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Back to Basics: The Perfect DIY Salve Recipe for any Herbal Remedy

devon 7 Comments

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Ever wish you had a standby recipe for any herbal salve? Here is an excellent basic salve recipe to serve as a base to your creative herbal remedies!

Back to Basics: The Perfect DIY Salve Recipe for any Herbal Remedy

Devon 7 Comments

Ever wish you had a standby recipe for any herbal salve? Here is an excellent basic salve recipe to serve as a base to your creative herbal remedies!

This is a sponsored post. This means I received product and/or monetary compensation from the company or organization mentioned in this post. This helps to support my blogging efforts and my family. I only partner with brands that I value and respect, and all thoughts and opinions share herein are my own.

Just a basic salve recipe.

It was all that I wanted as a budding herbalist.  Just a basic salve recipe that would give me surefire results every time.  I wanted, I NEEDED a recipe that delivered consistent results.  A simple go-to, fool-proof basic salve recipe that allowed me to experiment with the different herbs to make unique salve creations.

My friends, I need this!  This basic salve recipe that I have brought to you in collaboration with my good friends at Mountain Rose Herbs!

At its most simple level, a salve is simply an oil solidified with a wax.  It is what oils that we chose and the ingredients that we add that assign each salve its therapeutic value.  Every oil has potential benefits and drawbacks to consider when making a salve, from shelf life and expense as well as its own properties and textures.  There is a nearly an unlimited number of herbs to choose from – each imparting their own unique benefits.  Essential oils also offer full-bodied fragrance and a myriad of aromatherapeutic actions.

Once you choose your oil(s), you will want to infuse that oil with one of the methods you can use to create the perfect herb infused oil.

basic salve recipe

Basic Salve Recipe Ingredients

Let’s take a closer look at my favorite ingredient choices for this basic salve recipe:

Carrier Oils
There are so many wonderful oils to choose from for the base of your salve.  I am fond of a 50/50 blend of olive oil and coconut oil.  They are both relatively affordable, shelf stable, and offer a nice spreadable slip when applied to the skin.  Other favorites include sesame, safflower, and sweet almond oils.

I highly recommend the use of natural beeswax pastilles.  They are so simple and easy to measure out (cause ain’t nobody got time to grate a giant bulk hunk of wax!) and have a sweet honey like fragrance that is really quite heavenly.  Beeswax has great solidifying action; depending on your desired texture, you can make a looser texture by using less wax or firmer by using more.  For my vegan readers, you might like to use carnauba wax!

basic salve recipe beeswax

There are simply so many botanicals to choose from.  You can infuse your chosen oils using one of the methods described this post.  My favorite herbs include calendula, yarrow, arnica, lavender, rose, and comfrey – just to name a few.  Oil infusions are a great way to enjoy the benefits of herbs.

Essential Oils
Anybody that has hung around this blog for a while know that I am a stickler for essential oil safety.  It is not recommended to have more than 4% of any preparation as essential oil.  I usually recommend 1-2% for salve needs because the herbs are already offering their goodness to the blend, however a ratio of dilution of 3-4% is still considered industry standard practice for products that are applied infrequently or to a small are of skin.  This recipe produces just over eight ounces of salve, meaning that the appropriate amount of essential oil for safe dilution ratios are as follows:

  • 0.5%: 24 drops (this is the dilution ratio that I recommend for small children ages 2-6 and pregnant women)
  • 1%: 48 drops (good for body lotions and a massage oils)
  • 2%: 96 drops (excellent for salves and products that are used frequently on large areas of skin)
  • 3%: 144 drops (appropriate for small areas only)
  • 4%: 192 drops (appropriate for small area only)

Some of my favorite essential oils are lavender, ginger, lemon, clary sage, and fir needle.

Basic Salve Making Supplies

Once you settle on the ingredients for your salve, you will need a few key tools to make your salve making experience a safe and productive.

Double Boiler Set Up
For years I used a pyrex glass bowl over my 2-quart saucepan for melt the beeswax into the oil. And I was often a party to some burned fingers compliments of the steam and hot glass.  Until this stainless steel double boiler showed up at my door.  Love at first site.  The first time making a salve with this baby was LIFE CHANGING.

Consider my glass bowl retired.  My new stainless steel double boiler is my main squeeze these days!

Glass and aluminum containers offer a safe and inert (non-reactive) container for salve.

Liquid Measuring Cup 
Glass measuring cups keep your measurements accurate and also serve as a great vessel to pour from into your container.

Flour Sack Clothes & Fine Mesh Sieve
I strain my infused oils through a couple layers of flour sack cloth nestled in a fine mesh sieve to ensure that I have a particulate from salve!

Silicone scraper or spatula
I find a few dedicated scraper or spatulas help me to get things mixed and keep waste to a minimum.

Basic Salve Recipe

Basic Salve Recipe

Yield: approximately four 2-ounce containers
Author: Devon


  • 1 cups base oil blend of your choice I like coconut oil and olive oil here
  • ½ cup dried herb(s) of your choice
  • 2-4 tablespoon beeswax pastilles
  • essential oil of your choice see dilution ratios in post


  • Using the one of the infusion methods described in this post, infuse your chosen herbs into the base oils.  After oil is adequately infused, strain through layers of flour sack cloth nestled in a fine mesh sieve, squeezing to extract all the oil.  Compost the spent herbs.
  • Pour infused to a double boiler, add beeswax and warm until completely melted (you may want to experiment with the consistency that you want by adding the lower about of wax and dropping some of the oil/beeswax mixture into a small ramekin, wait for the salve to cool and check the consistency’ add more beeswax if desired.
  • Remove oil/beeswax mixture from heat.  Add essential oils and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into individual 2-ounce containers (approximate 4) or other similarly sized jars. Allow to cool completely before putting a lid on the container.
  • Use within one year.

Pin this:
The Perfect Homemade Salve



Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

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  • Emily November 15, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks for the lesson. I just made my first salve with comfrey, calendula and plantain. It smells and looks divine!
    Do you think it matters if you heat the oils in an aluminum pot?

    • Devon November 16, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Emily! You are most welcome and your salve sounds excellent!
      To answer your question about aluminum. I think a lot of purists would say no — but I am a bit more of a “use what you have” type gal. I feel like was long as you are avoid acidic or corrosive ingredients (which there really aren’t any in this basic recipe) then your salve will be fine.

  • Emily December 14, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    I look forward to trying this recipe! Thank you for sharing. I’m curious if the base oil blend could be a mix of coconut oil and manuka honey? Say 3/4 c. coconut and 1/4 c. honey. Thoughts?

    • Devon December 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      It is definitely worth a try with a small batch. I would suggest using an immersion blender to get the honey emulsified into the oil.

      • Emily December 18, 2019 at 2:02 pm

        Good idea! Thanks, Devon!

  • Alina July 11, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Devon, thanks for the information, I think it’s wonderful to have a basic go-to recipe for salves. May I suggest that you proof read the post though? It has a high number of typos.. all the best to you!

  • carmen clow September 13, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    I would like to add some CBD oil …do you have any idea how many drops. It sure seems like a lot of essential oil 148 drops. 😳 seems like a lot. Am I understanding that correctly

  • Leave a Reply

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    About Me

    About Me

    Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

    I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More



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