How to Make a Medicinal Salve


Once you’ve made a medicinal oil (see here), it will take you no more than 15 – 20 minutes to make a salve.  

Salves (or ointments) are made of beeswax, herbs and vegetable oils.  The beeswax adds the firmness necessary to make a solid salve and is softening and soothing to the skin.  I find salves more practical to use day to day than oils because of their firmness and how easy that makes it to be specific to the area I want to apply them to.

Lucy Shoot 580.jpg

To make your salve:

1.    For each cup of herbal oil, add ¼ cup of beeswax  (play with this adding a little less or more depending on how firm or soft you like your salve as described in  #2 consistency test).  Heat the oil and beeswax together over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beeswax melts (which is does all of a sudden – so keep your eyes on it). 

2.    Do a consistency test:  Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture on a small plate, then put it in the freezer for 1 - 2 minutes.  Check the firmness of the salve.  For a harder salve add a little more beeswax.  For a softer salve, add more oil.

3.    Once the mixture is the consistency you want, pour the blend into small glass jars or tins. 

4.    Label your medicinal salve.  Don’t skip this step.  I have a few pots of salve that may be this, or that – I’m not quite sure – because I told myself I’d label them later and by the time later came around I couldn’t remember what they were (all except for a dark green unlabeled salve that I know is comfrey).

5.    Store your salve in a cool, dark place, where it will keep for at least several months.  If you keep the salve in a warm/hot place it will deteriorate rapidly.  You’ll know if it’s no good because the oil will smell rancid.