The more and more I learn about herbs, the more in love with them I fall! Herbs have revolutionized how I take care of my family. I’ve told you about how to make herbal extracts, and today contributor Heather will show us how to use a simple soothing salve recipe to address a number of skin conditions for your family. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a special offer, only through Monday, September 26th! -Jaclyn
As herbal medicines are becoming more mainstream, many are eschewing conventional lotions and creams and making their own soothing salves. Below, I’ll give you a simple soothing salve recipe that can help you replace creams for eczema, poison ivy, diaper rash and so much more.
First, let’s define the difference between a salve, a balm, and an ointment. Many think those words are interchangeable, and that can be true in some cases. However, there IS a difference between them.
Salves are made with a mixture of fats and herbs in a semi-solid state. Generally, they consist of herbal infused oils and wax. They are the ones most often used by the home herbalist. They are quick and easy to make, and you can use wild foraged herbs from your backyard or garden.
Balms are similar to salves. They start with herbal infused oils and beeswax. Then, essential oils are added, making it very aromatic. They tend to be thick and very creamy, and most often in a solid state. If you make lip products, deodorants, or lotion bars, you are essentially making balms.
Ointments are similar to balms. They start with herbal infused oils, and add wax and essential oils to the finished products. However, the main difference is texture. They are usually thinner and not as creamy as balms.
General soothing salve recipe
To make a healing salve, start with a basic recipe of:
- 1/2 cup carrier oil: coconut, olive, jojoba, or almond are great choices.
- 3-4 grams dried herbs of choice
- 3 teaspoons beeswax pellets
- Infuse the oil by pouring it over the herbs in an oven safe bowl.
- Place in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours, then allow to cool.
- Drain the herbs using a cheesecloth, squeezing out as much of the oil as you can from the plant matter.
- Add the beeswax to the oil and reheat gently to allow the wax and oil to melt together.
- Place melted oils in an airtight container with a lid and write the ingredients on the jar. If you wish to make this into a balm at this time, add 20-25 drops of essential oils.
- To use, simply rub a quarter-sized amount on the affected area 2-4 times a day, allowing it to absorb into the skin.
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months. Discard after 2 months or if you see signs of mold in the product.
Herbs to add
Lavender: calming, relaxing, and even muscle pain.
Lemon Balm: relieves painful inflammation, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.
Comfrey: a rapid cell healer; great for any bug bites or stings. The only caveat is that you should NOT use comfrey on broken skin, such as a scrape.
Yarrow: used most often to help stop bleeding, and to promote skin regeneration. This is what you would use on a scraped knee or elbow. Yarrow is in our sports bags for every sport my kids are in.
Essential oils to consider
Lavender: calming and relaxing as well as soothing irritated skin.
Rosemary: uplifting, energizing, and useful for soothing headaches.
Tea Tree: used for anti-microbial benefits such as healing acne or on skin wounds.
Peppermint: used for soothing headaches, stomach pains, and bug bites.
Gentle, baby-friendly salve recipe
To make a skin soothing salve that will go from diaper bag to sports bag with ease, follow the basic salve recipe above, using 3 grams dried calendula and 2 grams dried lavender in 1/2 cup jojoba oil. This will be safe for anyone to use up to 3x a day, with great skin-soothing benefits.