What are salves? Salves are ointments with some sort of herb infused in the oils, and have a number of benefits to address health conditions.
You can make everything from first aid salves, to nerve pain salves, to arthritis salves, to any fungal salves and so on. They are meant to put externally on your body to treat several conditions.
You can make these at home quite simply by learning the techniques that we’re going to show you in this guide.
Salves are something you put on externally as opposed to tinctures, which you take internally.
Today we are going to make a simple nerve pain herbal salve.
INGREDIENTSInfused oil. This has already been infused with herbs. (To find out about how to make herbal infusions, please see my other field guide on this subject.)Beeswax. What beeswax does is it hardens the salve so it’s not oily, but it makes it the consistency that you can put it on your skin.
Essential oils. There are plenty on the market that are good, and you want to put these in right at the end because they are very volatile and the heat will make them just go away. So, to keep the medicinal properties, definitely put them in towards the end.
Vitamin E. It helps keep your salves from going rancid. If you’re only making salves for yourself at home and not making them in large quantities, it’s not necessary though.
Double boiler. The other thing you need is a double boiler. I really like a double boiler because it keeps the heat from getting too high. If you heat your herbs too much, the medicinal property of the herbs changes. When the property is changed, you’re going to lose your medicine. So, by using a double boiler, it keeps the heat from getting too high.
A double boiler is simply water on the bottom with a pan on the top. If you don’t have one, you can jerry rig this really easily at home.
STEP 1: MEASURE INFUSED OILS BEESWAX RATIO
For this salve we are going to do 16 ounces of oil, which leads me to have four ounces of beeswax. For a four to one ratio, oil to beeswax.
I have my water going on low, and simmer on the bottom of my double boiler. The first thing I’m going to do is pour my oil so I have 16 ounces of oil.
Depending on the salve you make, you’ll put different ingredients in. For example, for my first aid salve, I add cottonwood bud oil, calendula oil, plantation oil, yarrow oil, and arctica oil, and then later I add a lavender essential oil.
STEP 2: MIX OIL AND BEESWAX
Pour the oil into double boiler
Next, add beeswax.
Beeswax comes in many forms. I really like this particular one because it’s very easy to measure in these small amounts, and I make sure I use organic beeswax.
Next, put it back on the stove, and stir in the beeswax.
STEP 3: MIX IN OTHER VITAMIN AND OILS
As you mix it in, add about a quarter teaspoon of vitamin E oil, which will help with it staying good for a long period of time.
Add my essential oils.
The amount of essential oil you add varies. For about 20 ounces, use 20 drops of each essential oil that you’re using.
STEP 4: STIR
Then continue to stir over heat until all of the beeswax is melted.
STEP 4: ADD IT TO TIN
Once the beeswax is melted, I add it into my tin, label it, and let it settle.
Have your tins at the ready so that when you’re salve is completely ready, when the beeswax is melted, you are ready to put your salve in.
As you can see, all the beeswax is melted and now we are ready to pour our salve. Before you pour it, you want put a small amount of the salve in one of the tins.
This allows you to test the salve and see if you like the consistency.
If you don’t like the consistency, you can either add more beeswax if you want it to be harder, or add more of the infused oil if you want it to be softer.
If you like the consistency then you can turn off the heat and start pouring. You want to fill them almost right to the top. I want to make sure that I have a nice full container.
You can see it’s a really beautiful color from the ingredients in here. Now we’re going to go ahead and pour all of our salves.
NOTE: Careful, the tins can get hot.
Then pour them one by one. As you can see, the salves are starting to firm up. Soon they will be finished and our job is complete. From here you can put the lids on and store them for future use.
Thank you so much for joining us for this salve making lesson. I hope that you got a lot out of it.