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.
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
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