3 Simple, Healing Salve Recipes Your Great-Grandparents Used

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3 Simple, Healing Salve Recipes Your Great-Grandparents Used

Using herbal remedies to heal your ailments is a crucial aspect of living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Instead of purchasing balms premade at the store, you can use items you grow or create on your homestead to heal your body. Salves can replace store-bought creams (such as Neosporin) in your medicine cabinet.

What is a Salve?

If you have used any form of ointments, you already have a general idea about salves. They are a homemade ointment or cream, created to protect and heal our bodies and skin. Salves were used for centuries by our ancestors, great-grandparents and grandparents for cuts, burns, blisters and many other ailments. They often were called “drawing salves,” intended to draw out infections, splinters and toxins from spider or snakebites.

The process used to create herbal salves hasn’t changed much in the last few centuries, even if we do have essential oils more readily available than ever before. Old salve recipes called for herbal-infused oils. It involves simmering herbs in any melted oil for a long period before straining out the herbs.

All salves also require an element that creates the creamy consistency needed so you can spread it over the ailment. Beeswax is the most common choice, a benefit for those who have beehives. Shea butter and honey are also used in recipes. The creation of an herbal salve is easy and typically only requires a few minutes of commitment!

Let’s examine three easy salves you can make at home.

1. The perfect all-purpose salve

Everyone needs to have an all-purpose salve available at all times. I make a large batch because, with three kids, we use a lot of it! You will use coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax to create it, but you can use more coconut oil and beeswax if you have no olive oil. It is a great choice as a homemade diaper rash cream that is cloth diaper safe.

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • 1/3 cup calendula flowers
  • 15 drops of melaleuca essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender oil

If you have older children or are simply using this salve for yourself, you can increase a number of essential oil drops.

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  1. Use a double boiler to melt the coconut oil and olive oil together.
  2. Add in the calendula flowers to the melted oils and allow to simmer for a minimum of two hours. This infuses the oil with the healing properties of the flowers. Make sure to stir during this process.
  3. After simmering, strain through a filter.
  4. Put the infused oil back into a pan and melt the beeswax.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before adding in the drops of essential oils.
  6. Pour or ladle the salve into glass jars. Allow to cool and harden for 24 hours. This recipe makes one cup of salve, but it is easy to increase the recipe.

2. Burn salve

3 Simple, Healing Salve Recipes Your Great-Grandparents Used

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Burns can happen to anyone, but if you live an off-the-grid lifestyle, you have a higher chance. It is always smart to keep a jar or two of burn salve nearby. I find that it is one of the most common salves I use, even if it’s only because I spilled morning coffee on my hand.

  • ½ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup aloe Vera
  • 10 to 15 drops lavender essential oil

You also could add ingredients such as comfrey, which aids the healing process! This salve doesn’t require many steps. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it over a double boiler. Then, add in the raw honey and aloe Vera. Let the oils cool for 15 minutes before adding the essential oils.

3. Sore muscles salve

When you spend all day working hard, you can expect a few aches and pains. After a day of work, apply a layer of a sore muscle salve to help relax your body. I have tried some different salves, and this recipe is the most loved choice of all.

  • ½ cup arnica flowers
  • ½ cup comfrey leaf
  • ½ cup St. John’s Wort
  • 2 cups of coconut oil
  • 3 ounces of beeswax


  1. Put the oil into a double boiler and melt over medium to low heat.
  2. Once melted, add the herbs and allow to infuse for 12 hours. If you don’t want to keep adding water to the pot, you can use a slow cooker on low.
  3. After infusion, strain the oil through a cheesecloth or filter. You could repeat the process with new herbs for extra-strength salve.
  4. Put the infused oil into a pot with the beeswax and slowly melt over the heat. Once melted, pour into individual glass jars and allow them to harden.

What is your favorite salve? Share your health tips in the section below:

How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve

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How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve If SHTF or you are trying to be more natural and you suffer with skin ailments this is a great treatment for you. When making salve, it’s always best to first consider what you are attempting to treat. Always get the ingredients from a trusted shop or even …

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All-Natural Fall Remedies That Smart Homesteaders Store For Winter

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6 All-Natural Remedies That Smart Homesteaders Make Each Fall

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The fall can be a busy time if you’re trying to stock a well-prepared larder. Perhaps you’ve put up or purchased enough food to get you through the winter, but have you thought about keeping your family healthy as well as fed? There are many natural medicines that are easy to make at home during autumn to keep your family healthy all winter long.

1. Herbal teas

A great place to start for the beginner, herbal teas can be as simple as looking for tasty and health-promoting recipes in your favorite reference book and mixing them ahead of time. Dried herbs can easily be purchased for your first batch, but harvesting and drying them at home is a much more cost-effective and reliable method of ensuring availability. Even if you haven’t planted an herb garden, try learning to identify and harvest wild elderberries, yarrow, rose hips, raspberry leaf and mullein as a first step. Drying can be as simple as tying them into small bundles and hanging them in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Once dry, store in Mason jars or other airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

2. Tinctures

Once you’re comfortable blending your own herbal teas, tinctures are a great next step. While there are many plant compounds that are water soluble in teas, some medicines are alcohol soluble and require a different extraction to get the full benefit. Examples of alcohol soluble herbs include most that are high in resins or naturally antibacterial alkaloids such as Echinacea, cleavers, nettle and elecampane. To make a tincture, start with a plain alcohol such as grain alcohol or vodka that is at least 50 proof (25 percent alcohol), preferably 80 proof or higher. For most herbs, a ratio of 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol works well for extraction. Place the herbs and alcohol in a sealed jar out of direct sunlight for at least 2-3 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain out the herb, and the tincture is ready for use.

3. Oxymel

An alcohol-free way to extract herbs that may not be water soluble is with vinegar. Oxymel is a mixture of a vinegar-extracted herb, with raw honey to both enhance the health benefits and the palatability. Ratios vary widely, but a common method takes 1 part herb, 2 parts vinegar and 2 parts honey for the mixture.

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Add all three parts to a mason jar, seal and wait 2-3 weeks before straining out the herb and bottling for use. There are many elderberry/vinegar/honey oxymels on the market today, selling for as much as $5-$10 dollars per ounce, when they can be made at home for just a few dollars per quart. Dollar for dollar, oxymel is one of the easiest and most economical natural remedies to make at home.

4. Infused oils

Following the same principle as tinctures and oxymels, infused oils extract herbal components into an oil base. Try a neutral oil such as sunflower, almond oil or light olive oil. A ratio of 1 part herb to 2-4 parts oil works well for most herbs. In the winter, herbal-infused oils can be great for treating burns, ear infections, topical fungal issues or respiratory issues when used as a chest rub.

5. Healing salves

Once you have an infused oil, a healing salve is a great way to improve the versatility of your remedy. Healing salves take infused oils and add a wax component to make them semi-solid at room temperature so that they’re easy to apply and store. Start with 8 ounces of infused oil and 1 ounce of beeswax. Slowly heat until the beeswax is melted, and then mix thoroughly. Pour into a storage container while hot. Healing salves often incorporate the use of essential oil and vitamin E oil to enhance their effectiveness, depending on the use.

6. Witch hazel extract

A commonly used astringent and topical disinfectant, witch hazel is easy to make at home. Witch hazel is a small bush/shrub that’s prevalent in the wild in the eastern half of the United States. An extract can be made from wild harvested witch hazel twigs, or if you prefer, there are many online sources to purchase dried witch hazel bark. For the most potent extract, harvest the twigs just after the plant has flowered late in the fall (October/November). Finely chop the twigs with pruning shears or scissors, cover completely with water and place on the stove on low to simmer. Most recipes slow cook the stems and bark for at least 8 hours, adding water during cooking to keep the plant material covered. Once it’s done cooking and cooled completely, it’s perishable unless alcohol is added as a preservative.  Add 1 part high proof vodka or grain alcohol for every 2 parts witch hazel extract, and store in a cool dark place indefinitely.

Which is your favorite home remedy? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar