Salves: Uses, Ingredients, and Benefits
Long before modern medicine, natural remedies such as salves, teas, and tinctures were made from medicinal plants and used for everything from scrapes to allergies to poor sleep.
We’ve now moved far beyond these early treatments, but many are still just as useful today as they were thousands of years ago.
And the best part is, you can make your own remedies using things you likely already have at home! To learn more about salves and how to make them yourself, just keep reading.
Popular Herbal Remedies
Before we dive into the details of salves, let’s talk about the three types of topical herbal treatments. Salves are one of them, but there are also infused oils and creams. So what’s the difference?
Well, salves are a waxy substance made from a combination of beeswax or soy wax and oils. Creams, on the other hand, use water rather than wax to create a softer, more hydrating product.
As you might have guessed, infused oils use neither secondary ingredient. They’re simply made by steeping herbs in oil. The medicinal properties of the plant seep into the oil to create a soothing mixture.
Benefits and Uses of Salves
Homemade salves are an incredibly useful tool for everyday injuries and ailments. Using a basic salve, you can heal chapped lips, dry skin, diaper rash, scrapes and burns, eczema, and sunburn. And that’s without any added ingredients!
The ingredients you add to your salve will alter its effects. Different oils, waxes, and herbs each have a specific purpose in natural medicines.
For example, White Label Hemp Balm is made with cannabinoids, which have a wide variety of uses, from soothing muscle pain to keeping acne under control.
The benefit of making your own salves is that you never have to wonder if you’re unintentionally using something harmful on your skin. You know exactly what’s in it and what it does!
Types of Herbal Salves
As we mentioned above, different added ingredients will change the effect your salve has when you apply it to your skin. The list of potential ingredients is virtually endless, so we’re going to stick to some of the most popular choices. Add these herbs to your salve to boost or change its effects:
Rosemary is a powerful natural remedy and a popular choice in aromatherapy due to its effectiveness against stress and anxiety. The scent of rosemary in your salve will have this effect, but it can also do so much more!
Rosemary is great for reducing pain and inflammation, relieving throat congestion, and healing dermatitis and other skin conditions. The salve will hydrate your skin while the rosemary acts as an antimicrobial, killing any harmful bacteria.
Like rosemary, lavender has been shown to have a positive effect on those suffering from anxiety. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, making it a potent acne treatment.
If you’re worried about your salve clogging your pores and worsening your acne, don’t be! Lavender is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t get stuck in your pores.
Another antimicrobial is peppermint. Rubbing salve made with this sweet-smelling herb into your skin will fight against itching, muscle pain, even headache!
Whether you have a tension headache or a migraine, peppermint might be able to help. Rub your salve on your forehead and temples and feel the pain melt away.
Make Your Own Herbal Salve
Now that you know some of the different types of herbs and what they can do for you, you’re ready to make your own salve! This is a simple recipe that anyone can make. All you need are a few ingredients and an idea of what the uses of your salve will be.
This recipe will make a little over a cup (9 ounces) of product, perfect for storing in a small container in the medicine cabinet!
To make your own herbal salve, you’ll need:
- 1 ounce of beeswax (grated or pellets)
- 8 ounces of oil (infused with the herb of your choice)
- A double boiler
- A glass jar or small metal container
- Your choice of essential oils
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a metal bowl and a pot, just make sure the bowl is tilted so that the steam from the boiling water below can escape.
Heat the oil in the double boiler until warm. To the warm oil, add the beeswax and stir until melted.
Your salve is done when it’s the correct consistency after cooling in the freezer for a few minutes. Don’t put the entire mixture in the freezer to test it, a spoonful will do. If it’s not quite firm enough, you can add more wax.
Pour your finished salve into the container. If you want, you can then add a few drops of essential oil and gently stir it in while the mixture is still warm. When you’re ready to store it, replace the lid on the container and put it in a cool, dark place.
Care for Yourself and Your Family With Natural Remedies
For certain injuries and conditions, there’s no substitute for a medical professional. You should never put yourself or someone you love in danger by using a home remedy when a doctor is needed.
That said, learning to make your own salves and other herbal remedies is a fantastic way to care for minor ailments and injuries. Next time someone comes home with a sunburn or skin rash, you’ll have the cure!
Interested in learning more about making and using natural remedies? Take a look at our blog!