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Make your own herbal salve for pain relief

Tired of buying salves with all sorts of chemicals in them? Looking for something a bit more straightforward? Making your own salve is surprisingly easy and allows you to customize the ingredients to suit your needs. In this blog, we’ll show you how simple it is to create a herbal salve that can help alleviate pain and promote healing. Gather your ingredients and let’s get started on this empowering journey to natural pain relief!

Six Background Facts about Salves

  1. Salves have been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt.
  2. The word “salve” comes from the Latin “salvare,” which means to save or heal.
  3. Traditional salves are made by infusing herbs in oil and then combining with beeswax.
  4. Salves can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including, cuts, burns, rashes, and insect bites.
  5. Some salves contain medicinal herbs that have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pain-relieving properties.
  6. Salves are used on the body and should not be ingested unless specifically made for internal use.

Which herbs help with relieving pain?

The two herbs which help with a lot of different kinds of pain are ginger and turmeric. Mint, eucalyptus, lavender, Boswellia, bromelain, and devil’s claw are also helpful for a variety of ailments. However, ginger or turmeric will make a good all-purpose salve that you can use safely on children or adults.

Should you grow your own herbs?

Herbs are always great to have in the garden, making them available to you at any time. Many herbs are perennial, meaning they will grow back each year. Ginger and turmeric are roots, which are planted each year and then dug up. They take 5-9 months to grow, in a warm area, as they do not tolerate cold. Your growing zone may not support ginger or turmeric, but you may be able to grow mint or lavender. You can also purchase the herbs to use for your salve. A small amount goes a long way!

Easy recipe for a pain relief salve

To make a salve from ginger, you’ll need ginger root, a carrier oil, beeswax, and essential oils (optional). Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 1/2 cup grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, or almond oil)
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax pellets, or grater a chunk of beeswax
  • Optional: 10-15 drops of essential oils (such as lavender or peppermint or eucalyptus)


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the grated ginger root and carrier oil.
  2. Heat the mixture over low heat for about 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not let it boil.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a heatproof bowl, pressing on the ginger to extract as much oil as possible.
  4. Return the infused oil to the saucepan and add the beeswax pellets.
  5. Heat the mixture over low heat until the beeswax is melted and fully combined with the oil.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the essential oils, if using.
  7. Pour the salve into clean, dry containers and allow it to cool and solidify before using.

This ginger salve can be used topically to soothe sore muscles and joints, improve circulation, and provide relief from cold and flu symptoms.

Should you add essential oil?

The essential oils are not active pain relievers, but they help with relaxing the muscles, which makes it possible for the pain relievers to work more effectively. If you are making the salve for someone who is highly reactive, start with the fewest ingredients and then add an essential oil or two.

You can use this recipe with any of the pain-relieving herbs, such as turmeric, borage, devil’s claw, or willow bark, or just using essential oils. It is easy to see the benefits of a salve with eucalyptus to soothe chest congestion and sore throats, or a lavender salve to use for headaches

How long will the herbal salve keep?

Maximize the shelf life of your salve by storing it in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard in a cool room. Keep it away from heat sources, such as stoves, heat vents, or radiators. In general, the salve can last from 6 months to two years. If the salve starts to discolor or to smell “off,” then discard and make a fresh batch


Feeling more confident? Making your own pain relief salve is a rewarding process and can be personalized to your own needs and preferences. A homemade herbal salve can ease joint pain, treat minor cuts and scrapes, or soothe sore muscles. Gather up your supplies and follow these easy steps, and discover the healing power of nature in your own homemade herbal salves

Here’s to natural healing and your homemade salve!

~ Ruth

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