Herbal Salve Recipes

salve, lotion, cream

Herbal salves have been in existence almost as long as man has harvested herbs for medicinal use. A salve is simply a healing ointment for the skin, usually a base of beeswax and oil. As you make your salves and work with the recipes, keep in mind that the beeswax will make the salve more solid, while a higher percentage of oil will make it softer. These organic herbal remedies make great gifts, as well as being part of a well stocked medicine cabinet.

Basic Salve Recipes

The basic salve will be a carrier for the herbs that you add to it. You can make the basic salve in a number of ways:

  • Combine five parts oil and one part beeswax.
  • Combine one part beeswax with four parts lard or lanolin and one part oil.
  • Combine four parts cocoa butter, shea butter, or a combination with one part beeswax and one part oil.

Here's how you make the salve:

  1. Melt the ingredients over low heat.
  2. Stir until blended.
  3. Add the herbs or herbal infusion of your choice.
  4. Pour the mixture into a container and cool.

Herb Infused Oil

This oil is used in the basic salve to add more strength to the remedy. The longer the herbs stand in the oil, the more potent it will be.


  • 1 part dried herbs
  • 2 parts oil


  1. Mix in a container and leave in a warm place for two to three weeks to infuse.
  2. Shake once a day.
  3. When herbs have infused into the oil, strain the oil into a glass container.
  4. Store, covered, in a cool, dark place.

Healing Properties of Specific Ingredients

Certain ingredients are used for specific properties in your salve recipes.

  • Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is very good for the skin and is particularly good in diaper rash salve and salves for burns, hemorrhoids and the face.
  • Olive oil makes a very greasy oil. It is a superior moisture barrier that is best used in combination with other oils.
  • Sweet almond oil helps relieve irritation, inflammation, muscular aches and pains and itching. It is a superior emollient.
  • Avocado oil is a good base for salves that are used in treating cuts, acne, skin problems and burns. It is great for use with sensitive skin.
  • Macadamia nut oil is good for burns, very fragile skin, bedsores and extremely dry, chapped skin.
  • Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is helpful for dry skin.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps with healing. It also is a natural preservative.
  • Lanolin helps heal dry, cracked skin and keep it soft and supple.

Remember that essential oil is not the same thing as oil or herbally infused oil. It is a very concentrated form of the herb essence. Generally only a few drops of essential oil are needed in any recipe.

Specific Herbal Salve Recipes

Now that you know how to infuse the oil and to make the base for your salve, it is time to add the proper herbs for specific use. Many of the herbs, like lavender, are used not only for their healing properties but also because they are fragrant.

When using any herb for the first time, always rub a bit of the salve or infusion of the herb on the inside of your forearm to test for sensitivity. For instance, some people who are sensitive to ragweed have an uncomfortable reaction to goldenseal. Doing this simple test can help to avoid such discomfort. Whenever possible, running a skin patch test is a good idea.

To make small amounts of salve, use one tablespoon to equal "one part" in the instructions.

First Aid Salve

  • 1 part goldenseal oil
  • 1 part calendula oil
  • 1 part comfrey oil
  • 1 drop essential oil of lavender
  • 1/8 tsp. tea tree essential oil
  • 800IU vitamin E

Use as the oil in any of the basic herbal salve recipes. This is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and promotes quick healing. It is good for use on cuts, scrapes, infections or just about anything.

Lip Salve

  • 1 part lavender oil
  • 1 part comfrey oil
  • 1 part rose oil (be sure to use unsprayed petals)
  • 800IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe. Coconut oil is a good oil to use with this.

Diaper Rash Salve

  • 1 part calendula oil
  • 1 part lavender oil
  • 1 part comfrey oil
  • 800 IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe.

Chest Rub

  • 1 part rosemary oil
  • 1 part thyme oil
  • 1 part peppermint oil (not essential oil, homemade oil infusion)
  • ½ tsp. camphor essential oil
  • ½ tsp. eucalyptus essential oil

Use with any salve base recipe

Hemorrhoid Salve

  • 1 part calendula oil
  • 1 part comfrey oil
  • 1 part nettle leaf oil
  • ½ part marshmallow root oil
  • 2 tsp. powdered myrrh
  • 1 part lavender oil
  • 800 IU vitamin E

Use with any salve base.

Burn Salve

  • 4 parts shea butter
  • 1 part beeswax, grated
  • 1 part virgin coconut oil
  • 1 capsule vitamin E
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Gardener's Salve

  • 3 parts comfrey oil
  • 3 parts calendula oil
  • 3 parts St John's wort oil
  • 2 parts plantain oil
  • 1 part vitamin E oil

Use with any salve base. Rub liberally on dry skin, psoriasis, and calluses.

Storing Salves

Making salves for your family is an easy hobby and an important skill. Over time, you will want to develop and perfect your own salve recipes.

Keep your salves, sealed and labeled, in sterile jars in a cool dark place. Baby food jars work very well. Use a clean utensil to remove the salve so bacteria won't be transferred from your fingers to the salve. By keeping your herbal salve clean, you will extend the shelf life of your product.

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Herbal Salve Recipes