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Easy-To-Make DIY Salve Recipes

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Double Boiler
  • Strainer
  • Stirring Device
  • Salve containers or Small Jar
  • Scale
  • Small bowl for measuring oils
  • Oil thermometer

A Helpful Tip

  • If you find that your salve is too hard, just reheat and add a bit more oil. If it is too soft, reheat and add more wax. It is very forgiving. You can play with the proportions to find the consistency you like. Just make sure you write down the added wax or oil so you know what you liked for next time.
DIY herbal salves

Harmful Ingredients used in Muscle Creams

Methyl Salicylate. Methyl Salicylate is a chemical relative of aspirin but much more toxic and is dangerous to consume orally. If enough of it is absorbed through the skin, then it is possible to reach toxic levels. There has been one report, back in 2007, of a 17-year-old girl named Arielle Newman dying from an accidental overdose because her body had absorbed a toxic level of methyl salicylate. 

The chemical enters the bloodstream through the skin and both heat and exercise (which increase the blood circulation) increase the absorption of methyl salicylate. Signs of overdose from methyl salicylate are tinnitus (ringing in the ears), rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea, dizziness and convulsions – and, if not immediately treated can lead to heart failure, respiratory arrest, and death.

Camphor. Doctors at the American Academy of Family Physicians report that camphor has no redeeming medical value. It is often included because of its ability to overwhelm the nerves of the skin so that they cannot properly send pain signals for some period of time. This action of overwhelming the nerves produces the familiar tingly icy-hot feeling that masks pain.

Products containing high percentages of camphor need to be used with caution and care. Excessive amounts of camphor rubbed on the chest can cause seizures and in pregnant women, the poisons in the oil of camphor can transfer through the placenta to the fetus, causing birth defects and stillborn births. Additionally, it is exceptionally dangerous for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease because it interferes with the medicine used in Parkinson and increases the toxicity level.

Petroleum. Many topical creams and lotions contain petroleum. Petroleum-based ingredients can have negative side effects and have been found in breast tumors and aggravated acne. Also, Petroleum jelly and oils are designed so that they remain on the surface of the skin and cannot penetrate very deeply (if at all) into the subcutaneous tissue. So, unless your injury is limited to the surface area of the skin, petroleum-based formulas cannot make contact with the injured cells.

Herbal Infused Oils

An optional step to salve making is to infuse your base oils with herbs, and you can do this two ways.

The first and quicker method is to slowly heat dried herbs and base oil together. Very similar to making tea, except you are replacing water with oil. Be careful not to apply too much heat because you don’t want to destroy the beneficial properties of either the oil or herbs.

The slower method is to store the dried herbs and base oils in an amber colored mason jar and place it under adequate sunlight for 3-6 weeks. The benefit to this method is that you nullify the risk of burning your materials.

In either case, you should use enough oil to fully submerge any herbs. And the amount of oil you use will determine the amount of beeswax or butter (shea, cocoa, etc) you will need to get the consistency you want.

Using dried herbs is important. Any quantity of water left in the plant material becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria to grow.

It’s very handy to have some knowledge on herbs used for treating wound. Almost every day a child will manage to get him or herself hurt while playing, thus having these quick easy remedies available would eliminate the need to run to a medical facility often.

The aloe herb contains compounds that can reduce inflammation, swelling, and redness of wounds. This herb should be applied directly to the wound after a simple cleaning exercise is done to rid the wound of any unwanted particles. The naturally secreted gel works wonders for superficial wounds.

Calendula is another herb that can successfully treat wounds. The flavonoids and antioxidants it contains helps to speed up the healing process by increasing the blood flow to the wound. This ingredient can be applied topically and is also a popular ingredient in creams and ointments.

Slippery elm, a tree native to North America, can also be used to treat wounds but should be applied around the wound and not directly into an open wound.

Other more familiar herbs used to treat wounds are lavender which not only helps the healing process but also acts as a germ-killing agent. Tea tree oil also disinfects while healing wounds. This particular herb works at quite a fast pace in the healing process. Echinacea, Marigold, and Myrrh are also good healing agents for wounds. All these can be applied to the wounds by simply adding them into your salve.

Rosemary Neem Foot Salve


  • 4oz Lanolin
  • 1oz Raw Beeswax
  • 1 ½ oz Olive Oil infused with calendula flowers, plantain leaves & comfrey leaves
  • ½ oz Shea Butter
  • ¼ oz Cocoa Butter
  • ½ tsp Neem Oil
  • ¼ tsp Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • 1g Vitamin E Oil
  • 1g Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1g Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 1g Fir Essential Oil
  • 1g Tea Tree Oil
  • 1g Rosemary Extract


  1. Begin by making your herb infused olive oil. You can do this by following the explanation earlier mentioned. Once you’ve infused the olive oil, strain the oil through cheesecloth or strainer into a suitable mason jar.
  2. After you have your infused oil you are ready to make your foot salve.
  3. Start by weighing out the beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and lanolin using a digital scale and placing them into a double boiler to melt. Remove them from the heat when done.
  4. Measure out the neem oil and sea buckthorn oil and add to the salve base.
  5. While you wait for the mix to cool, use a small bowl to weigh out the essential oils. Add the oils to the salve base only after it has dropped below the essential oil’s flash point. Mix well, then pour into glass salve jars or tins and allow to cool completely.

The leftover herbal infused olive oil can be substituted for any of the carrier oils in other recipes like soapmaking.

Burn Salve


  • 4 tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1 tbsp Jojoba Oil
  • 1 tbsp Aloe Vera 
  • 1oz Beeswax


  1. Melt your beeswax in a double boiler (this can easily be done by placing a ceramic bowl in hot water).
  2. After melted, mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir well, then pour into a small container or salve tin.

Warming Salve For Sore Muscles


  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1oz Beeswax
  • ¼ tsp Ground Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Clove Oil


  1. Melt your beeswax in a double boiler. You can accomplish this by filling a small saucepan with water and use a clean, empty can for this step. Measure and add the coconut and olive oil to the bowl, along with the ground pepper and ginger. Bring the water to a simmer, and then let the mixture warm in the hot water for 20 minutes.
  2. After the base mixture cools below the essential oil’s flash point, add the peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, then pour into a small container or salve tin.

A Little Bit Warmer, Sore Muscle Salve


  • 1 cup Grapeseed Oil
  • 3 tbsp Ground Cayenne
  • 1oz Beeswax
  • 2 tbsp Turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Ground Ginger


  1. Melt your beeswax in a double boiler.
  2. When melted, add in all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Warm over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Let cool for a bit and pour into a small container or salve tin.

Super-Strength Sore Muscle Salve


  • 1oz Beeswax
  • 4 tbsp Habanero Powder
  • 2 tbsp Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup Jojoba Oil


  1. Melt your beeswax in a double boiler.
  2. When melted, mix in the remaining ingredients and let heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Let cool for a bit and pour into a small container or salve tin.

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