Since we are backyard bee keepers, we are blessed with richly scented, fresh, and beautiful beeswax! (I’m sorry, I’m not trying to make you jealous. It’s just that a girl’s gotta brag about her ‘girls’ from time to time. And by ‘girls,’ I mean the worker bees… get your mind out of the gutter)
With our first (successful) wax harvest, I began dreaming and scheming of ways to utilize my wax. It would be a shame to let it sit idle, but, at that time, I really had no idea what to do with beeswax…
Isn’t that the stuff candles are made of??? If you are familiar with my blog at all, I have already told you numerous times that I am not a candlestick maker–so that was out…
What I did do was buy myself a scale, (that I now have to share with Husband the soap-maker), and launched head first into the world of body care products. I started with a salve, that being the easiest for me, and I was hooked. For life.
Making salves is easy and very rewarding. The healing benefits of a given salve are endless, and the possible combinations of different herbs and oils in a salve are too numerous to list.
So. Why not?
The most important part of a salve, in my humble opinion, is the infused oil. Infusing herbs into oils is very easy to do, and I prefer the solar infusion, or cold infusion method. If you are pressed for time, you can also make a hot infusion which is also perfectly acceptable as well. I appreciate the solar infusion method more because not only is it simpler, but, you get to interact with the herbs more, whilst shaking the jar daily. I think the healing power is stronger, since more of the herbal properties have infused the oil for a longer amount of time. Call me dorky, but in using the solar method, I feel I have infused the herbs with love when shaking. I also talk to my herbs. I tell them thank you!
I have made a hot infusion plenty of times with great success. Annie’s Remedy writes a lovely post on this if you’d like more info on this method.
In a salve, there are infused oils, beeswax and/or body butters, and essential oils. The combinations you choose can make the salves serve different purposes. For example, an arnica-infused oil would make a great boo-boo salve for bumps and bruises. A plantain leaf-infused oil would make a great salve for itching. (I am working on this one right now for my sweet grandma’s mild eczema). I also make a salve with infused oils of lavender and calendula for my baby’s bottom. I make one for myself that smells just the way I like it, so when I use it on my hands quite often, I get added aromatherapy benefits also. I am planning a salve currently that includes raw honey that is great for burns and wounds. There truly is a salve for every occasion, and I intend to make them all
- 8 oz. oil (any combination)
- 1.5 oz. (grated) beeswax
- 0.5 oz. skin butter (such as cocoa, mango or shea) optional
- 15-30 drops essential oils, optional
- 10 capsules vitamin E oil 9 to extend shelf life) optional
*I weighed all ingredients on my kitchen scale*
In a small double boiler– I use a Pyrex glass bowl atop of a pan– heat all oils, beeswax and butter. (Hints: when selecting your tools, keep in mind beeswax is hard to clean, and this recipe can be stirred with wooden chopsticks. They work great!) Remove from heat and add essential oils and vitamin E if using. Pour into containers and let cool on the counter top to harden. (Hint: the hardness of the salve can easily be adjusted. Before pouring your recipe into containers, put a small amount of salve on a teaspoon and put in the freezer for one minute to harden. Remove and check firmness. For a softer salve, add more oils, for a harder salve add more beeswax).
Here is the recipe for one of my favorite baby-bottom salves:
- 2 oz. calendula-infused olive oil
- 2 oz. lavender-infused olive oil
- 1 oz. sweet almond oil
- 0.5 oz. castor oil
- 2.5 oz. coconut oil
- 0.5 oz. cocoa butter
- 1.5 oz grated beeswax*
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 20 drops lemongrass essential oil
*Note: If you are having trouble finding beeswax locally, Honey Locator is a great resource! Search by state to find local bee-keepers, honey and beeswax. Not all bee-keepers sell their wax, but this is a good place to look. Thank you for shopping local.
If you are new to salve-making, be sure to check out this post on how to infuse your oils. It is the easiest way to infuse.
Also, if you need to order some herbal supplies, Mountain Rose Herbs can fulfill all of your bulk oils, butters, and dried herbal wishes. They also carry a great line of packaging accessories if you are wondering what to store your salve in. Their 1 oz. tin makes a great gift!
Do you have a favorite salve recipe? Please share it in the comments below!
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