How to Make Pine Tar Salve

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
Beeswax for Making Pine Tar Salve

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.

How to Make Old Fashioned Pine Tar Salve




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  1. 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.

  2. HI How about using pine oil? otherwise known as pine gum spirits of turpentine. Could that work instead? Thanks for the post!

  3. 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?

  4. Hi, I would like to try this but have a few questions.
    Can I omit the charcoal?
    Can I store in plastic jar?

    Thank you

    1. 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. :)

  5. So I made this out of desperation for a dog with the worst skin allergies I have ever seen in my 30 years of dog working, breeding and showing dogs. This is a pet dog not one I bred or show. Just my buddy. I’ll not say this “cured’ him… But he has gone from looking like he was scalded, flaming red, to a normalish pink… Should be fur there but that will take a long while… It did help… I did not add the charcoal nor infuse the olive oil… I am trying to limit any potential irritants. It’s only been a few days but he is better… Horrible still…. But better. I also made another batch just now using Lanolin instead of the oils. On the lanolin one I used castor oil, bees wax, the pine tar and lanolin. It is hopefully hardening now. Anyhow I appreciate the forthright recipe. Not recommending this as it was a desperation move… Just putting it out there as a POTENTIAL help for another person with a dog in a bad situation. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Scott, I’m happy to hear the salve has been helpful, but sorry to hear about your dog’s skin woes!
      I sure hope he is feeling better now!

    2. Hi Scott…
      have you tried allergy pills?
      I use a light dose generic human grade allergy pill and it helps a lot for my furbabies skin allergies.

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