Welcome to the world of salve making!
Making salves (said saves) is a simple process that requires some time and a little mess, but the results are well worth it. Not only will you be able to use the salves for yourself and your family, but you’ll be making enough that you can share with family and friends, spreading the love of healing herbs far and wide.
This is a two-step process:
1. Make your herb-infused oil.
2. Use the oil to make a salve.
In the simplest terms possible, this step is basically putting dried herbs in a jar, covering them with oil, then letting them sit on a windowsill for up to six weeks. Then you strain the herbs out, and you’re done!
Here are the details:
- If you have fresh herbs, let them dry on the counter or in a dehydrator to remove moisture (moisture = spoilage)
- Use a glass jar, clean it well, ideally sterilize it (run through your dishwasher and then put in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes, or submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes)
- Crush or chop your herb leaves, but leave your flower petals whole
- Use an organic carrier oil that suits your end product: olive oil is fine for bodily applications, sweet almond oil is better for cosmetic uses, jojoba is great for any use and has a long shelf life
- Add a little vitamin E oil to prolong shelf life (500 IUs for every 8 oz of carrier oil)
- Cap your jar tightly
- A sunny, warm window is best; we’re after heat here, so if you’d like to cover it with a bag or box to avoid direct sunlight, that’s fine
- Shake the jar daily, or whenever you remember
- The herbs should always be submerged in the oil; if the oil level goes down (herbs will absorb it), add more oil
- Allow your herbs to sit for two to three weeks, or longer if you’d like (up to six weeks)
- Pour the oil through a strainer lined with cheese cloth, squeezing the cheesecloth to get out all the oil
- Store in a clean jar or bottle in a cool, dark place (amber glass works well to protect from light that will shorten the shelf life of the oil)
- Use the oil as is, or go to step two to make a salve!
Let's make some salve!
In this process we’re basically combining the oil with beeswax (or Carnauba Wax for a vegan salve). The beeswax helps solidify the oil and makes it easier to apply.
Ms. Kelley’s recipe for Healing Salve:
4 oz plantain oil
4 oz calendula oil
1 oz grated beeswax or pastilles
1-10 drops lavender oil
1 Vitamin E capsule
1. Add beeswax to a pot or double boiler and melt on low.
2. Whisk in oils until combined.
3. Add essential oil and vitamin E oil.
4. Quickly pour into glass measuring cup.
5. Pour into jars, cool completely.
6. Store in a cool location.
If stored in a cool location, salves will last one to three years.
If you would like a softer salve, use less beeswax, for a firmer salve, use more.
You can use a combination of oils, or just one kind. Some popular choices for herbs to use in a salve include: arnica flowers, calendula, chamomile, echinacea, comfrey, lavender, plantain, and yarrow.
Check out this great website for more information:
Thank you to the Fifth Grade for their help demonstrating how to make salves!