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Earlier this week on the blog, I shared some of my favorite ways to use and enjoy bulk herbs in our home. Today I present to you one of the staple herbal concoctions of the Smith household: The Skin Soother Salve, also affectionately known as “The Green Stuff”. Can you guess where it got that name?
We’ve come to depend on this salve for cuts, scrapes, general owies, bug bites, and other small injuries that might call for an antibacterial ointment. It can be made with a variety of skin-soothing herbs, some of which are probably growing as weeds in your yard! The first step in making this salve is to make an herb-infused oil, so I’ll give steps for that before going over the other simple instructions to make the salve. With the oil and just a few other simple ingredients, you can easily have your own homemade salve for all of life’s boo-boos! Well, at least some of them.
Making an Herb-Infused Oil
Herb-infused oils are herbal extracts in an oil base. Various oils that are not prone to rancidity can be used for them, but I like used extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil (referral link) in equal parts. The extract can be made without heat over a couple of weeks, but using gentle heat allows you to make the infusion in a couple of hours.
Recipes for herb-infused oils are often given in measurements of weight. This is because roots tend to weigh more than leaves, and leaves more than flower petals, giving you various amounts of plant material in the same volume measurement. However, for the sake of simplicity, and because all of the herbs you can use in this oil and salve are very gentle and no roots are used, I’m using volume measurements.
Herb-Infused Oil for Skin Soother Salve
- 1/3 packed cup each dried comfrey leaf, calendula blossoms or petals, and plantain leaves (other herb possibilities are dried chickweed, lavender buds, or chamomile flowers)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup coconut oil (referral link)
You can absolutely make this oil with just one or two of the herbs, or even more if you’d like. You want a total of 1 cup of packed dried herbs, whatever combination you choose. I like this combination because I grow both comfrey and calendula, and plantain abounds in our yard as a weed!
- Place herbs in a heat-safe bowl (if heating in an oven) or small stainless steel saucepan (if heating on the stove top).
- Add both oils.
- Heat over very gentle heat for about two hours. I prefer to bake my infusion in our toaster oven set at 170 degrees, but you can also heat yours on the stove top over very low heat. You do not want your herbs to cook, just gently heat.
- Strain your oil through a cloth-lined metal mesh strainer. I usually use an old cotton t-shirt section for this step, but any lint-free cloth will do. Let it cool for about ten minutes, then squeeze the cloth around the herbs to get out as much remaining oil as possible. Discard herbs and cloth (or wash if you’d prefer), and store the oil in a glass jar away from heat and light. You can also move right onto making your salve while the oil is warm!
This will yield about 1 1/2 cups of herb-infused oil. The salve recipe that follows calls for 1/2 cup of that oil, so you will have extra left over for other uses.
Skin Soother Salve
- 1/2 cup of herb-infused oil
- 2 T. grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles (affiliate link)
- 20 drops essential oil (affiliate link) of choice (I used 15 drops lavender and 5 drops tea tree for a gentle blend safe for children)
- In a small saucepan, combine the oil and beeswax together and gently warm over low heat while stirring. Remove from heat once the wax melts into the oil.
- Allow the salve to cool for about ten minutes, then add the essential oils.
- Pour the salve into a small, short wide-mouth mason jar or a 4 oz. tin (affiliate link). I prefer using the tins since it is easier to get all of the salve out, and they won’t break when dropped. They are also really inexpensive! Another great idea is to pack the salve into smaller tins to keep in purses, diaper bags, and vehicles.
- Allow to cool and solidify fully, then cap, label, and store away from direct heat.
That’s it! It’s really a very easy process, and doesn’t require hard-to-find ingredients. This tin of salve will last our family at least half of the year, I don’t worry about anyone getting into it an eating it (no toxic ingredients), and I love knowing exactly what I’m putting on our cuts, scrapes, and owes.