When you live your life outside gardening and adventuring, there are bound to be minor cuts and scrapes and a natural healing salve recipe can be a lifesaver.
My kids are a lot like me and fall down a lot, so I wanted to come up with a natural Neosporin alternative to use on their boo-boos that I feel good about.
I don’t feel good about petroleum-based products so Neosporin is out. That’s why I decided to go with a calendula and comfrey ointment for helping wounds close without infection.
Herb Use and Safety
Calendula has been used for centuries medicinally to treat skin irritation, burns, and sunburn. It has been used for wounds and infection. Calendula was used in the Civil war for wounds, measles, smallpox, and jaundice.
Calendula is generally considered safe topically and internally. Calendula has many culinary uses adding flavor and color to soups and salads. Some traditional medicine boasts calendula can help alleviate digestive issues.
There is some controversy about whether comfrey is safe to use. Studies show that a component of comfrey may cause liver damage. However, the studies that found this had isolated the component pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) rather than studying comfrey as a whole.
Because injecting this isolated component into rats created liver damage, researchers decided that comfrey must also cause liver damage, even though the amount they injected was much more than any human could use.
Also, they didn’t consider the fact that any substance, isolated from its natural state and used in high enough concentrations, can be dangerous.
There is no evidence that comfrey, used in its whole state, in the amounts that humans use, causes any ill effects.
I also consulted with an herbalist friend who told me that comfrey and calendula were safe for everyone when used properly, meaning not drinking cups and cups of tea plus slathering your body in ointment every day.
For this reason, I choose to use comfrey, judiciously. Consult your healthcare provider about whether you should use comfrey or any other herb.
DIY Natural Healing Salve Recipe
This healing salve is very simple to throw together:
- Add herb-infused oil (you can find out how to make this here), coconut oil, and beeswax to a double boiler and heat until melted.
- Add essential oils and then pour into containers to cool.
Herbal Healing Salve
An herbal healing salve recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups calendula and comfrey oil (the amount in the recipe above)
- 4 tsp beeswax pastilles
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 20-30 drops of quality essential oils
- Heat herbal oil, beeswax, and coconut oil over low heat until melted.
- Check the consistency by sticking a popsicle stick, skewer or spoon into the ointment and letting it cool. If it's too soft add more beeswax, too hard add more olive oil.
- Add optional essential oils (I like lavender) and stir.
- Add to any container you like and let cool.
How to Use Natural Healing Salve: Calendula and Comfrey Healing Ointment
Dab a little on burns, bruises, cuts, bug bites, scrapes, diaper rash, etc. Don’t go crazy, a little goes a long way! I have been known to use this on my hands when they get chapped in the winter too. It’s very soothing!
This healing salve/ointment is fantastic for helping with all kinds of skin issues.
How to Store Natural Healing Salve
I often store my herbal creations in mason jars out of convenience. I have stored this salve in mason jars (and kept it out of direct sunlight( with success. However, if an herbal creation contains essential oil or other light-sensitive ingredients, it’s best to store them in colored glass or another opaque container.
My favorite containers for salves are metal tins. Metal tins are lightweight, opaque, and durable. My favorite brand is SKS Bottle & Packaging.
I was introduced to SKS containers many years ago when I first started making herbal remedies. Since then I have tried many other brands but none have compared to the quality of SKS Bottle & Packaging containers.
So, if you are looking for a company that creates a variety of high-quality glass and metal containers (they have plastic too) I highly recommend SKS.
What do you use for scrapes and cuts?
Is this recipe the same if you use fresh or dry herbs to make the oil?
If you have fresh herbs you’ll need to wilt them for 12 hours or so before using. The moisture from fresh herbs can make the oil go rancid.
The recipe says 1½ cups of the herb infused olive oil. Does this mean you strain out the herbs or you only use 1½ cups of the mixture?
Strain out the herbs :)
Debbie Wilson says
Hi, just joining in. You have a great blog.
My go-to for pretty much anything is a salve made from plantain and violet leaf.
I just pack a quart jar about half full of leaves that I left out overnight to wilt and then cover them with olive oil. It sits for about a month then I make it into salve with beeswax like you do. Seems there’s a pain relieving quality in there somewhere also.
A few years ago my brother was stung multiple times on one hand by yellow jackets. He was on FIRE. Used the plantain salve and in just minutes the fire went out, now he checks with me every year to make sure I made more. ;)
I’ve never tried violet leaf. I’ll have to look into that, thanks!
Julia Ferguson says
How much plantain do you use ?
Regarding the comfrey, do you use the root or the leaf?
I use leaves for this.
Should this recipe be measured in weight and with the formula equalling 100% to make it more accurate.
With the essential oils it shouldn’t be done by drops, it should be the IFRA recommendation usage from the supplier to make sure it’s skin safe, generally it would be upto 1%
That is how I calculate how many drops to add to a recipe. I usually do 1-2% for these recipes. I can’t remember exactly what it was when I calculated it but I based it on safety information I had available. If you feel more comfortable using weight measurement, feel free :)
I just found your blog etc. I am a true novice. My only experience was making Arnica oil as a topical anti-Inflamatory….I’m hooked. I will try this one as well. But my question is, how do you know what part of the plants to use? The books I have reviewed tell you what herb is good for this or that but never how to use it. Any suggestions?