No home-based herbal medicine cabinet is complete without an herbal salve. These salves can be used for a range of maladies including scratches, cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, and more. Having a jar or container of this at the ready is a quick way to transfer the healing properties of dried herbs to your loved ones.
At its most basic an herbal salve is a combination of dried herbs, a carrier oil, beeswax, and essential oils. Each of these elements plays a crucial part in healing, preserving, and application. Choosing the best of all of these elements ensures the highest quality salve.
The Homemade Advantage
While several good salves are available commercially, making them yourself holds many advantages.
Like food preparation, doing it yourself ensures the highest quality of ingredients can be used. Many believe, and rightfully so, that what you put on your skin matters. Toxic chemical residues, rancid fats, and preservatives can all be found in cheap commercial salves.
No fillers or questionable oils go into the making of your salve. You have complete control over the type and quality of the herbs used. Furthermore, you can personalize the salve to the needs of a sensitive baby or an active teenager, depending on the herbs and essential oils you choose.
The Healing Elements of a Salve
Coconut Oil – As a carrier oil, coconut oil acts both as the vehicle for transferring the healing properties of the herbs as well as a form of nourishment to the skin in its own right. The anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties of coconut oil also help to naturally preserve the salve.
Beeswax – Good quality beeswax turns the infused herbal oil into a smooth, easy-to-apply salve. More importantly, beeswax acts as a moisture barrier for the skin, sealing in the rich herbal oil and keeping out unwanted moisture or debris. Beeswax is generally sold in blocks, which can be grated when used, or pastilles, which are small pearls of beeswax ready for melting.
St John’s Wort – Most widely known for its ability to calm and soothe the nerves, St. John’s Wort is also helpful for maladies of the skin. This herb will lend your salve its ability to bring down inflammation and aid cuts, bruises, rashes, scrapes, and the like.
Yarrow – Known widely for its aid to bleeding wounds, yarrow is also helpful for bruises, rashes, swelling, and sprains.
Calendula Flowers – Known as one of the best soothers of the skin, calendula has a place in every salve. The flowers of the calendula plant infuse the oil with their healing properties while the yellow flowers imbue the herbal oil with a delicate color. For burns, rashes, diaper areas, and general scrapes and scratches; calendula’s healing properties are perfect for an herbal salve.
Comfrey – One of the must-haves for every herbal cabinet and garden, comfrey is one of the most reliable herbs to have in your arsenal. Comfrey has also been known as knitbone for its tissue-mending properties. Used on sprains, strains, and breaks, it also aids in decreasing both swelling and pain.
Tea Tree Essential Oil – For scratches and cuts, tea tree oil is an excellent replacement for Neosporin. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as well. Tea tree oil is considered a “hot” oil in that its potency can burn sensitive skin. For that reason only small amounts are necessary for a broad spectrum salve such as this.
Lavender Essential Oil – Soothing, calming, and healing; lavender is known for its ability to heal and soothe the skin. Its calming effect is also of importance in situations where trauma has occurred and the emotional aspect of cuts and burns need just as much tending as the physical ones.
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