Making Herbal Salves and Lip Balm
December 13, 2011 by Maggie
It’s time for last minute homemade Christmas gifts – last year the herbal salves seemed to go over quite well, so I decided to follow-up this year with more of the same and also give lip balm a try.
- Salve making ingredients
This past year the calendula
produced beautifully and I was able to make over a quart of calendula infused oil. Other oils from the garden used in the salve are comfrey, plantain and thyme. All were infused using extra light olive oil. Any number of oils can be used depending on the desired results and one’s pocketbook. Avocado, jojoba, macadamia, coconut, almond and grape seed are all considered good skin oils. For the salve I used approximately 50% calendula oil and 50% a combination of equal parts comfrey, plantain and thyme oil, all of which are traditionally considered to have soothing, healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions. Beeswax was used to thicken the mixture and a few drops of lavender and tea tree essential oil for a pleasant scent and further healing qualities.
Double boiler setup
A double boiler works well to heat the oils and melt the beeswax. I find a few canning jar rings helpful in the bottom pan to hold the top pan level so water does not lap into the oil mixture. A chopstick is handy for stirring.
General proportions are 1 oz. oil to 1 tablespoon beeswax. The hardness / softness of the finished product can be easily controlled by adjusting the proportions.
Testing the thickness
To test the thickness of the salve I dipped a cooled knife in the heated oil and let it set up for a bit. For a harder product add more beeswax, for a softer add more oil.
Ready to fill containers
To pour the warm salve in containers I use a measuring cup with a spout. A steady hand is helpful! To add essential oils I’ve tried putting a drop or two of the essential oil in the bottom of the container before filling or adding it to the warm oil just before pouring.
Small tins for gift giving
The salve thickens as it cools. I like small containers for gift giving. I add a label to the side listing ingredients and glue a decorative paper to the lid top.
Home use supply
For use at home (we go through a lot, especially in the winter) I use larger, usually 4 oz., recycled jars.
- Lip balm tubes
For lip balm the proportion of beeswax is higher. For the lemon coconut lip balm I used coconut oil, sunflower oil, beeswax and lemon essential oil. For peppermint the ingredients were cocoa butter, almond oil, calendula infused oil, beeswax and peppermint essential oil. The recipes and lip balm tubes were from Mountain Rose Herbs. Since several of those on my Christmas list are self-declared commercial lip balm addicts I’ve very interested in their reaction and feedback on the herbal home-grown / homemade variety.