how to make a salve
The following recipe, complete with a picture tutorial, is featured in our ebook The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide.
If you’re a big fan of herbs (like I am!), then you just have to try your hand at making your own herbal salve. It’s surprisingly simple and so much fun!
The only ingredients you’ll need are:
herbs (I used plantain, from Bulk Herb Store)
olive oil (from our local grocery store)
a crock pot and a jar
This project goes together really quickly- just a few minutes of work over a period of a few days, and you’re done!
It’s also a great way to give an inexpensive and creative gift! Here’s a break-down of my costs:
4 oz organic plantain leaf- $3
3 oz beeswax- $4.50
4 (.5 oz) tins and 5 (4 oz) tins- $5
olive oil- about $5
For about $20, I ended up with 9 tins of homemade herbal salve for giving and using- not bad! (Check the prices on organic herbal products at your local health store and you’ll definitely recognize the savings!)
Here’s the recipe:
The first step is to infuse your olive oil with the herbs. To do this, pack your herbs into a canning jar (we used quart size) until the jar is three-quarters full.
2. Next, pour olive oil over the herbs until they are completely covered. Leave about 1 inch of head space at the top, then seal with a lid.
3. Place a wash clothe in the bottom of your crock pot, and set the jar of herbs and oil on top. Fill the crock pot almost completely with water. Turn on “low” heat and let the herbs sit for three full days. Replace water as needed. By the end of the three days, you will have an herbal-infused oil…
4. Strain off the herbs and pour the oil into a clean container. You can use cheese cloth or a clean piece of cotton (from an old t-shirt) to strain out the herbs. (Discard herbs when you’re done.)
5. Place the herbal oil into a large sauce pan and add beeswax. Turn the burner on low heat and gently stir until the wax begins to melt. The little things you see floating around in the oil are pieces of beeswax!
At this point, you can also add 2 or 3 drops of grapefruit seed extract (as a natural antibiotic) and 2 or 3 drops of vitamin E oil (as a preservative) to your salve oil.
6. If you have little helpers around, enlist them to stir! My three lil’ munchkins had a great time with this project, as you can see!
7. Once the wax has completely melted, your “salve” is ready to pour into tins! The oil should be smooth and completely lump-free before you pour it into your containers.
8. Fill tins almost to the very top, then allow the salve to “set”. The tins will be very hot so be extremely careful if you try to move them before they’re cool! It only took a few minutes for our salve to cool and set. This batch yielded five large tins and four small tins of salve.