Salve Making: The Lotion Alternative

Hello again after an extend period of blogging drought! Life has a way of sweeping you up and then suddenly it's been months since you've last posted something. Yet here we are, mid January, and what better way to start off the new year than with a post to help nourish ourselves. Note: You'll notice that blog posts will now incorporate recipes related to not only wild foods but also self-care and herbalism. If you are not a fan you can always unsubscribe.


Salves. Yes, the word sounds a bit like something your great Aunt Maude might keep stashed in her medicine cabinet but folks Aunt Maude's got it right: salves are a marvelous thing.

Honestly, forgo the creams and lotions this winter and delve into the hydrating world of salves. There's hand salves, foot salves, salves for eczema...the sky is the limit. The way to get your salve specific ailment is to infuse your oil with whatever herb or variety of herbs are needed for your specific problem.

Below are my general guidelines for making salves. Be mindful this is a two part process. First you need to infuse an oil. Second you can add your solidify agent i.e. beeswax to make the actual salve.

You can make it as complicated or simple as you want. You don't have to use the sunflower seed could sub coconut, olive or jojoba oils. Instead of beeswax you could use cocoa butter.

As far as herbs...if you're going to use one herb I recommend calendula. It is easily one of the nicest skin nourishers out there. Other herbs I like to infuse in my oils are plantain, chickweed, chamomile...there are so many lovely skin emollients (herbs that heal the skin) you should find the one that works best for you. Be mindful and make a small batch of oil to begin as if the herbs you infuse in your oil irritate your skin you definitely don't want to go through the process of using time and wax to proceed to the salve making step.

If you don't like my way you can google whatever way you'd like to make your salve and go from there. The possibilities are limitless.

Have fun, get creative and most of all keep your skin hydrated this season!


Part I: Oil Making 101

Note: Some herbalists coarsely crush or grind herbs first, while others finely chop herbs and leave delicate flowers whole.

Collecting & Ratios:

Dried Herbs

• 1 part herbs

• 2 parts organic sunflower oil

Fresh Herbs

Note: I don't use fresh herbs as they contain a large percentage of water and water = mold.

• 1 part herbs

• 1.5 parts organic sunflower oil


Double Boiler Method: (Warning: Don’t deep fry your herbs!)

1.) Fill your double boiler with water in the bottom pan.

2.) Place herbs and organic sunflower oil in the top of the double boiler and cover with organic sunflower

3.) Gently heat the herbs over very low heat so that the water in the bottom pan is barely bubbling (approximately between 100 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour.

4.) Remove from heat and let the oil steep for 24 hours in an area free of traffic, preferably with a cloth draped over it.

5.) After rest period let oil strain into a desired container for 24 hours.

6.) After straining period squeeze as much oil as possible from the herbs and discard the residual material back to the earth. Do NOT throw it away. Bring it back outside to decompose in a location that is nice.

Note: Herbal oils will keep for approximately a year sometimes three if stored properly in a dark and cool place. If you want some people add vitamin E oil or rosemary essential oil. I do not.


Part II: Salve Making 101


• 1 Part Beeswax

• 5 Parts Organic Sunflower Oil


1.) Place the Beeswax over a double boiler, and gently warm over low heat until the beeswax melts.

2.) Remove from heat and add the herb steeped oil.

3.) Stir thoroughly and allow any beeswax that resolidified to melt.

4.) Quickly pour into prepared tins or glass jars and allow to cool completely. Temperature Sensitive: Salves should be stored in a cool location. Leaving them in the sun, on a dashboard of a car will MELT them. They will resolidify once restored to a cool location but if opened there will be oil…ALL OVER YOU!

On Consistency:

Salves can easily be adjusted to your liking for firmness or softness. Less Beeswax will give you a softer salve that can be used for things like lip balms. If you’d want a firmer salve or if making a winter hand salve you may want to add a little more wax to your recipe. A quick test to help you figure out where your salve is on the consistency factor is dipping a cold spoon in your solution and setting it on a plate in the freezer. In a few minutes you will know if you have a firm or soft salve and can add more or less beeswax as you see fit.


DISCLAIMER:  The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA.  The statements and our products are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for nutritional support only. Always consult with a qualified health practitioner before deciding on any course of treatment, especially for serious or life-threatening illnesses.

No persons associated with Urban Nettle will be held liable or responsible for any form of use or misuse of any herb, herbal preparation or so-called herbal remedy, whether the information was gathered from the Urban Nettle website or not.