How to Make Pine Tar Salve
Old-fashioned pine tar salve has been traditionally used to treat everything from splinters, bug bites and boils, to patches of eczema or psoriasis.
This recipe combines herbal infused oil with the pine tar, for an added boost of effectiveness.
It’s super easy to make too!
- 2.75 oz (78 g) herbal-infused oil (see note below)
- 0.5 oz (14 g) pine tar
- 0.25 oz (7 g) castor oil
- 0.5 oz (7 g) beeswax
- 1/4 tsp activated charcoal
Notes & Tips
Before making, infuse the oil with a soothing herb such as plantain, calendula or violet leaves.
To make an infused oil: Fill a canning jar about half-way with dried herb/flower and pour olive or sunflower oil into the jar until almost filled. Cover and infuse in a cool dark spot, like a cabinet, for 4 to 6 weeks before use. For a quicker infusion, keep the jar uncovered, set it in a small saucepan containing a few inches of water (to make a double boiler of sorts) and heat over very low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Strain before use.
This recipe makes a very soft almost ointment-like salve. Increase the beeswax if you’d like a firmer texture.
I buy THIS Auson brand organic pine tar from Amazon as it’s been noted as safe for making soap & body care products. (source)
Pine tar has a strong smoky campfire-like scent that some people find overwhelming. If you discover that you don’t care for the scent, try using my other drawing salve recipe instead (found HERE).
Pine tar is also included in soaps intended to soothe various skin conditions, or in shampoo bars designed for flaky scalps. (Check out my pine tar soap recipe HERE!)
Directions to Make
Pine tar is messy to work with. Because of this, I use an empty tin can for melting and mixing, then transfer to a glass jar for longer storage. I also line my work area with wax paper, to catch any spills.
Add the infused oil, pine tar, castor oil, and beeswax to the tin can or other heat proof container.
Set the can down into a small saucepan containing a few inches of water. Heat over a medium-low burner until melted.
Stir in the charcoal, then pour into a glass jar.
Shelf life is around 1 year, or longer.
HERBAL SALVES & BALMS
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Can you use pine sap resin instead of pine tar for this? Pine tar really stinks, like a telephone pole or railroad tie. Pine sap resin smells great and I have a couple pounds I gathered throughout the year.
Hi Tiffany! You can definitely make a salve from pine resin (pitch) – and you’re right, it smells much better!
HI How about using pine oil? otherwise known as pine gum spirits of turpentine. Could that work instead? Thanks for the post!
Hi Chesca! I’m not familiar with working with that product, so I’m just not sure. If I find out though, I’ll be sure to update! :)
would like to learn more about salve and soap .
Hi Jamie! You may find my free mini email course on soapmaking helpful:
If you do a search for “salve” in the search box on my site, you’ll also find some salve recipes you may enjoy. :)
I loved the salve
Hi Carol, I’m so happy that you liked the salve! :)
My mom said that when she was growing up they used some kind of black tar soap, that was in the 20s or 30s. I even saw some in a pharmacy once. I even used baking soda when I had dandruff, works great. Do you have any recipes to replace body wash or shampoo?
Hi Anne! I remember my dad had some coal tar stuff that sounds like that too, for his hair.
You could make pine tar soap – I’ve had many people report that they use it as a shampoo bar and it works well on their scalp:
Hi, I would like to try this but have a few questions.
Can I omit the charcoal?
Can I store in plastic jar?
Hi Alice! Yes, you could omit the charcoal, but you may want to add a little extra clay to make up for the lack of added powders.
While glass is ideal because it’s not reactive, high quality plastic should be okay too. :)
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