We did this with our campers at Buckman today, and it was a lot of fun. So I am posting the info from the handout I made for them to take home. Here ’tis!

Some of the many commonly available plants that are good to use in salve include:

Each of these plants has unique beneficial properties. Please consult a trained herbalist for advice if you are needing to address a specific health concern.

Begin by harvesting all herbs from a safe location away from heavy traffic or other sources of pollution. If you are not able to use them right away, lay the herbs out to dry in a cool place with good air circulation (for instance, in a wicker basket in the mudroom); once they are dry, store herbs for future use in paper bags in a dark, cool, dry place. You can also use the herbs immediately after harvest.

To make salve, you will need:

  • Your fresh and/or dried herbs
  • A crock pot
  • Olive oil
  • Strainer/sieve or cheesecloth
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Stovetop-safe pot
  • Beeswax
  • Small vials or jars with tight-fitting lids (baby food jars work really well)

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Place your herbs (fresh and/or dried) in a crock pot.
  2. Cover the herbs with olive oil, then add olive oil so that there is a one-inch layer above the herbs.
  3. Turn the crock pot on the lowest setting. Put it in a place that is out of the way but still can be checked on easily, making sure to leave the lid off so that any moisture in the herbs can escape.
  4. Turn the pot off when the herbs have lost their color and turned brittle; this indicates that the plant medicine has transferred from the plants to the oil.
  5. Pour the oil through a sieve/strainer or a piece of cheesecloth to remove the plant material from the oil. The oil can be strained into a glass measuring cup; you should take note of the total amount.
  6. Press the sieve or squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all of the oil, then compost the leftover plant material. Please be careful during this step: the oil is very warm.
  7. Pour the measured oil directly into a stovetop-safe pot.
  8. Place the pot with the oil in it on the stovetop, turning the heat on low.
  9. Add chopped beeswax to the oil in the pot. The correct proportion is 1 oz. beeswax for each cup of oil.
  10. Leave the oil and beeswax on the heat till the beeswax melts.
  11. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into vials/jars.
  12. Let the salve cool. If it hardens too much or too little, reheat and add more oil (if it is too hard) or beeswax (if it is too soft).