Making herbal salves is actually quite simple and if you have a source for affordable dried herbs and quality oil it can be cost effective to do it yourself.
What You Need:
- Oven safe dish
- Beeswax (beeswax beads or pastilles are easiest to use)
- Dried herbs (be sure they are well dried)
- Carrier oil (I recommend olive oil)
- Essential oil (optional)
- Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
- Spoon for stirring
- Container to put the salve in
We will start by infusing our herbs into oil. There are two ways to do this. The quickest way is to combine your dried herbs in an oven safe dish, cover completely with the carrier oil of your choice. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, put dish with herbs into oven, close oven door, and then immediately turn the oven off. Leave them overnight with oven light on. I have also used an Excalibur Dehydrator to do the quick infusion method as well. To do this I fill half-gallon jars with dried herbs, cover with carrier oil, put on lids, and then set them in the dehydrator overnight at 100 degrees.
Note: The longer method of infusion involves putting the herbs into jars, covering with carrier oil, putting lids on, and letting them set in a dark, warm place for about six weeks.
After you have infused your herbs into your carrier oil you are ready to start making salve! Start by straining your herbs with either a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Place the infused oil in a pan on the stove and add beeswax. The rule of thumb is to use 1 ounce of beeswax per half cup of oil and adjust as necessary. Less beeswax makes a softer salve and more beeswax makes a firmer salve. Turner burner on low and stir in beeswax until melted and remove from heat.
Note: I like to let the salve cool and check the consistency of it before pouring it into containers. This way, if it is too soft or too hard I can adjust it to make sure the consistency is right. If it is too soft, add more beeswax. If it is too hard, add a bit more oil.
Once the salve has reached the consistency of your preference, return the pan to the stove and turn on low until melted again. Remove from heat and pour into salve containers.
Note: You can use this same process to make chap stick! Make a firmer salve and then pour into chap stick tubes!