From kitchen burns to scraped knees, boo boos are just a part of life. If you want to jump-start the healing process, herbal salves are a natural way to do so. When infused with certain herbs, salves are naturally antibacterial, protecting against infection and soothing soreness.
Consisting of just a few natural ingredients, herb-infused ointments are easy to make. You really only need 2 primary components: herbs and a base.
We'll take a look at a few of the most popular options and finish up with a simple recipe that you can make right at home!
Herbs for Healing Salves
The beauty of DIY salves lies in their versatility. You can make a salve with just one herb or go crazy mixing multiple varieties. When choosing your herbs, look at their individual properties and uses to help you pick the best ingredients.
Here is a quick list of common herbs for salves and their primary uses:
- Calendula: An all-around wonderful herb for the skin, calendula is great for rashes, cuts, bites and more. It's also a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
- Arnica Flowers: Great for treating physical traumas, these flowers are most effective immediately after an injury, helping to prevent excessive swelling and bruising.
- Chickweed: Known for being ultra soothing, chickweed helps with a variety of skin conditions and minor burns.
- Lavender: A sweet-smelling addition to any topical ointment, lavender is soothing, calming and loaded with natural healing properties.
- Plantain Leaf: This common weed is great for insect stings and bites as well as poison ivy and blisters.
- Oregon Grape Root: Acting as a skin disinfectant, this root is most often used in treating wounds of all sorts.
- Thyme: Thyme has been used for centuries to treat skin abrasions and sore muscles.
- Yarrow Flowers: Great for cuts and scrapes, these flowers also help reduce bleeding, swelling and bruising.
Whichever herbs you choose, the steps for creating an herb-infused oil are the same. If you have the time, you can simply fill a jar with your chosen herbs and slowly pour olive oil on top of them until full. Place the lid on the jar and let it sit for about a month, shaking the container every other day.
If you prefer a quicker method, you can heat the herbs and oil in a double boiler on very low heat for approximately 3 hours. Either way, strain the herbs from the oil before proceeding to use it in a recipe.
Vegan Base for Herbal Salves
Beeswax is perhaps the most popular base for herbal salves, but if you want to stick with vegan ingredients, carnauba wax is your best option. Sourced from a Brazilian palm tree, carnauba wax is the hardest wax available and is widely used in commercial cosmetics.
Highly durable, this type of wax has a very high melting point of 185 degrees. When using carnauba wax in a salve, you'll want to add more oil than wax in order to achieve the right consistency.
Recipe for All-Purpose Healing Salve
- 8 oz of your chosen herb-infused oil
- 1 oz carnauba wax
- Glass Jars
Combine oil and wax in a double boiler and cook on low heat until the carnauba wax melts. When ready, quickly pour the mix into glass jars, allowing it to cool completely.
You're done! Yes, it's that easy.
Keep in mind that carnauba is a very hard wax, so feel free to add more oil until you reach your desired consistency. Shelf stable for up to 3 years, herbal salves are great to keep on hand for those unpleasant yet unavoidable bites, rashes and wounds.