By Jordan Douglas, HHC

One of my favorite things about herbs is their multitude of uses and delivery methods, including their ability to support and nourish us both inside-out and outside-in. Outside-in applications include essential oils for aromatherapy, baths, masks, poultices, creams and salves. Herbal salves are a semi-solid preparation made from a fixed oil and a wax. Salves are super simple to make at home and are endlessly customizable for any and every need. An easy, basic ratio to follow is 1 oz beeswax to 1 cup (8 oz) oil. You can adjust the consistency of your salve by shifting this ratio, adding more wax for a harder salve and less wax for a softer balm.

A few salve making tips:

  • Lay out a tray lined with parchment paper to catch any drips.
  • Make sure to have plenty of containers on hand (it’s better to have extra than to be scrambling for vessels at the last minute).
  • Add the essential oils once the mixture is removed from the heat.
  • Spoon test: test your oil-wax mixture to check if desired consistency is achieved. Dip a spoon in the warm mixture and place in the fridge for a few minutes to see how it hardens. Adjust consistency if needed.
  • Clean up: work swiftly; paper towels and rubbing alcohol work nicely.

Below you’ll find 3 recipes for my favorite herbal salve first aid essentials.

Skin-Healing Salve

Soothe and nourish dry, red or irritated skin. Also great for bug bites and minor skin rashes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz beeswax
  • 8 oz calendula-infused oil*
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon helichrysum essential oil
  • 8 1oz tins

*A home-brewed calendula oil infusion is lovely here, but any calendula oil will do.

Methods:

  1. Melt 1 oz beeswax in a double boiler over low heat.
  2. While the wax is melting, lay out your tins, making sure to have plenty on hand for the volume of your preparation.
  3. Add 8oz calendula-infused oil. The mixture may congeal a bit due to temperature differences; this is perfectly normal - stir gently until it melts into a smooth mixture.
  4. Once completely melted, add oil-wax mixture to a pyrex container (or another container that is easy to pour out of). Add essential oils and stir.
  5. Working quickly, pour mixture into tins.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Label and store in a cool, dark place.

Headache Balm

Apply liberally to temples, pulse points and the back of the neck for cooling tension relief.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz beeswax
  • 8oz neutral oil of choice, such as jojoba, sweet almond, olive or calendula-infused oil
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 8 1oz tins

Methods:

  1. Melt 1 oz beeswax in a double boiler over low heat.
  2. While the wax is melting, lay out your tins, making sure to have plenty on hand for the volume of your preparation.
  3. Add 8oz oil. The mixture may congeal a bit due to temperature differences; this is perfectly normal - stir gently until it melts into a smooth mixture.
  4. Once completely melted, add oil-wax mixture to a pyrex container (or another container that is easy to pour out of). Add essential oils and stir.
  5. Working quickly, pour mixture into tins.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Label and store in a cool, dark place.

Warming Muscle Rub

Apply liberally to soothe sore, tired muscles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz beeswax
  • 8 oz comfrey-infused oil
  • 30 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 20 drops holy basil essential oil
  • 20 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 16 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 16 drops fresh ginger essential oil
  • 8 1oz tins

Methods:

  1. Melt 1 oz beeswax in a double boiler over low heat.
  2. While the wax is melting, lay out your tins, making sure to have plenty on hand for the volume of your preparation.
  3. Add 8oz comfrey-infused oil. The mixture may congeal a bit due to temperature differences; this is perfectly normal - stir gently until it melts into a smooth mixture.
  4. Once completely melted, add oil-wax mixture to a pyrex container (or another container that is easy to pour out of). Add essential oils and stir.
  5. Working quickly, pour mixture into tins.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
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