June 9

10 comments

Making an herbal calendula salve

Making a simple salve or balm is a simple process with many many variations and possibilities!

The basic process goes back thousands of years. Our forbears were adept in thickening oil, probably olive oil with wax which would have been beeswax.

Why?

Oils thickened and cooled in this way are stable and will not wick out of containers causing loss and mess.

A very simple basic formula is: one ounce of beeswax melted together with eight ounces of oil.

Pour the melted combination into jars and voila! You’ve got salve.

And then there are the possibilities!

I personally don’t like oil and wax only as it has a thin and flinty feel so I always add a plant butter like shea, mango or cocoa butter to my salve formulas.

And then the oils!

There are so many to experiment with to make any number of combinations. You can play with different liquid oils and botanical infusions.

Exotic raspberry or hibiscus seed oils, therapeutic hemp or black seed oils. It’s hard to know where to start.

So to entice you into the wonderful world of salve making here is a recipe that I used to make when I had an herbal products business.

You’ll note that this is a variation on our basic 1/8 ration of wax to oil. But that is the beauty of the lipid raw materials, so many variations and options!

Below is a recipe taken from my old notes and it made eleven one ounce jars.

Calendula Salve Recipe

1.3 oz beeswax
1 oz Shea butter
8 oz Calendula infused oil
1/2 oz Tamanu oil
1/2 oz Rose hip seed oil
6 drops Calendula CO2 total
1/2 oz Vitamin E

[Free] Calendula Salve Recipe Card

Download a PDF of the calendula salve recipe & making notes

Notes and Ideas

You can replace the beeswax with a plant based wax to make a vegan salve.

However because of the different melt points, and the plant waxes being harder the final result will have its own characteristics.

Scent, color, all the different carrier oils and saturated plant butters, and infused oil possibilities make for nearly limitless opportunities in formulating.

What recipes are you working on? leave a question or a comment below


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About the author 

Susan Parker

I'm Susan M Parker, author, teacher and researcher. My life is steeped in the lipid oils, carrier oils, plant butters. Since publishing my book Power of the Seed in 2014 I have been teaching and sharing my work with the botanical and lipid oils with students from around the world.

    • Kathy, balms or, salves are used for dry skin and can be helpful to treat minor cuts and abrasions of the skin. Once cooled take a small amount and rub it into the skin in the area you want to help.

  • Thank you, I have some lovely calendula infused in coconut oil. Would baobab oil be a good exchange for tamanu oil?

    • Rachael, I think baobab would work well in the place of the tamanu. They will give different results but still produce a nice balm.

  • Thank you, I will give this a try when I can find the herb. They’re not so easy to find in saint lawrence county, new york

  • Thanks, Susan for sharing that recipe. Although I’ve been studying your courses along with herbalism and skin care, I’ve yet to infuse my own oils.

    This is a good starting point for me to explore!

  • Thank you so much for this! We have been infusing our own homegrown calendula flowers in organic unrefined argan oil and are wanting to make our own salve. We already make a CBD salve using organic shea butter, org. beeswax, CBD infused org. refined coconut oil and organic lavender EO which people find very beneficial. Excited to use your recipe here!

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