This homemade healing calendula salve is great for bug bites, rashes, and dry skin. The perfect, gentle, healing salve.
Sharing a different kind of recipe today, and for something that isn't food! Instead, I'm bringing you a recipe I've been making all summer for herbal salves—and my favourite calendula salve.
Salves are the most approachable project for anyone interested in herbalism or natural beauty products, but if you're not familiar with them they can sound a little complex. Don't let the medical-sounding name put you off, herbal salves, especially calendula salve, is easy as pie.
Salves are semisolid ointments infused with traditional herbs that heal skin ailments from cuts to eczema. While many different methods to make salves exist, I thought I'd share my favourite method and recipe with you in preparation for the upcoming dry season.
- calendula oil made using this herbal oil method
- carnauba wax
- optional—lavender or chamomile essential oils, and a few extra dried calendula blossoms.
What is a Calendula Salve
Calendula salve is my favourite to make (along with lotion), and probably the most useful. Calendula is a ubiquitous plant that you'll find in everything from garden beds to tea shops, to a topping on trendy smoothie bowls or in bath products, but it is a potent herb full of many medicinal properties.
It's anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal and basically all-around super healing. It's often applied to small cuts, burns, and bug bites, but come autumn and winter, I love using it on my dry skin, elbows, and cracked hands or feet. This calendula slave is gentle, hydrating, and simple to make. Plus, it makes for a perfect gift.
Making a salve is a two-step process where you begin by first making an infused oil then set it with either beeswax or carnauba wax. While beeswax adds to the healing properties of the slave, it is not vegan, so if a plant-based product is important to you use a carnauba wax, derived from palms.
Besides using calendula flowers there are a variety of other herbs you can infuse the oil with. Just make sure that both the herbs you are using and the wax comes from a reputable source and is organic or pesticide-free. As for the olive oil, a run of the mill store-brand should work just fine.
Begin by making your infused oil. For a full tutorial on how to make your herbal oils, see this post. You can use this recipe to make any herbal salves.
Combine the oil and wax in a double boiler. Stir over low heat until the oil is melted. If desired add a few drops of essential oil.
Carefully pour the hot oil and wax mixture into clean and dry containers (make sure they are tempered and will not shatter or melt). I like metal tins, but you can reuse old jam jars, tea tins, etc.
Let the mixture partially set before topping with some petals (this is purely aesthetic) or leave plain. Once the wax is set the salve is ready to use
Tips + Notes
- calendula salves are good for cuts, acne, diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis, and bug bites
- this salve contains no preservatives, so for longer storage keep in the fridge
- always use clear fingers when applying salve as you don't want to introduce any bacteria that will cause mold
- you can either use beeswax or carnauba wax for this calendula salve. Using carnauba wax will make this salve vegan, while beeswax will add more healing properties
Other Homemade Body Products
- 1 Cup Calendula Oil
- 1 Ounce (28 g) Beeswax or Carnauba wax to be vegan (grated on a box grater if it's in a large chunk)
- Optional - Lavender or Chamomile Essential oils, and a few extra dried calendula blossoms.
- Combine both ingredients in a double boiler. Stir over low heat until the oil is melted. If desired add a few drops of essential oil.
- Carefully pour the hot oil and wax mixture into clean and dry containers (make sure they are tempered and will not shatter or melt). I like metal tins, but you can reuse old jam jars, tea tins, etc.
- Let the mixture partially set before topping with some petals (this is purely aesthetic) or leave plain. Once the wax is set the salve is ready to use.