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How to Make a Herbal Salve

Herbal salves are very similar to herbal ointments, and are made by infusing oil with herbs, then mixing the infused oil with beeswax to create a balm, or salve.  If you don’t have pre-infused oil, you can follow a separate recipe for creating the salve without making an infusion first. Salves are used topically, as part of a skin care routine or to treat bug bites. Recommended herbs for salves include Lavender or  Echinacea Purpurea Tops. For treating pain, you can use Cayenne Pepper or St. John’s Wort. If you need to treat insect bites, use a Clove or Calendula Flower salve.

Ingredients to Prepare Salves

5 oz. herb-infused oil (if you don’t have infused oil, follow recipe below)
2 oz. beeswax
7 drops of a grapefruit seed extract or benzoin tincture (one drop per ounce of salve), used to preserve the salve.

Recipe for Herb Preparation

Place a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, then pour the infused oil into the bowl. Add the beeswax to the mixture and stir constantly. Melt the wax completely, then add one drop of preservative per ounce (seven drops, in this case). Pour the mixture into small, dark jars, similar to those used for ointments. Store, like other mixtures, in a dark, cool place.

If You Don’t Have Prepared Infused Oil

If you don’t already have an infused oil ready to use for a salve, here's what you need:

1 C water
5 oz. vegetable oil (olive, almond, sesame, and canola are best)
3 TBS dried herbs
2 oz. beeswax

What to do:
Boil the herbs in the water until their properties have been extracted into the water. Strain, then add the wet herbs back into the pot and add the oil. Simmer the oil and herbs until the water evaporates, then add the beeswax and let melt. Now, add the preservative, then jar the liquid – it will thicken as it cools. Store in a dark, cool place.