Now that the basics of how balms and salves differ have been covered, we can dig into creating these wonderful, healing items. First, I would like to cover how to make a very basic salve. I’ve used and altered this recipe for several different projects I’ve made and during the course of this herbology series I’ll share some of my favorite recipes!
Before getting to the actual recipe, let’s discuss the different kinds of oils that can be used and how to choose the perfect one for your desired results. You can find sites that will go on and on and on about the different type of oils (also called carrier oils) that can be used, but I’ll cover the five most common here.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Yes, that olive oil. The one you probably use for cooking all the time. EVOO is good for use on dry skin, but can occasionally leave an oily feeling and also has a bit of a scent to it.
- Avocado oil
- One of the top recommended oils for effectively relieving the effects of eczema, avocado oil is a great oil for moisturizing.
- Grape seed oil
- Grape seed oil is a very light oil that is often used for aging and delicate skin.
- Coconut oil
- Everyone and their mother is on the hype train for coconut oil, and salve makers are no exception. Coconut oil leaves a non-greasy feeling and is good for cleansing. It can create a harder salve, almost pushing it more towards a balm, and also needs to be stored in a more temperature controlled environment or else it will get grainy and lumpy. It is still usable after this point, only the salve doesn’t feel as great and is not as visually appealing.
- Almond Oil
- My personal favorite, almond oil is used for soothing dry and irritated skin. Another great one for rashes and winter skin.
Basic Salve Recipe
- 1 TBSP herbs (fresh is preferred)
- 4 TBSP oil
- 2 TBSP grated beeswax
- 3-6 drops essential oil (optional)
- Stew herbs in a pot, enamel is best, with oil over heat set on low. Stir often to prevent burning because herbs will get very crispy is not watched. Keep this going for 4 to 6 hours. Get your Netflix on.
- Strain out herbs with a cheesecloth and return infused oil to the pot.
- Stir in beezwax until completely melted and add drops of essential oil, if you’re choosing to use some. To test consistency, dip a spoon and set aside. If too hard , add more oil and if it’s too soft add more wax.
- Pour mixture into glass jars and let cool before capping.
Once again, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do your research and make sure you are using the right ingredients in the correct way. Some people may have dermatological reactions to certain oils or plants and this should be taken into consideration. Also, this is a good time to remind/inform everyone that some essential oils should not be used by people with certain conditions. For example, pregnant women should avoid basil, thyme, and citronella oils. Please, do your research.