• “How To” DIY of the Week: Making an Herbal Salve

    by  • June 1, 2012 • DIY Projects, Natural Body Care, Natural Remedies • 6 Comments

    Have you ever wanted to make those extremely helpful, really cool herbal salves that you find all over the place? Like…eh hem…cough…mine (haha)! Well, guess what? It’s easier than you think…well, I will try to make it as easy as possible for you. I have learned from great trial and error, so you won’t have to.You are welcome. ;0)

    My favorite salve is Green Bandage – a mix of healing herbs for multiple skin conditions. You can make single herb salves or a blended herb salve depending on what you are trying to heal. Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!

    Making an Herbal Salve

    Things you will need :

    • double-boiler system and a spatula
    • 1.5-2 cups herb infused oil (see how to make some here)
    • 1.5 ounces beeswax (a scale, too, is helpful for measuring)
    • vitamin E oil or gel-capsules
    • essential oils (optional)
    • frozen metal spoons (just put a spoon or two in the freezer before you get started)
    • small storage containers
    • something to label salve

    A few quick tips before we get started:

    I like to have everything (a) ready and within arms reach when I make my salves. Once you get going, it’s best to stay going. I like everything measured and set aside. I also set out my tins (b) or whatever containers I plan on using. I have found it best to remove all the lids at one time and have extra containers open just in case. Doing this will eliminate spilling liquid gold while fumbling around trying to find more jars, then trying to get the lids off with your teeth and toes all while trying to keep your salve from cooling down and hardening before you have a chance to pour it…trust me, it ain’t fun! ;0)

    Now… you will need beeswax. You have a couple of options (c): beeswax pastilles, which are tiny beeswax droplets – these are the easiest to work with as they melt evenly and quickly OR chunks/blocks of beeswax, which is what I get from a local farmer – this can be a challenge as it is harder to get a precise measurement and it takes longer to melt down. I recommend starting with the pastilles, especially if you don’t have a small scale (e) handy. You can easily measure these with dry measuring utensils.

    One other thing I found handy was to stick one or two spoons (d) in the freezer before I start my salve making project. Until you get a handle on your recipe, it’s hard to know if you are going to like the texture or not. Using frozen spoons saves time and guessing. I quickly dip the spoon in the hot salve mix, then place in on the counter. Within a minute, you’ll have a hardened salve and you can test the texture. Too soft, add more wax…too hard add more oil. Pretty nifty, huh?

    Okay, let’s get started!

    1.  First, get your double boiler set-up and start heating up the water. While the water is heating up measure out your beeswax.  I use a postage scale to measure out 1.5 ounces, however, if you don’t have a scale try about 1/3 cup of beeswax pastilles.
    2. Place your beeswax in the pot to melt. If you are using a chuck of beeswax, this could take a while. But if you are using pastilles, if should only take a minute or two.
    3. Your wax should have a pretty golden color when it’s completely melted. I just love the sweet aroma it has too! Delightful indeed.
    4. Okay, now you are ready to add your liquid gold also known as herb-infused oil. I suggest starting with a lesser amount (1.5 cups) and adding more later if needed. It’s no fun when you make your salve too hard and you didn’t leave any extra oil to help soften it.
    5. Carefully pour your oil into the melted beeswax. If your oil is cool, you may notice the beeswax will harden a bit when it comes in contact with the oil. This is not a problem, just allow everything to level out to the same temperature. If you have fresh, warm oil you will not see this happen.
    6. Once the oil and salve are well blended you can turn the heat down to low.
    7. Add essential oils now. I like to use oils that preserve the salve. These include, but are not limited to lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and myrrh.
    8. I also suggest adding vitamin E oil at this time. Vitamin E is a great natural preservative and is great for your skin.
    9. Now you should have a beautiful, liquid salve. See!
    10. Okay, let’s pull one of those frozen spoons our of the freezer. I quickly dip the spoon in the hot salve, then carefully place it on wax paper on the counter. Once it is a solid, light color you can test it. My first dip showed my salve was going to be too hard. It slid off the spoon a bit and cracked apart when I push my finger in it.
    11. I added an extra 1/4 cup of infused oil to my salve mix and tried again. My second spoon proved to be better. When I pressed my finger into the salve, it left a pretty finger print and I was able to get some out with out it breaking or getting to gooey. Perfect! I recommend you test it until you have a consistency you like.
    12. Here comes the fun part! Turn off the heat completely and get ready to pour your mixture into its containers. I use a glass measuring cup with a spout to avoid a disastrous mess. Hardened salve doesn’t like to come off of countertops very well for some reason. 😉 I suggest some wax paper underneath all of the containers, much easier to clean up. Just saying!
    13. There! You should have several beautiful containers full of dark green (or whatever color your herbs make) liquid. If your neighbors think you are too deep into herbs and such, don’t let them see these until they harden…they might assume you added frog legs and grasshoppers. Just kidding!
    14. Allow your liquid to completely cool before you seal them with a lid. They should change from a dark liquid to a medium gel to a light, firm salve. Go ahead… stick your finger in the one you plan to keep, you know you want to!
    15. You did it! See, it wasn’t that difficult. Don’t forget to slap a label on your container. These can make great gifts, tie a ribbon around the lid and tie on a nice instruction card!

    Not sure what kind of salve to make? Bulk Herb Store has a great Salve Mix Kit that includes three great herbal salve mixes, plus beeswax and a few tins – everything to get you started!

    Don’t have time to make you own salve, but want to try one for yourself? Visit my Etsy shop…there you will find several great herbal salves!

    I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you made salve before? What tips and tricks have you learned?

    Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

    About

    Jasmine is a God-fearing, always-learning, stay-at-home-wife to the best husband in the world! In the past couple of years, her new found loves have become herbal fix ‘ems and things “all natural”! She is continually learning to slow down, enjoying the important, simple things in life…like naturally taking care of her home, husband and health. She really enjoys creating things “home-made” and showing others how to do the same! You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

    http://www.thymeandtimber.com

    6 Responses to “How To” DIY of the Week: Making an Herbal Salve

    1. June 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Fascinating! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge. I would love to try this out sometime I have a free afternoon with NOTHING else to do ;). Or maybe I’ll just check out that Etsy shop!

    2. June 8, 2012 at 7:00 am

      I’ve been wanting to renew and expand my use of herbs and this looks like a great place to getting it all happening. Your explanations and photos are lovely and helpful. I’m going to be coming back here often, I’m sure! Thanks!

    3. June 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Wow! Your salve looks amazing. I’m bookmarking this as a DIY for after we move. Can’t wait!

      Thanks for sharing it at Thrifty Thursday, Jasmine. <3

    4. Pingback: Friday Favorites: My Top Blog Posts of The Week {6/15} | Young Wife's Guide

    5. Diane Ramsay
      June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Do you ever make your salve softer and put them in squeeze tubes for cleaner application? I would love to know if it is possible before I try it.

      • June 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

        Diane… I have not tried that yet, but I believe it would possible. If you could find a tube like dispenser that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg…I’d say go for it. The worst that could happen is you might have to re-melt it and add more beeswax to harden it up if it didn’t work :)

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