Salves are incredibly effective ointments that are very simple to make and the ingredients won’t hurt your budget. In fact, you can spend less than $20 dollars and have salves that will last up to two years.
Many people have discovered the virtues of salves as they are very powerful. Salves are an amazing addition to your herbal first aid kit and you can make some in easy-to-travel containers that can fit into a pocket. They make thoughtful gifts that your family and friends will appreciate and having extras means that when people are searching for something to help their ailment you’ll be there with the solution they’ve been seeking.
Salves can be specifically crafted for a wide variety of uses. One of the ingredients is beeswax; this offers nourishing benefits including protective, soothing, emollient, and healing properties.
Which Healing Salve to Make
There are many plants out there with incredible healing properties but let’s focus on the skin because far too many people suffer from a variety of skin ailments. Many people have used their personal salves on their pets when the pets are in need of some help and have stated they work well.
The best plants to collect for making a healing skin salve include:
* Burdock root – Great for skin infections.
* Calendula flowers – This is suitable for those with sensitive skin. It has strong healing properties used to help skin irritations and skin conditions such as rashes, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, and insect bites.
* Chickweed – Soothes minor burns and other skin irritations.
* Plantain leaves – This is powerful in the relief and recovery process of insect bites, stings, poison ivy, severe dry skin, blisters, as well as minor sores.
* St. John’s Wort flowers – Soothes sunburns, burns and is also used as an anti-inflammatory. In addition it helps to relieve sore muscles, nerve trauma and pain due to varicose veins.
* Plantain and chickweed combined make an incredibly healing salve to have in an herbal first aid kit.
To make salve you need to have herbal infused oil. As simple as the process may be this part is time consuming, up to six weeks. The great news is that once you have the infused oil it takes mere minutes to make the salve.
You can also use part of the oil and store the rest for future use – or use extra oil to make salad dressings.
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What Oil to Use For Homemade Salve
The oil of choice by many is extra virgin olive oil. However, you are free to use any other carrier oil such as grapeseed oil, avocado, etc., but then you are getting into a higher cost factor. Always make note of the best before date of the oil you choose to use; this will be the best before date of the salve you are making. Be sure you mark the jars (or tins) you use with that date!
Salves should be stored in a dark location if you are using a clear jar. The best jars to use are the blue, green or amber colored jars and there are tins you can use as well. You can even recycle small candy tins for making salves. No matter what you choose to use, be sure it is sterilized. To make a pocket salve use lipstick containers that can be purchased online or at some health stores.
Learn more: Make Your Own Burn Cream
Collecting the Plants To Make Salve
The best time to collect plantain and chickweed is late spring preferably late morning. This is because if there is any morning moisture such as dew it has totally evaporated and it is before the heat of the day. ONLY moist-free plant matter can be used. Some people wash the plants first, others do not. This is a choice.
You can use dried plant as well so long as it has come from a safe source however collecting plants from an area close to where you live are best.
How To Make Infused Oil For DIY Healing Salve
When making herbal infused oils the solar infused method is best. Cut up plant matter you have collected and place into a sterilized glass jar. (Or place dried plant matter into a jar.) Cover the plant matter with oil of choice leaving at least 1 to 2” of oil above the plants to allow them to swell. Poke with a knife to ensure if there are any air bubbles they are released. Cap the jar tightly and place in a located that is not in direct sunlight. If you are using St. John’s Wort plant then this must infuse in direct sunshine; the oil will turn red. Be sure to use masking tape on the jar to label the plants you used and the date you started infusing.
Shake the jar once or twice a day. If the plants absorb the oil, then be sure to add more so that they are always submerged. Allow to infuse anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. At four weeks check to see if the oil has taken on the color and aroma of the plant, if not then let sit six weeks.
Once ready, strain using cheesecloth and pour into a sterilized bottle for storage. (If you use mason jars then be sure to store in a dark, cool location to maintain its potency.) Squeeze as much oil as you can from the plant matter so that you do not waste a drop. Vitamin E oil can be added to prolong the shelf life.
DIY Healing Salve
You will need:
- 8 oz infused oil (Or a combination of oils.)
- 1 oz Beeswax (Carnauba wax is used for those requiring vegan salves.)
- 10-15 drops of essential oil of choice (optional). Some essential oils commonly used are lavender and tea tree.
- Vitamin E oil (optional)
Place oil(s) and beeswax over a double boiler and slowly warm over low heat until the beeswax melts. Remove from heat and add essential oil and vitamin E oil (if you choose to add). Quickly pour into prepared glass jars or tins and cool completely.
Salves fare best when stored in a cool, dark location.
If you want a salve that is firmer then add a little more beeswax or if you want it softer use a little less.
So there you have it! A simple way to take control of your healing at a fraction of the cost of conventional ointments! Have you ever made your own ointment?