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How to Make Herbal Salves

Herbal salves are such a simple, effective, and useful way to take in herbal goodness! They can easily be slipped into a purse, pocket, or first aid kit. Although semi-solid at room temperature, salves soften once applied to the skin, making them less messy than oils. They also make great gifts and are an easy and approachable way to introduce newbies to the power of herbs. Plus, salves can be crafted for a wide variety of topical uses. The addition of beeswax will protect, soothe, and nourish your skin.

Part 1: Make Herb-Infused Oil

To make a salve, first craft your herb-infused oil(s). This can take anywhere from about a day to several weeks, depending on the method used. You can also purchase infused herbal oils if you're short on time or wish to skip the process of infusing the oil yourself. We recommend using only dried herbs in your infusions, as the lack of moisture content in the plant material can keep spoilage at bay.

**HERE ARE 3 Ways to Make Herbal Oils!**

Chamomile infusing into oil


Part 2: Make Your Salve

Once you've created your herbal oil, you're just a few simple steps away from your finished salve! See our basic salve recipe below, and follow along with herbal educator and author Maria Noël Groves for a comprehensive video how-to demonstration!

Makes 5 ounces.



  1. Wrap beeswax bar in an old towel. On a sturdy surface, use a hammer to break bar up into small chunks.
  2. Place beeswax in a double boiler and gently warm over low heat until the beeswax melts.
  3. Add herbal oils and stir over low heat until well-mixed.
  4. Remove from heat and add the essential oil(s).
  5. Quickly pour warm mixture into prepared tins, glass jars, or lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely.
  6. Store in a cool location for 1 to 3 years. 

Pro tip: The consistency of salves can easily be adjusted depending on your preferences. Use less beeswax for a softer salve and more beeswax if you’d like a firmer salve. You can test the consistency by placing a spoon in the freezer before making your salve. When the beeswax melts, pour a little salve onto one of the cold spoons and place it back into the freezer for 1 to 2 minutes. This will simulate what the final consistency will be like. Once cooled, you can make adjustments by adding more oil (for a softer salve) or more beeswax (for a firmer salve).

Homemade salve with array of botanical ingredients.


Best Herbs for Salves

You can make a salve with a single herb or multiple herbs, depending on your needs. It’s useful to make a variety of herbal-infused oils so that you can easily craft a salve whenever you need it!

As a supplier of herbs, we're unable to provide information about the specific uses of herbs in remedies, however, there are many wonderful books in our shop that can help! Some of our favorites include: Maria Noël Groves's Body Into Balance, Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Common Ailments and Mrs. Grieve's A Modern Herbal,  and Thomas Easley & Steven Horne's A Modern Herbal Dispensatory.

Some staff favorites that you can find in our DIY salves in our cupboards at home include:

Please note that this is only a partial list, and many other herbs can also be incorporated into salves. Happy salve making!


Want to make a vegan salve?

Make a Vegan Salve with Carnauba Wax!

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest Pin from Mountain Rose Herbs for blog post on making your own herbal salves for natural skincare.

Topics: Natural Body Care, Recipes, Herbalism


Written by Irene on August 23, 2019

Irene's extensive experience with herbal products and DIY recipes goes back to 1997, and since 2012 she’s owned her own skincare business, Fawn Lily Botanica, where she specializes in botanical-based facial care products. Irene’s recipes have been featured in local and national publications including the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) Journal, Amaze Magazine, Willow and Sage magazine, MaryJanesFarm Magazine and Newsletter, Earth First Journal, Farming Magazine, Eugene Magazine, and the Eugene Weekly. Irene also served as a member of the Board of Directors for nonprofit Cascadia Wildands from 2013-2016.

Woman breathing in mindfully next to an essential oil diffuser.


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