Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
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Herbal Healing Salve Recipe + DIY Instructions

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Make a herbal healing salve using homegrown calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect.

The thing I love about this recipe is that it’s a simple herbal salve that any gardener can make. Not only that, but there’s a satisfaction in using herbs from the garden to heal skin ailments caused by gardening! No matter how careful we are, there’s no escaping the occasional nettle rash, insect bite, bruise, sprain, or scrape. This handmade herbal healing salve will help cleanse and heal those mishaps and do it just as effectively as anything from the pharmacy.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
The finished salve is thick and golden and easily rubs into your skin

Making Herbal Healing Salve

Making this salve takes no time at all, once you have all of your ingredients prepared. The last time I made it took about thirty minutes from start to finish. That’s including cleaning up afterward.

The salve includes sweet almond oil for its lightness and skin conditioning properties. It also contains beeswax to firm it up but also to leave a protective layer on your skin. Together with the herbal extracts the finished salve soothes, heals, relieves pain and itching, and is basically an all-purpose skin ointment. It’s something for everyone but judging by my own bruises and bumps, gardeners can really benefit from it.

Before we get to the recipe let’s first have a look at the skincare herbs. Extracting their natural healing compounds is relatively easy but it’s something that needs to be done before moving on to the salve instructions.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
You’ll use three herb-infused oils in making gardeners healing salve

Using herbs from the garden

Just as in some food recipes, herbs need infusing into another liquid before they can be used in salves. In the case of this recipe, you begin by cold-infusing dried calendula, plantain, and comfrey in sweet almond oil. It’s a step that takes a few weeks but is one of the most wonderful parts of making this salve.

You begin by picking the flowers and leaves fresh from the garden, drying them, and then immersing them in sweet almond oil. Fill a jar 2/3 full of dried plant material and then cover it with oil. Leave in a warm place, but out of direct sunlight. Giving it a shake every now and again helps the infusion process too. At the end of 3-6 weeks, you strain it and have golden oils loaded with skin healing properties.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
Calendula flowers speed up wound healing — they’re also an edible flower

Calendula for skin

Many of us will already have calendula (Calendula officinalis) growing in the garden. It’s an edible flower with generally yellow to orange flowers. The more orange the flower is, the more skin-therapeutic the petals are for your skin though. If you’re growing from seed, choose a variety like Indian Prince or better yet, a medicinal cultivar like Resina or Erfurter Orangefarbige.

The natural plant chemicals in calendula cleanse the skin, reduce pain and inflammation, and speed up healing. In one study[1] calendula was shown to speed healing by nearly 50% within the first eight days of treatment. The way it works is that calendula contains natural plant chemicals including triterpenoids, which are anti-inflammatory, and saponins, micronutrients, flavonoids, and polysaccharides that aid in skin healing. On top of that, calendula also kills pathogens in skin wounds and stimulates the immune system[2]. Learn more about calendula and skincare.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
Both ribwort and broadleaf plantain are used to treat skin ailments

Plantain for skin

Plantain is likely already growing in your garden or nearby. I have some that self-seeded into a wilder part of my allotment and I’ve spotted it all over our site. Both ribwort (Plantago lanceolata) and common plantain (Plantago major) are considered weeds, but they’re weeds with superpowers.

As in the case with calendula, plantain has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and redness. It also soothes rashes, reduces itching, and eases the reaction of bites and stings[3]. It’s a healing plant that has been used in folk medicine since time immemorial. References to its use as a skin healer include Costard the clown calling out for plantain after injuring his skin in William Shakespeare’s Love Labour Lost. It’s also listed in the original herbal handbook, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, published in the 17th century[4]

Plantain…The same also with the juice of Houseleek is profitable against all inflammations and breakings out of the skin, and against burnings and scaldings by fire and water.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
Before making the salves, make cold oil-infusions with all three of the herbs

Comfrey for skin

Comfrey is a controversial herb. Many gardeners have it growing somewhere and it’s used to make nitrogen and potassium-rich plant food. However, it also has a long history of being used in herbal medicine, both internally and externally. Recent studies have shown that when taken internally, especially in high doses and/or long periods, it can cause liver damage. This has made some feel uncomfortable about using it.

Although you should avoid using comfrey root, rich in the pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are so troublesome, the leaf is safe to use on the skin. Not only that but it’s a powerful wound healer thanks to its allantoin, saponins, polysaccharides, and other natural plant chemicals[5]. It’s on par with calendula on that front but also has the ability to treat bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, and other musculature and tissue damage[6]. Here’s how to make comfrey oil for use in this recipe.

Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty

Herbal Healing Salve

lovelygreens
A therapeutic healing salve made with homemade extracts of calendula, plantain, and comfrey. Makes three tins that you can use to condition and heal the skin. Use on hands and body and apply as needed.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cooling time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings 3 100ml (3.38 oz) pots

Equipment

  • Two stainless steel pans, one being smaller than the other (or a double boiler)
  • Clean, dry, and sterilized containers. Can be tins or glass jars

Ingredients
  

Herbal Hand Salve Recipe

Instructions
 

Make the Infused oils

  • Begin making the three infused oils needed for this recipe at least four weeks before making the salve. If you're using homegrown, ensure that it was harvested in its peak, and is now fully dried out. If there's any moisture in the herbs, it can impact the shelf-life of your salve. You will need enough dried calendula flowers, plantain leaves, and comfrey leaves, to fill a pint jar two-thirds full.
  • Once your herbs are in the jars, pour sweet almond oil over them and to within a quarter-inch of the top. Seal the jars, shake them, and place them in a warm place out of direct sunlight. If you'd like to put them in a window sill, make sure they're in a paper bag to protect the oil from UV light.
  • Give the jars a shake daily, and after three to six weeks, strain the oil from the plant material using a cheesecloth. Discard the plant material and pour the oils into their own new, sterilized jars. The infused oil has a shelf-life of one year or the best-by date of the oil you used. Whichever is soonest. Store in a dim place at room temperature.

Make the Herbal Healing Salve

  • Fill the larger of your pans with water and bring to a boil.
  • Measure the beeswax in the smaller pan and float it inside the pan of boiling water. This evenly distributes the heat and is important since beeswax should never be melted over direct heat.
  • When the beeswax is melted, pour in the herb-infused oils. Stir with the spatula until the oils are just melted. Take the pan off the hot water and set it on a cloth or potholder.
  • Stir in the essential oil (optional) and pour into tins or containers and allow to cool*. It will take around four hours to come to room temperature. During this time, don't cover the containers as it can cause condensation on the inner part of the lid. Put lids on after the balms are completely cooled.
  • You can use the salve immediately. As for shelf-life, it can be up to one year or the closest best-by date of the ingredients you used. Check for these on the back of all your bottles and remember that fresh oil is always best when cooking or making beauty products.

Notes

* It's better to use a few smaller containers than one large jar. Why? Ease of use, reduction in dirt and potential contaminants over a period of time, and weird oil hardening. If you pour this entire batch in a large jar you'll probably find that it doesn't solidify with a smooth surface. There will likely be a big pit in the middle. It doesn't affect the product, but it doesn't look great either.
Keyword calendula recipe, comfrey, plantain, skin care recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
The salve firms up and cools after several hours

Using Gardeners Healing Salve

The herbs in this salve not only come from the garden but are good for healing gardener’s hands. Dry skin and nails, tiny cuts and scrapes, and softening rough patches and calluses. It’s completely oil-based so needs so preservatives and rubs in rather nicely. After a few minutes, your fingers won’t feel greasy but soft and conditioned. The rose geranium essential oil gives it a beautiful scent too.

Although all the herbs in this recipe are considered safe, you should speak with a physician if you have any concerns. Avoid applying the salve on deep cuts or wounds, instead smoothing it around the injured areas. It’s very light

Use gardeners healing salve as and when required. You can also gift your extra pots to friends if you can part with them. They’ll love how it works but also that it came handmade from you and your garden.

If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to check out these skincare recipes and to see more ideas for calendula and other herbs.

Herbal Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect. It's like a natural Neosporin #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine
Gardeners Healing Salve recipe using calendula, plantain, and comfrey. These herbs along with beeswax help to cleanse, nourish, heal, and protect #lovelygreens #herbalism #herbalmedicine #diybeauty
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Sources

[1] Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis. National Center for Biotechnology Information, Preethi KC, Kuttan R.
[2] Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review. Wound Research Journal, Matthew J Leach, August 2008
[3] Plantain’s full herbal properties described and cited on Wikipedia
[4]The Project Gutenberg e-book of The Complete Herbal, by Nicholas Culpeper, Release Date: July 24, 2015 [EBook #49513]
[5] Comfrey: A Clinical Overview, National Center for Biotechnology Information, Christiane Staiger
[6] COMFREY (Symphytum officinale): A healer of wounds, bruises and bones, Steph Zabel, August 2016, Cambridge Naturals

24 Comments

  1. Can I use grape seed oil or walnut spectrum oil? Are there any other wild growing plants you suggest? Thank you

    1. Hi Christina, and yes, you could use other oils and other herbs to make salves, but then it wouldn’t be this exact recipe. Every change in ingredient can change the final product :)

  2. Hi Tanya, I bet you have better things to do right now, with the big move coming up and everything, but I noticed a few of the links in these recipes don’t work. For example the emulsifying wax here, and in another recipe the beeswax link was not working. It’s not a huge deal but I was trying to use the links to see what the ingredients look like so I can find them locally.

    1. Thanks, Esther, but there’s no emulsifying wax in this recipe? I’d be so pleased if you would send me PM if you find any specific ones that aren’t working though? Thank you so much! 🙏

  3. I purchased some calendula oil recently, but I’m not sure how to use it or how much to use, for example, I wold like to use it in your salve recipe instead of making my own calendula oil. Any pointers? Thanks

    1. Calendula oil is simply a carrier oil that’s been infused with calendula flowers. Sometimes it’s sweet almond oil, but most often it’s sunflower. Use your ingredient in the same amount as the Calendula-infused sweet almond oil component in this recipe :)

  4. 5 stars
    10% beeswax makes for a lovely, light salve that is spreadable and moisturising. It is a wonderful idea to incorporate these healing herbs together to make a comforting balm. Pleaes note I am a beekeeper and plantain balm is the one product I have found that helps to take the sting out of bites and to reduce the swelling when applied externally.

  5. Thinking to make multi purpose balm/salve/butter and I was wondering if I should use this recipe or you body butter recipe? For instance a nappy are a m, fix bites, cuts, stings, boo boos etc.
    Would any be to greezy or melt/harden to easily? Thanks :)

  6. 5 stars
    If I’m making this salve for men, what essential oil can I use for them that won’t smell as ‘girly’ as rose geranium? I am not knowledgeable about the healing properties of various essential oils (if any), so I really have no idea what to choose that might be beneficial and at the same time not make the men in my life feel like they are wearing grandma’s perfume. Any suggestions?

    1. You can leave the fragrance out completely if you wish. Otherwise, ask the man what fragrance he likes and work out how much of that is safe for leave-on skincare products :)

  7. Have you tried to use less wax? it maybe your climate vs. hers if she is in a warm climate it may be softer. I would use less wax or no wax and a stronger butter like cocoa butter.

  8. Great post, but I am having trouble with the term salve. Your photo of the finished product appears to show a hard balm, yet the photo of the finished product on your finger looks like a salve. I have tried the 1:8 ratio and all I get is a hard balm…good slip, but I would have to scoop with my nail to get a chunk out. Is yours hard and if so, why is it called a ‘salve’ vs a balm. I just cannot seem to get the softer consistency even by increasing the oil. Would appreciate your help! Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi Lumen, salves are oil-based medicinal skincare whereas balms are mainly for conditioning the skin/lips. The consistency will vary based on the oils and oil ratio used. If you wanted to make your batch a little softer, use less beeswax.

  9. Hi, unfortunately I dont have any facility to grow anything, and even if I grow in pots it would take take a lot of space which I dont have, I’ve been looking at ordering everything in the dry version, will this be ok or are there some that need to be a fresh version of the plants?

  10. 5 stars
    Hello,
    I’m totally new at all this. Our land is extremely tough to grow flowers, hard Rock an clay & 360 degrees of boiling sun. Trees I’ve had were storm damaged or my cow ate them! So, I want to make this salve so where can I get these types flowers? We have 1 nursery in our town & whenever I ask for anything they look at me like I have 2 heads, literally! Any suggestions?

    1. A really great salve for joint pain is made from dandelion greens if you have those. You’d be surprised what u can find in your own yard.

    1. Sweet almond oil is my favourite for all skin types. You can use others though including grapeseed, cold-pressed sunflower, apricot kernel, or even olive oil. Olive oil has more of an odor than the others so be wary of using it unless you can handle smelling like it.

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