in my garden or, in the case of plantain, it’s a weed and comes up everywhere a weed can grow, even in the cracks of the driveway. Can I use these herbs fresh instead of dried, although I have most of them dried and on hand at all times? The beeswax comes from my honey man (beekeeper) and I get it in big chunks. Make friends with your local beekeeper and you will know where your honey comes from, (ie, not China). I also use coconut oil for some of my projects. I get it in a 5 gallon pail directly from Tropical Traditions because I use it for cooking also.
    I love your website and at 78 I’m still learning.

  17. Angie Johnson Avatar
    Angie Johnson

    5 stars
    I just have to comment on this salve. Our 14 year old cat got attacked by something and had a terrible, deep gash below his ear. We found it on the weekend and wasn’t able to get him to the vet. I washed the wound out and put a big glob of this salve on it and I was amazed at the healing. I continued with the washing out and putting the salve on it all weekend and we did not have to take him to the vet because we saw a great improvement in a few days. No infection and completely healed in a couple of weeks. I really thought he would die because of that injury. I now have a container for each of my pets. So easy to make, too. Thanks for your website!

  18. Sierra Avatar

    Hi Katie, can I just buy some pre-made stuff from you? My son has severe eczema and molluscum and a staph infection we can’t get rid of.

  19. Leslie Avatar

    I modified this to use ingredients I had available. Coconut oil instead of olive and beeswax, and left out the optional ingredients. I also added vitamin E as a preservative. I’ve shared it with a few friends and my sister..we’ve used it on scrapes, burns, minor lacerations, rashes, mystery itches and all other topical irritations. Best part- my friend and I use it on our dogs with great success. Even helps stop bleeding on minor punctures when the pups get carried away! We all love this stuff!

  20. Amanda Avatar

    My 7 month old has severe eczema that nothing has helped. I nurse and have removed dairy and eggs, which she tested with a level 1 allergy to but it has made zero improvement. Could I do the herbal infusion of the oil as in step 1, then use in a lotion recipe for her daily body lotion or would the herbs be too diluted at that point? Thank you, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

4.46 from 50 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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