Instead of reaching for a tube of Neosporin, whip up a batch of this great homemade healing salve to have on hand for cuts, scrapes, and scratches. It's a natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. Plus it helps soothe the skin so fewer tears from the little ones!
It is no secret we love essential oils and their many uses. One of my favorites is that I can make homemade products like this homemade healing salve that save me money, are natural, and without harsh chemicals.
Homemade Healing Salve
With 4 boys, cuts and scrapes are just a fact of life. We used to use a lot of Neosporin and other antibacterial creams/ointments but it contains petroleum jelly. So I tweaked one of my mother's salve recipes to come up with our own!
This is great to have on hand for little ones and even for accident-prone adults! I am forever managing to scrape or cut myself on absolutely nothing, so I think I use this as often as the kids.
Whip up a batch this weekend and keep it on hand for cuts, scrapes, stings, scratches, and other skin irritations!
What You Need for Homemade Healing Salve
- Coconut oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Comfrey leaves
- Calendula flowers
- Lavender flowers
- Raw honey
- Witch hazel
- Lavender essential oil
- Tea Tree essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Oven-safe dish or crockpot
- Storage containers
How to Make Homemade Healing Salve
- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. 75 for those of you that use Celsius and 55 for a Celsius fan assisted oven.
2. Combine coconut oil, almond oil, comfrey, calendula, and lavender in an oven-safe dish. I just use a glass baking dish or even a Pyrex measuring cup.
3. Place in the oven for 2-4 hours. The longer you are able to have it in the oil, the better the herbs seem to release into the oil. You can also do this in a crockpot set on warm!
4. Strain the oil using cheesecloth to remove the herbs. Make sure to squeeze all the oil you can out of the herbs!
5. Discard your herbs & pour the strained oil into a medium pot on medium heat.
6. Stir in the honey until completely combined.
7. Add the beeswax, stirring until completely melted.
8. Perform a spoon test to check for consistency.
9. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly.
10. Add your witch hazel & essential oils, stirring well.
11. Pour the mixture into your containers and seal once it has cooled to room temperature.
Substitutions for Homemade Healing Salve
If you are short on time, you can make this in a pan on the stove. Cook the oils and herbs on low for 30 minutes and then move on to step 4. I do it with a homemade double boiler to avoid scalding with direct heat.
What if I don't have sweet almond oil?
Macadamia nut oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed, sunflower, and safflower can all be used. My mom uses olive oil instead of the coconut and almond oil combo in her salves (we have the same basic recipe we both use for most of our salves) because two of my siblings are allergic to almonds and one is allergic to coconut.
If I don't have sweet almond oil, my preference is actually Jojoba oil. The type of oil you use will affect how much beeswax you use a little but the spoon test helps you adjust to get the right consistency for the oils you use as well as room temperature in your house.
What if I don't have one of the herbs?
You can order all 3 online, but if one is out of stock you can make some substitutions. Do not use just comfrey though if you will be using it on new wounds. It is generally not recommended for open wounds because it helps the outer skin heal quickly and bacteria can get trapped under the skin. Combined with the lavender and calendula, we have never had that issue.
Making substitutions in salve recipes is how I've created some of my favorites. It's also how I've discovered some truly horrid scents…that were still pretty effective for their desired use but no one can tolerate it enough to continue making them!
Yarrow and goldenrod are both used for cuts that are still open/bleeding slightly. Chamomile works great in place of lavender for the soothing aspect. Gotu kola is one I haven't tried yet but recently ordered because it is used to treat skin conditions and I want to try it in a psoriasis salve. Arnica is a favorite in my family for both pain relief and its healing abilities.
Can I use beeswax beads instead of shaving beeswax off a block?
You can, but the beads/pellets/pastilles seem to have a higher oil content so they don't solidify the same as a beeswax bar. I think you could adjust for this during the spoon test but haven't tried it with the pastilles before since I changed my method up years ago.
If you make any substitutions, please leave a comment and let me know how it turned out!
How Long Does This Homemade Healing Salve Last?
Typically salves last about 6 months at room temperature and up to a year in the fridge. If you make a larger batch than you'll use within 6 months, try storing half in the fridge.
Homemade Healing Salve Benefits:
Homemade natural products are always going to be my first choice. I like to know exactly what we are putting on (and in!) our bodies. This salve helps cuts and scrapes heal quickly, provides a thin barrier against dirt and grime, and soothes skin irritations.
I like whipping up a batch of this and storing it in small containers. I like to keep one in my purse for on the go issues and in our first aid kit at home. In the spring and fall, I can keep one in the car's first aid kit, but it doesn't hold up well to the well below freezing temps an Iowa winter brings and is way too liquid during the 90+ summer heat.
More Homemade Products:
- Homemade Sore Muscle Salve
- Homemade Sleep Salve
- Whipped Lavender Homemade Body Butter
- Lemon & Lavender Homemade Bath Bombs
- Homemade Lavender Bath Salts
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup almond oil
- 1 oz of each dried comfrey leaves
- 1 oz dried calendula
- 1 oz dried lavender flowers
- 2-4 oz beeswax
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon witch hazel
- 20-30 drops essential oils (I like using equal amounts of lavender, tea tree, and lemon)
- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
- Combine coconut oil, almond oil, comfrey, calendula, and lavender in an oven safe dish.
- Place in oven for 2-4 hours. The longer, the better. You can also do this in a crockpot set on warm!
- Strain the oil using cheesecloth to remove the herbs. Make sure to squeeze all the oil you can out of the herbs!
- Discard your herbs & pour the strained oil into a medium pot on medium heat.
- Stir in the honey until completely combined.
- Add 2 ounces of beeswax, stirring until completely melted.
- Perform the spoon test (see note) and add more beeswax as needed.
- Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly.
- Add your witch hazel & essential oils, stirring well.
- Pour the mixture into your containers and seal once it has cooled to room temperature.
Prefer to use the stovetop? Cook oils & herbs on low for 30 minutes, then start with step 4.
Beeswax spoon test: Lay out a piece of wax paper. Dip a spoon into your oil/beeswax mixture and lay on the wax paper. Give it a few minutes to cool and check the consistency. Add more beeswax and recheck as needed until you reach the desired consistency.
Note from my mom: I make mine a little thinner in the winter and a little thicker in the summer, to account for differences in storage & shipping temperatures.