Making a Healing Salve or Balm

Reader Contribution by Lori Trojan
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What is a salve or balm?

The dictionary definition explains in simple terms, “an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.” I like this definition as it explains a simple solution for what may be a simple or complex health issue.

Making salves and/or balms is also simple: They can easily be produced in your own kitchen with a few basic natural and organic ingredients. Most commonly, salves are applied topically for any number of skin issues, including rashes, skin reactions to bug bites or allergens, burns, eczema, psoriasis, acne, chronic dry skin, chapped lips and more.

Many balms and salves begin with the basic foundation of infused oils and beeswax.  The ingredients you choose, however, should address the specific issue for which the finished product is being used.

Infused oils are simply carrier oils that have been infused with a healing herb of choice. Examples of common carrier oils are sweet almond oil, hemp oil, grapeseed oil, olive or pomace oil, soybean oil, to just name a few. When a medicinal herb is properly infused into one of these carrier oils, you will possess a powerful healing oil which will become an integral part of your home herbal medicine cabinet.

Examples of a few healing herbal infused oils are St. John’s wort oil (anti-inflammatory), comfrey oil (skin tissue repair), calendula oil (deep moisturizer and skin softener), rosehip seed oil (antioxidant and scar minimizer), arnica oil (pain reliever, reduces bruising and swelling). Most any herb can be infused into a carrier oil.  Many of these healing herbal oils can be conveniently purchased already infused for those who do not have the time or desire to produce their own.

Following are common tools and equipment you will need to have on hand to produce your own unique homemade salve or balm:

1 kitchen burner: This may be your stovetop or a single electric or gas burner

on which to heat your mixture

1 glass coffee carafe

1 wooden spoon or skewer stick for stirring

Measuring cups and spoons

Sterilized container(s) to hold your finished product (bottles or jars can be

sterilized in a hot dishwasher)

Label(s) for finished product

Recipe for Healing Lip Balm

(This is the recipe given in my presentation at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Lawrence, Kan.)

5 tbsp +5 tsp organic beeswax

5 tbsp organic cocoa butter

5 tbsp organic coconut oil

10 tbsp sweet almond oil

5 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops vitamin E oil

Method: Pour coconut oil and sweet almond oil into the coffee carafe. Add cocoa butter and beeswax and melt all together over medium low heat until ingredients become a blended liquid, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon or skewer. Remove from heat and add lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil. Stir to blend. Cool slightly and slowly pour mixture into containers of choice. Cool completely before covering with lids and labeling.

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