This herbal wound healing salve recipe is one every medicinal herb cabinet should have. Perfect for healing skin abrasions, filled with natural antibiotic oils, and extremely soothiforng for scrapes, cuts, burns and other wounds.
Every year, I gather calendula flowers and infuse them into homemade calendula oil to make this healing salve. Just like my herbal wound healing salve, my peppermint salve, and my comfrey poultice come together very quickly.
Why I Love This Recipe
One of the beautiful things about a homemade natural salve recipe is you can customize it for your specific needs (anyone else a bit of a control freak that way?).
The homesteader in me loves that I can grow the herbs right outside the back door to make this nourishing and healing salve.
The essential oils are optional, but I chose them specifically for their healing properties. You can make any homemade salve recipes without the essential oils and just use herbal-infused oils.
A few years back, I had to have an Atypical mole removed four different times. While the wound was healing, it needed to be kept moisturized, and the dermatologist’s office recommended using Vaseline, which is a petroleum-based product.
Instead, I chose to reach for this herbal wound healing salve, and I genuinely believe it helped speed the healing process.
Why I Don’t Use Petroleum-Based Products
I happen to be allergic to Neosporin. If I use it, I’ll break out in red blisters, which just adds more pain to an already painful situation.
Furthermore, it’s a petroleum-based product that we try to avoid in our home.
Crude oils contain compounds with possible endocrine-disrupting potential, some of them acting via the hormone receptors.Source
What does this mean? It means it can disrupt and affect the estrogen process in your body. I already struggle with estrogen dominance, and for that reason alone, I do not use petroleum products.
Petroleum jelly doesn’t have any healing properties to it either. If I’m going to put something on a wound, I want it to have properties that not only moisturize my skin (not just act as a barrier) but can help my body promote healing.
How to Make a Healing Salve
The basic salve recipe is taken straight from my book Hand Made: the Modern Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living, where I have an entire section devoted to herbs and using them in your natural medicine cabinet.
- Food scale– When making homemade salves, soaps, and ointments, it’s best to do so by weight and not volume. I’ve used this food scale for almost a decade now.
- Heat-Proof Bowl – I like to use a glass Pyrex measuring cup devoted solely to making salves, butters, soaps and candles. That way, I don’t have to worry about getting it too clean between batches because I know the ingredients are all safe for each of my homemade recipes.
- Pot & Stove – We essentially create a double-boiler with a pot and water on the stove. Your pot needs to be large enough to fit your bowl either inside (like I do) or so a bowl can fit over the top of the pot without falling inside.
- Container – you’ll need a container to pour your finished salve in. For bags or on the go, these tins are great for at home medicine cabinets, I prefer to use glass, these wide mouth 4 ounce Mason jars make it easier to get the salve out.
- Beeswax – Beeswax is necessary to maintain a thicker consistency at room temperature. Without it, the salve would run down your skin and won’t stay right where you want it. I like to buy beeswax pastilles instead of a brick of beeswax. They’re easier to measure without the hard work of having to grate the block. You can buy beeswax pastilles here.
- Herbal Infused Oil – I use equal amounts of my homemade calendula-infused herbal oil and my homemade lavender oil.
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has many great properties for our skin.
- Essential Oils (optional) – I use Plant Therapy essential oils because I trust their products (they have third-party testing to verify the quality of their oils).
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil – Tea tree is antimicrobial which makes it a great addition to a healing salve.
- Geranium Oil – Another great option for this oil as geranium oil is antiseptic, aids in wound healing, and inhibits the inflammatory responses in the skin. (Source)
- Frankincense Oil – Frankincense is anti-inflammatory and helps promote healing.
- Lavender Oil – Lavender essential oil is one every home medicine cabinet should have. It’s antioxidant, antimicrobial and very soothing for the skin.
A note on dilution: It’s important that we dilute essential oils before putting them on our skin. This homemade antibiotic ointment is for a short period of time, an acute situation, not something I would use as a moisturizer or on a daily basis. We’re using 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier, which is still well below a 10% dilution rate.
- Using a food scale, weigh out your beeswax and oils.
- Prepare a double boiler. I like to use a metal canning band on the bottom of a pot. Bring the water to just below a simmer.
- Carefully place your heat-safe container with your healing salve ingredients into the pot, making sure the water comes up around the bottom few inches of the container.
- Heat until melted to a liquid.
- Carefully remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding essential oils.
- While the salve is cooling, measure out your essential oils. Try to let it cool to at least 120°F or cooler before adding.
- Add essential oils and stir to distribute evenly.
- Pour the healing salve into your container(s) and let cool.
- Label and date the lid, put the lid on and store in a cool, dark area.
The salve should keep for 12-18 months. Use just as you would Neosporin. Always be sure a wound is thoroughly cleaned before applying healing salve.
Healing Salve Tips
I found the ratio of oil to beeswax in this recipe to be a perfect consistency, soft enough to spread on delicate skin. However, in the heat of summer, I don’t want it to get too soft (I like to pack a small tin with me wherever I go, just in case!).
You can make it harder (and less prone to melting) by increasing the beeswax, but I would test a small portion of the salve by placing it on a frozen spoon before adjusting the ratios.
This salve also smells amazing, proof not all medicine has to smell bad to be effective!
There you have it, an easy herbal wound healing salve, perfect for your natural medicine cabinet.
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo of your homemade healing salve and tag me on social media @melissaknorris so I can see!
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