Salves, ointments, and balms, all these different options can leave one feeling confused when it comes time to pick a topical remedy to treat a skin disorder. Which one is the right choice for you? Relax, there is no reason to feel confused any longer, the truth is they are all the same thing.
Salves, or ointments as some prefer to call them, are topical remedies used to treat all manner of skin disorders from chapped lips, bug bites and cuts and scrapes to more serious issues like hives, rashes and eczema. And, because the skin is porous, salves can also be applied topically to treat internal issue like sore muscles and aching backs.
Homemade salve can have great healing powers! Semi-solid at room temperature, once applied to the skin, salves soften, making them less messy to apply than oils and they are easy to take with you when you’re on the go. They are really simple, effective, and useful medicines that are super easy to make and you can often find some of the ingredients growing in your yard.
Making salves at home is extremely empowering; they’re cost effective, they’re simple and fun to make and you can create a much better all-natural product that doesn’t contain petroleum or petroleum byproducts than commercial ointments sold in stores. Herbal salves are a great addition to your medicine cabinet and first aid kit plus they make wonderful gifts.
Are you wondering but how do I get the healing properties of the herb into my salves? Which herbs should I use in my salve? Which oil should I use when making a salve? Join herbalist, Donna Cirell for Lip Balms & Salves, the next workshop in her series on Crafting Your Own Herbal Beauty and Body Care Products and get the answer to these questions and any other questions you may have.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes for a moisturizing lip balm that tastes incredibly delicious! I mean really, who doesn’t like chocolate, right?
Mint Chocolate Lip Balm
*Yields approximately 10 standard lip balm tubes.
- 0.5 ounces Organic Sweet Almond Oil
- 0.5 ounces Organic Shea Butter
- 0.5 ounces Organic Cocoa Butter
- 0.5 ounces Organic Beeswax
- 1 tsp. Organic Vegetable Glycerin
- 1 tsp. Organic Powdered Sugar
- 2 tsp. Organic, fair-trade Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Vitamin E oil from 1 capsule (as a preservative)
- 2-3 drops Organic Peppermint Essential oil
- 1-2 drops of Organic Vanilla essential oil
1. Place a small plate in the freezer.
2. Using a small kitchen scale, measure out the Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, and Beeswax. Feel free to substitute Coconut or Olive Oil for the Sweet Almond oil if you want.
3. In a make shift double boiler (a pot of water & a glass Pyrex measuring cup)— put the first 4 ingredients in the measuring cup, place the measuring cup into the pot, carefully add enough water to the pot so your measuring cup is ¼ to ½ way submerged in water. Do not get water in your measuring cup. Carefully heat ingredients over very, very low heat until melted. You don’t want the water to boil or it may splash into your ingredients, a few small bubbles are okay, but don’t let the water come to a rolling boil.
4. Add the chocolate. Stir mixture until completely melted, well combined, and liquid.
5. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the burner to stay warm. Take about a ¼ teaspoon & put it on the cold plate, put the plate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 minutes until the lip balm becomes firm. This give you an idea of how firm your lip balm will be. If it’s too soft or too firm, you can adjust the consistency now by adding more oil or beeswax & reheat until melted. If your ingredients began to harden heat again until melted.
6. Remove from heat and whisk in vegetable glycerin, powdered sugar, and vanilla oil until mixture is smooth.
7. Pour into standard lip balm tubes.
8. Label and enjoy!
NOTE: Make sure you use a Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glass measuring cup meant to be heated or the measuring cup may crack and ruin your ingredients.
If you made this recipe, let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Let us know how it went on Facebook or Instagram, and don’t forget to join us Saturday, October 14th for Crafting Your Own Herbal Beauty & Body Care Products: Lip Balms & Salves!
Hope to see you there.