Make Your Own Herbal Ointments and Salves

It’s easy to make your own herbal medicines. If you’re already making herbal teas then you’ve already started.

Herbal ointments, which are also known as salves, are help to heal wounds, scars, eczema, psoriasis and many other skin conditions.

Salves, or balms as they are also known, are basically herbal ointments made by thickening oil infusions with melted beeswax. Most health-food stores sell plain beeswax, which can be shaved with a potato peeler or grated with a cheese grater and then melted over low heat. Be sure to avoid other types of wax like the varieties sold in crafter’s stores, since most are made of petroleum byproducts.

To begin, you’ll need to make an herbal-infused oil, which is actually quite simple. Simply follow the directions in my blog “Make Your Own Herb-Infused Oils” with the herb you select. Calendula and St. John’s wort make excellent choices since they help heal wounds along with a wide variety of other skin conditions.

Measure two tablespoons of shaved, melted beeswax to a cup of infused oil after the herbal material has been strained off. Melt the oil and beeswax over low heat to prevent overheating of the oil. Stir regularly. Remove from the heat as soon as the beeswax is melted and well incorporated into the oil. Immediately pour into small, shallow jars, tins or lip-balm containers. Let cool undisturbed to allow the ointment to set. Use for skin irritations, psoriasis, eczema, wounds and other skin conditions. Be sure to conduct a patch test by rubbing some of the salve onto the inside of your wrist to determine whether you have an allergy to the herbs or oils used. Wait about 48 hours before using it more extensively if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

Other Herbs to Use for Salves/Ointments

Arnica flowers: excellent choice for physical traumas, bruising and sprains

Burdock root: a good choice for skin infections

Cayenne peppers: use ground cayenne chilis (seeds included) to make your own anti-pain ointments

Comfrey: a good choice for bone and soft tissue healing

Gingerroot: use for muscle pain

Plantain leaves: use for insect stings and poison ivy

Herbal ointments and salves tend to be fairly costly when purchasing them in stores, and you have no idea about the quality of the herbs used. Fortunately, making your own helps ensure that the herbs are fresher and therefore potentially more therapeutic, but they can also help you save money too. And, they make wonderful gifts for herb lovers and natural health aficionados alike.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.


natasha p
Past Member about a year ago


Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T2 years ago


Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C2 years ago

thanks for sharing

Tin Ling L
Tin Ling L2 years ago

thanks for the article

Simon L
Simon L2 years ago


Jenny G
Jenny G2 years ago

I used to make most of my own face creams and herbal ointments but paid and volunteer work takes up a great deal of my time so I have resorted to buying those things now. These days there's such a great range of natural products available.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.