Homemade Salves and Ointments
Salves and ointments have been used since ages for medicinal uses, as healing products and also in the arena of beauty. For thousands of years, salves and ointments have been highly regarded as a versatile healing tool.
When we talk about salves, we are referring to products that contain naturally grown organic herb as ingredients. These herbs are mixed with a natural base, usually olive oil, beeswax, shea butter and other emollients.
When you are looking for organic antiseptic salves or ointments for the healing properties look for the following ingredients:
• Tea Tree Oil: This has effective antibacterial and antifungal properties. There are a number of preparations containing tea tree oil like balms, lotions and ointments.
• Aloe: This is a wonderful remedy for burns. You can easily find organic salves containing Aloe Vera available in the form of gels, balms and ointments. These provide an instant cooling relief to the burned area.
• Lavender: Apart from the good smell lavender also has great healing and antiseptic properties.
• Calendula: This is a great herb that does wonders to soften the skin. It works well on bruises and abrasions and heals them fast.
Salves, Ointments and Balms are often confused with each other. What’s the difference? Among the herbal community, it seems that some view these terms as interchangeable while others distinguish between them. The big difference seems to be the consistency and aromatic qualities. In general the following is my take on them.
Balm– A balm is a mixture of herbal infused oils, some form of wax and essential oils. To explain the texture best, think of a preparation that is stiff enough to be used in a twist up dispenser like a lip balm tube or twist up deodorant stick. Balms tend to be more aromatic because the higher amount of essential oils used for their healing properties which releases soothing vapors upon application.
Salve – A mixture of herbal infused oils and wax but contain little or no essential oils. The consistency is one that could be used in a small container, like a tin, that the salve could be dipped into with a clean finger, a cotton swab or a small cosmetic paddle. The texture is easy to smooth over the injury without the pressure required to apply a balm. Also call unguents.
Ointment – A mixture of herbal infused oils, wax and possibly essential oils, the big difference (if there is one at all) between salves and ointments is the texture. I think of ointments as a softer, more loose, yet oily preparation that is best stored in a tube or jar with a screw on lid to prevent spills in warm weather.
They are pretty much interchangeable in their healing nature and preparation with the big difference being their texture based on how they’ll be used and ease of application. All of the above herbal preparations are for external application. Because our skin absorbs most oils quickly, the oil and it’s healing herbal ingredients are drawn into the body where they can begin to work while the wax and some of the oils form a protective layer on the skin’s surface.
These herbal remedies can be prepared using one herbal ingredient that may or may not be enhanced by the addition of the same essential oils. Or they can be prepared using a combination of herbs and essential oils for a specific or personalized application.