Herbal Healing Salve Recipe
This is my family’s go-to healing salve recipe for soothing pretty much any scratch, cut, scrape, bug bite, dry skin patch, bee sting, hives, and so forth.
I have a relative who even likes to use it instead of an eye cream!
Think of this as an herbal alternative to something like your typical store-bought, chemical-laden antibiotic cream, without any of the nasty side effects that those can sometimes cause.
It takes a bit of pre-planning to make since you’ll need to infuse some oil with herbs first. You can do this one of two ways: the slow way (which I prefer), or the fast way.
To infuse oil the slow way, place dried herbs into the bottom of a mason jar until it’s 1/4 to 1/2 full. Pour olive (or sweet almond or sunflower) oil over the herbs until the jar is almost full, cap, shake and let sit in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 weeks before straining and using. These will keep about a year if stored carefully.
To infuse oil the fast way, fill one-third to one-half of a mason jar with dried herbs then carefully cover with oil until the jar is almost full. Don’t cap the jar, but if you’re worried about flies or other insects, you can put a thin layer of cheesecloth over the rim and secure with a rubber band. Set this down into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Gently heat on low for 2 to 3 hours. Don’t let the oil get too hot; if it starts to smell like deep fried herbs, toss it and try again!
You can also buy pre-infused calendula oil and use it to replace the goldenseal and plantain oils as well. (i.e. use 3 1/2 ounces calendula oil, 1 tablespoon tamanu oil, 1/2 ounce beeswax and so forth.)
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Herbal Healing Salve
- 1 1/2 ounces Olive Oil infused with Calendula Flowers
- 1 ounce Olive Oil infused with Goldenseal (or more calendula oil)
- 1 ounce Olive Oil infused with Plantain
- 1 tablespoon Tamanu Oil
- 1/2 ounce beeswax pastilles
- 15 drops of tea tree oil
- 20 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of Rosemary Antioxidents – optional, to lengthen shelf life
Combine herbal oils, tamanu oil and beeswax pastilles in a heat proof measuring cup or jar. Set down into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Allow the water to come to almost a simmer and gently heat the mixture until the beeswax has completely melted.
Remove from heat, stir in the tea tree, lavender and rosemary oils, pour into small tins or glass jars, cap and allow to cool before moving around.
Important Note: Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have chronic health conditions, or have any questions or concerns about this or any herbal home remedy. While this site does its best to provide useful information for others, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk and not a substitute for medical, legal or any other professional advice of any kind.
HERBAL SALVES & BALMS
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Do you sell this salve? If so, please email me! Thanks.
Hi Shirley, I sent you an email! :)
me too I would like an email
Hi there! What I emailed Shirley was that I’d look through my stock of supplies tomorrow and let her know – Since I’ve had quite a few requests, I think I could open my shop for a few weeks with a limited amount of items, including the healing salve, but need to do some calculations first to make sure. I’ll email you tomorrow also and let you know the status of that! :)
Would like to get your information on how to make some salve to sooth sore muscles please. Thanks
Hi Tina! You could infuse oil with arnica flowers for some muscle relief and use that in this salve recipe instead of the goldenseal, plantain & calendula oils. Tamanu oil could still help, so you might want to leave that part in. Instead of the tea tree oil, use peppermint oil instead. Start with around 15-20 drops and adjust to a level that’s comfortable for you. Peppermint is a mild pain reliever and it might help. Another idea is: Dandelion Salve. It’s great stuff for sore muscles! The recipe for that is: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/dandelion-salve-recipe/ I also have an aches & pains recipe: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/aches-pains-balm-recipe/ It’s a little more complex, but my dad and other people who have used it, swear it’s much better than anything they’ve tried before. I hope one of those ideas helps!
If you do sell this could you also please email me the details.
Hi Kathryn! I emailed Shirley that I’d let her know tomorrow if I can make some available. I think I can offer a limited amount of items for a few weeks, just need to do some calculations and make sure! I will email you tomorrow to let you know if I will or not! Thanks! :)
I like the recipe, but I think I’m ultra sensitive to Tea Tree Oil. Also, I was wondering if you’ve ever used Comfrey oil in this salve?
Comfrey leaf oil would work wonderfully in this! You can just omit the Tea Tree Oil also. If you do, you could up the amount of lavender a bit, if you wish. It should still make a great salve! The one thing I would leave in, if at all possible, is the tamanu oil. It has so many benefits and I really think it “makes” this salve.
I would like to buy some too!
Will email you soon also! :)
So cool! The label and packaging is so pretty. Please let us know if you open up your shop! :)
Thanks Tammy! :) I’m trying to… waiting on a reply from Etsy then I’m (hopefully!) good to go!
First, I want to thank you for sharing your recepies!!! I cant tell you how much I appreciate it!!
I have a couple of questions about the infusions. What size mason jars do you use (from the picture it looks like a 4 oz size jar, but not sure) and do you make seperate infusions for each herb? Wasnt too sure about that either. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! Im a nurse, so, if theres anything I might be able to help you with, feel free to contact me! Anything I can help anyone with, I’m all about sharing knowledge too! Bless You Jan :)
For something like goldenseal, I use a 4 oz jar – it’s more expensive to buy the herb & something I use less of so I make smaller amounts at a time. For calendula, I grow my own and have tons of it, plus I use it in many products, so I normally make up quart size jars full. I only made the small jar of it up fresh, just for the post, so I’d have a pretty visual to go with it. :)
I make them separate since I use them in different ways other than salve, but you can also make compound oils. I routinely infuse arnica and comfrey leaf together, since I always pair the two in pain salves, but I have a separate comfrey infusion too (for things such as lip balm where you wouldn’t want arnica on the lips.)
I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes; I have plenty more to come! :)
Thank you for sharing your recipe! Is there a difference between using the dried herb leaves whole or in powder form? Just curious ;)
You’d probably want to crumble the whole leaves so you’d have more surface area exposed to the oil. Personally, I like crumbled, larger textured herbs over powdered, but that’s only because when it comes time to strain and clean my jars, they’re a lot easier to get out. :)
Hi I loved your blog post today! I enjoy making salves, balms and soaps too, it’s fun to see how others make theirs =)
I linked over from Frugally Sustainable
Hi Jan, thanks! Isn’t it a fun hobby? Thanks for stopping by & saying hi! :)
Our daughter’s diaper cream has calendula oil in it, so we really appreciate the soothing element of it for her. I may need to give salves a try this winter. Please feel free to swing by and link up with my Tuesday Greens linky for green living and gardening posts. Have a great week!
Hi Becky! You can make a lovely calendula salve based off of this recipe. Just use all calendula infused olive oil and omit the essential oils. Wonderful salve for babies! :)
I’ll check out your link now, thanks for the invite!
Thanks for the tip and for linking up!
This looks like a great recipe! You have made salve making very approachable. I wondered how you make such awesome labels. Will have to check into Picmonkey and scrapbook programs. Thanks for sharing that great hint and for sharing on Natural Living Monday!
Hi Angela, thanks! I use the Creative Memories program and I love it! :)
Yet another thorough and easy-to-follow post, Jan. Hopefully, you have sufficient stock on hand to satisfy everyone! Happy holidays to all, from “Farmer Doug” @ Ladybug’s Mew.
Hi and thanks! Feedburner had a hiccup and sent two old posts out, including this one – not sure why! Happy Holidays to you and yours also!
Hi! This looks great! Do you sell this product? If so, I would love to order some. Thanks! :)
Hi Anita! I’m not selling anything right now, though I may try to get make some items available around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. You might want to check out small herbalist shops on Etsy! :)
hi jan, u are a miracle worker!!! thanku so much for ur step by step instructions with recipes and labeling, esp lip balms!!! ur an angel!!!! can u tell me how to design the round labels for the herbal salve in the blue cobalt and metal tins. will u do another tutorial for that?
thanku so much!!! uve made life possible :)
Hi Gem! That’s something I’d definitely like to work on. I have a tutorial planned for salve like I did lip balm and wanted to cover labeling as well. I use a Creative Memories scrapbooking program to make my round ones, so I just need to go into somewhere like picmonkey.com or ribbet.com and figure out the way to do it through there – since those programs are accessible to everyone. I’ll start working on that next week! Thanks for the suggestion! :)
Wondering if anyone can help with this. As I was cooling the last batch of salve I made recently, spots began to appear. The dried finished product has lighter colored circles on the surface. Neither the texture not consistency is different. Do you know what happened and what I can do to prevent this in the future? It hasn’t happened to other salves I have crafted. I tried stirring as it dried, filling the container halfway,allowing it to dry, then filling the rest of the way, and with the house temperature colder. Nothing seemed to change the outcome.
Hi Annie Jane! I haven’t had that happen before either. Was it this particular recipe or another? The only thing I can think of is that perhaps something is up with your beeswax or maybe if you used a solid butter like shea/mango/cocoa? Either they didn’t melt completely or they’re going off a bit??? If you have a heat gun, did you try smoothing the top out with it? These are just guesses – I wish I could be more helpful! I hope you figure it out or perhaps someone else will see this and comment as well!
Do you keep the herbs or the oil from the slow process mixture??
Hi Lizzy! You want to keep the oil and discard the herbs.
Thanks sooo much!!!
You’re welcome! :)
I can’t wait to try this formula. Quick question:
I take it that these measurements are in fluid ounces, not weight ounces?
Hi Abbey! I usually measure everything by weight, but in the case of this salve, you could measure out your 3 1/2 ounces of oil by fluid ounce then add enough beeswax until the oil is pushed up to 4 ounces. Then add your tablespoon of tamanu oil. It’s not quite as precise, but with salves that’s okay. Once it’s made, if it’s too thin for your tastes, just remelt and add more beeswax or if it’s too firm (unlikely, since mine are designed to be on the soft side) then you can remelt and add more oil.
i love that you post all of these recipes….and i am especially interested in the natural body products and ones for aches and pains as i have cancer that has spread to my bones and a lot of pain lately….im really looking into making my own products and have looked at pricing of packaging/bottles, tins etc and oils and some of your ingredients….but for recipes like this one, i wouldnt even know where to get this stuff for cheap and it seems like it would be seriously expensive……and could u tell me how much each of some of the recipes would make??
Indeed, there is an initial investment in buying the ingredients needed to make products such as these. I use a big chunk of our tax return and try to stock us up for the year. I know I answered you earlier in email as well, but forgot to tell you that Bramble Berry is another reputable place you could look for oils, butters, etc. They have good prices compared to many places, plus really nice customer service.
As for how much each recipe makes, you can total together the ounces of ingredients called for in the recipe and from that number, estimate how many tins it would fill. Though most of the tins come in 1 ounce, 2 ounce, etc size, I’ve found that they don’t really hold quite that much.
So, using the recipe above as an example:
3 1/2 ounces of various infused oils
+ 1 tablespoon (factor as roughly 1/2 ounce) tamanu oil
+ 1/2 ounce beeswax
= 4 1/2 ounces
This should fill about 5 one ounce tins
2 two ounce tins plus 1 one ounce tin
This is a calculation that you can use for most recipes you come across.
I would love to get some of this salve. I went to your shop and you don’t have anything. Are you going to be making more of this and if so can I get some. Thanks
Hi Sharon! I hope to have the shop restocked by the beginning of next week. So, if you check back then, I should have some available! :)
I love this recipe! I just ran out of my Burt’s Bees green stuff so I was looking for a recipe to try :) Have you ever heard of neem oil? It’s super stinky stuff but is an amazing antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, plus some. I might incorporate it into this concoction, but the smell is extremely difficult to rival, yet the healing benefits are almost too good to pass up.
I <3 tamanu oil, so I was thinking pairing the two up would create some sort of awesome cream of awesomeness? Hmmmm…. Maybe a drop or two of Rosehip seed oil?
Oh yes, neem oil is super stinky! :) I made a dog shampoo bar with it once and went a little overboard with the neem component! Whew! But yes, it’s wonderful stuff!
Tamanu oil is amazing. Probably my favorite ingredient that I stick in everything that I can. I think the two would make a powerful pairing!
When you do the slow process and put the flowers in the jar with the oil, do you also add the goldenseal and plantain powders in the jar to sit for 6 weeks?
I make separate jars for the goldenseal and plantain oils, since I use them individually in other recipes, but you can combine all of the herbs in one jar to make a compound oil if it’s easier for you! :)
Thank you so much for the recipes, links and tips – as a new soap etc. maker I’m finding it overwhelming at times but your information has really helped understand so many things, again thank you so much….also can I email you some time with questions in case I hit a speed bump or two ?
Hi Nancy, I can relate to that overwhelmed feeling – but you’ll be a pro in no time! :) If you have a question, feel free to use my contact form or you can ask right here so that others can see the answer. It sometimes takes me a few days, but I try to answer every question that makes it past the spam filters! I would LOVE to start a little series that covers some of the questions I get related to soap making. It’s on my to-do list; I just have to do it!
Hey Jan, wow a little series like that would be great, but any of your tips would make a difference – thanks again :) Nancy
I was wanting to see if I could purchase this?
I’d like to reopen my Etsy shop for a short while before Christmas & would have this in it – just not sure a precise date. Maybe next week?? The link is here:
Hi, I’ve heard that Tamanu Oil is good for healing c-section scars and stretch marks postpartum. Do you know if it is safe while nursing? thanks!
Hi Emily! The profiles at Mt Rose Herbs are usually really good about warnings not to use when pregnant/nursing and doing a quick skim over I don’t see that on tamanu oil:
I *think* it should be fine, especially since you’re not ingesting it, but it would be good to double check with a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional to be sure.
would this work on diabetic ulcer on my leg? If so I would like to purchase a jar.
Hi David, This isn’t strong enough to treat a diabetic ulcer, but I wrote up a story of how my dad healed one and prevented a second amputation with raw honey. Here’s the link with photos of how much it helped him: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/how-raw-honey-helped-save-my-diabetic-dads-foot
For 1/8 teaspoon of rosemary antioxidants is equivalent o how many drops.
Hi Kelly! 1/8 teaspoon of rosemary antioxidants would probably be around 10 to 12 drops.
Hi Jan! Is this salve good for cloth diaper safe cream? Thanks:)
Hi Natalie! I’m going to copy my response to your query re: calendula cream and diapers here too, to help others with the same question! :)
I’m afraid I haven’t tested it with cloth diapers to know for sure. I just did a quick search of diaper safe creams and notice that they seem to use candelilla wax instead of beeswax. Otherwise, the recipe should be okay. You can buy candelilla wax at brambleberry.com and to substitute in recipes, just use half as much as beeswax called for. (So, if a recipe calls for 1 oz beeswax, use 1/2 ounce candelilla wax instead.) I hope that helps!
Oh, and to add, I wouldn’t use any essential oils in the salve if it’s intended for an infant or small child. :)
I don’t think my question fits here but I can’t find anything on Propolis Salves. I put a propolis trap in my hive and managed to harvest a few ounces after just a week. I hear it is a great healer and even effective against poison ivy. Any ideas on how to incorporate it into a salve? I was thinking maybe a Calendula Salve would be a nice one to add it to but I have no idea how? Just melt it in with the other waxes and oils?
Hi Felicia! I usually turn our propolis into a tincture, since its beneficial properties best dissolve in alcohol instead of oil, (and then you can add a small amount of the tincture to the water part of creams/lotions), but you can make an infused oil with it as well and then use the oil in the salve.
This site has tons of good info on propolis:
and if you scroll wayyyyyyyy down, there’s a section on oil infusions:
“Mix 10 g of cleaned propolis with 200 ml (about 200 g) of olive or almond oil, or with 100 ml of quality linseed oil (refined food quality) or with 100 g of butter. Other edible oils can be substituted for the ones mentioned here.
Heat gently in a water bath for approximately 10 minutes to not more than 50 0C, stirring continuously. Filter and store the extract in well sealed containers in the dark. Refrigerated storage is recommended.”
I think I’d like the place-in-a-warm-sunny-window-for-a-few-days kind of heat for propolis-infused oil rather than a stove, but that’s just an instinct thing and I can’t really know if that’s better or not since I haven’t tried that method yet. Next time we get more propolis though, I plan to try an infused oil myself. I wanted to stash up a good supply of tincture first.
So, that was a long winded way of saying – yes, I think it would be worth a try to infuse it in oil and include it in a calendula salve. :)
Hello! Just ran across your recipe posted by a friend and wondered if you’ve heard of using for eczema? My son is 9 and suffers from.pretty severe eczema – we’ve tried many things like coconut oil and over the counter creams, oils etc. Including many all natural ones recommended by friends . . . They all seem to work somewhat for awhile and then stop . . . And recommendations from your experience?
Hi Meghan! Sometimes I sell this salve and I’ve gotten quite a few positive comments from people who’ve had it help with eczema patches. Others have better luck with lotion bars, like this one:
When I was a kid, I had severe eczema too. My mom didn’t really try much natural stuff with us, but I pretty much bathed in Keri lotion to get a few minutes of relief at a time!
When I get flareups as an adult, I’ve found that a water based lotion still does best for me – I’m using this exact one to finish clearing up a pesky spot now:
Tamanu oil is helpful for many skin conditions, as is rosehip seed oil.
Coconut oil is a common skin irritant for a subset of sensitive people, causing even redder and more chapped skin, so I don’t really recommend that for eczema.
Pinpointing a hidden food allergy (dairy is a common one) & supplementing with essential fatty acids might help too.
I hope you find something to help your son – I know eczema is no fun!
Just a quick question with regards to the Plantain oil. I’m in Australia and not sure what Plantain is. Is it what we call Eggplant over here? If so, do I just cut some up and let it infuse in the oil? (Sorry if that seems like a silly question :) )
Thank you for this lovely website too. I love that you post your recipes and that they are so easy to follow.
Hi Sheridan, Not a silly question at all! I didn’t know what plantain was for many years either, in spite of having a bunch of it growing in my yard. :)
You might know it by another name – you can do some google searches to help you identify it.
I like to infuse oils with dried plants only, to help eliminate the risk of mold or bacterial growth, so you’d want to dry your plantain leaves first, before infusing.
You can just let them air dry on a clean cloth or paper towel, similar to how I used dandelions in this article:
I hope you’re able to find some plantain locally!
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