Homemade Salves for Every Household

Make multipurpose salves for everything from skin ailments to home first aid.

| July/August 2016

One of the most beneficial and healthful additions I’ve ever made to my home medicine cabinet was integrating homemade herbal salves into my natural remedies kit. I’ve used them to replace all sorts of pharmaceuticals: Neosporin; anti-itch, antifungal and muscle-relaxant creams; conventional lotions; even in lieu of certain medications. As I began to use these effective remedies more, I started recommending them to friends—and getting peculiar looks in return. I quickly discovered that many people don’t know what salves are, let alone about their healing properties and uses for many common ailments.

Simple Salves

So, what is a salve? As a general term, a salve is an ointment used for the nourishment, protection and healing of our skin and bodies. I believe in making health and healing as accessible and easy as possible, and my salve recipes are no different. My basic salve requires only three ingredients, so no home ever need be without a healing salve for almost any minor injury.

I included vitamin E and rosemary antioxidant (extract) in my simple salve recipe. Both make good preservatives but are not usually necessary—even without them salves last a year before going rancid as long as no water is introduced to them. If you do add these ingredients, however, they can prolong the lifespan of your salves to as much as two years. Both ingredients should be added after the salve has been removed from heat, as high temperatures will deteriorate or negate their preserving properties. Always do a consistency test before adding either of these ingredients.

You can also use essential oils in this last step. Lavender is a popular one to add for its scent, and it also provides extra preservative properties.

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