Learn how to use common weeds growing in your backyard to make a dandelion salve that’s useful for sore muscles, achy and arthritic joints, and rough chapped skin.
Dandelion salve is especially ideal for those who work outdoors and with their hands a lot!
Dandelions are one of my favorite plants! They’re the epitome of cheerful resilience and have so many uses and health benefits!
Just who decided dandelions were ugly weeds in the first place? And, why did anyone listen to them??
Today, I’m going to talk about how to use those dandelions growing in your backyard to make a salve that’s useful for:
- sore muscles
- achy & arthritic joints
- rough, chapped skin
To make dandelion salve, you first need to create an infused oil.
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How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil
Dandelion flower infused oil is often used in recipes designed to soothe and heal chapped or cracked skin. It’s also helpful for sore muscles and other aches and pains.
Shelf life of strained infused oil is around 1 year.
If you don’t have dandelion flowers where you live, you can occasionally find some for sale on Etsy.
You don’t want to use freshly picked dandelions for this project because they have such a high water content, that your oil will get a little sludgy and yucky sometimes, with a higher likelihood of spoilage.
Instead, spread the dandelions out in a single layer on a plain paper towel and let them air dry for a few days. (Some might turn to puffs but that’s okay, you can use them as well.)
Related: See my article How to Harvest & Dry Flowers & Herbs from Your Garden.
To make dandelion oil, fill a canning jar about half-way with dried dandelion flowers. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp and so forth.)
For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil.
For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of dried dandelion flowers and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.
For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of dandelion flowers and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.)
Once the oil is finished infusing, you’re ready to make some salve.
How to Make Dandelion Salve
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of dandelion infused oil
- 0.5 ounces (15 grams) of beeswax pastilles (available from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon)
I like to put a little tamanu oil in most things I make because it is simply the best all around skin healing agent I’ve experienced (to date), so I use about 3 ounces of dandelion oil and 0.5 ounces of tamanu when I do that.
If you don’t have any on hand though, no worries. Just use all dandelion infused oil!
- Add the oil and beeswax pastilles into a heat proof container.
- Set it gently into a pan containing several inches of water (just like we used when we infused our dandelion oil.)
- Gently bring the temperature up to medium-lowish heat and let the container stay in the makeshift double boiler until the wax is melted.
- Remove from heat and carefully pour into tins or jars then let sit until firm.
This recipe makes about four ounces of salve. One batch fills around 2 of the 2-ounce glass jars or tins shown with a tiny bit leftover. You could also repurpose an empty glass jelly jar for your salve.
Shelf life of salves is at least 9 months to a year.