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I’m OBSESSED with DIY salve. In the summer, before I leave the house, you’ll find me sitting at the kitchen table lathering up my legs, arms, and face. I walk into the world looking fly and feeling like silk. It’s a ritual that even my kids have started to participate in, my son always trying to palm some salve when no one is looking (which is fine because it is non-toxic AND edible!).

And in the winter?

Salve prevents my skin from drying out, using it post shower to make sure it stays smooth and healthy. My husband will also use it for windburn after working outside in freeeezing cold temperatures on a difficult day (he’s such a trooper!).

Related: Homemade Vegan Cough Syrup

I used to buy oils to moisturize my skin, because I didn’t want to spend money on toxic mainstream lotions. Yet using oils didn’t do much either- they worked in the summer, but wouldn’t absorb well in the winter. It left my hands feeling very dry and uncomfortable.

Then I started making my own salves, opting for healing ingredients such as cocoa butter and herbs, and viola! Problem solved. It works wonders for your skin, is healthy, and SIMPLE to make. I’ve only done this a few times but once you do it, you’ll always be able to!

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Many people spend big money on beauty products that you can make right in your own kitchen, without a lot of prep. All you really need is a crock pot, and it does virtually all the work!

Cocoa Butter VS. Beeswax

Most salves I’ve seen use beeswax, but I really wanted to try making a salve without relying on that particular ingredient.

I bought cocoa butter after reading about some benefits online (thanks Google!). The unrefined, food grade cocoa butter is basically pure fat, but it is a great moisturizer and antioxidant. It also helps reduce stretch marks!

When I received it, I knew it would be a great substitute for beeswax because it was hard as a rock- I hoped that it would help balance the texture when mixed with the “easily melt-able” coconut oil…and it worked beautifully!

The only thing you should be aware about when saying no to beeswax is that you will be losing the preservative within the salve. I think if you keep your salve in a cool area, and use it in a reasonable time though, it should be fine!

A Note About Adding Herbs to Your Salve

For this particular salve, I used plantain and lavender right from my backyard. If you are foraging your own herbs (and you don’t plan on rinsing), make sure that you pick them on a dry afternoon, when it hasn’t rained in a couple of days. Wet herbs will have contained moisture, and that can be bad for your salve.

If you really want to rinse your herbs (totally understandable!), then make sure you dab them with a towel afterwards and let them sit out for a few hours (or overnight is best!), to make sure that they are dry and salve ready.

To learn more about plantain (so you can identify it in your backyard!), check out this post by clicking here.

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DIY Simple Vegan Healing Salve

I’ve read, seen, and talked to different people about various salve methods. There is not a one-size-fits-all way to make a salve, and that’s wonderful to know as a beginning herbalist. Below is my own method that I’ve pulled together from multiple sources. I hope you enjoy it!

And of course, it’s important to note that you don’t have to use plantains and lavender- feel free to switch it up with rose, calendula, holy basil, chamomile, or whatever else your pretty little heart desires!

Ingredients/Materials:

  • 14 oz. unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 2/3 C unrefined food grade cocoa butter
  • 1 C fresh herbs of choice (for this recipe I used approximately 2/3 C plantains and 1/3 C lavender)
  • Crock pot with low and medium setting
  • Thermometer
  • Jars- this recipe makes approx. 18 oz of salve. That’s one FULL pint jar (plus a little leftover). You can use a large jar or break it up into smaller jars for gifts.

Directions:

1. Add the coconut oil and cocoa butter to the crock pot. Turn on low, uncovered, and let them both melt completely before adding herbs. This shouldn’t take very long!

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2. Add your plant material (plantain and lavender, or other herbs of your choice!). You want to make sure that the herbs are completely covered with the oil by an inch.

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3. Turn crock pot up to medium and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 hours. You can use your thermometer to make sure you are keeping the heat between 100-140 degrees. If the temperature is getting to high, turn your crock pot back down to low (you don’t want crispy herbs!).

4. After 2-3 hours, when the liquid is a nice green (see pictured), you can turn off the crock pot and transfer your liquid (carefully!). You can strain through a colander, into your jar OR place your jar in a bowl and carefully pour salve straight from pot into jar, squeezing (cooled!) herbs out with your fingers, so you get every last drop!

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5. Let your jar cool at room temperature (see how lovely green it is!?). If it’s the summer, you’ll probably want to pop this is the refrigerator for a couple of hours so it can harden up. If it’s the winter, it may be so cold in your house that it does that anyway, or you can place it outside for a bit to cool it down and stiffen it up!

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6. After you get it to harden, let it sit back out for about 30 minutes. I know, I know, hot, cold, hot cold, but listen carefully- once you got that initial hardening, you’re good to go. I keep my salve in my bedroom, because it’s the coldest room in the house, and my salve stays soft but never turns to liquid. It’s always perfect and ready to use.

Congrats! You just completed your healing salve!

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Storage

Salves should be stored in a cool place, preferably 72 degrees so that it doesn’t go liquid again. If, for some reason, it does, just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes. That being said, don’t go all crazy with temperature shifts and your salve. I made the mistake of bringing my salve on vacation with me, causing it to spoil due to too many temperature changes. It definitely made me a sad panda! Keep your salve cool, and you will have nothing to worry about:) If you store this salve properly, it should last you 2-3 months.

DIY Simple Vegan Healing Salve
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Ingredients
  1. 14 oz. unrefined organic coconut oil
  2. 2/3 C unrefined food grade cocoa butter
  3. 1 C fresh herbs of choice (for this recipe I used approximately 2/3 C plantains and 1/3 C lavender)
  4. Crock pot with low and medium setting
  5. Thermometer
  6. Jars- this recipe makes approx. 18 oz of salve. That's one FULL pint jar (plus a little leftover). You can use a large jar or break it up into smaller jars for gifts.
Instructions
  1. Add the coconut oil and cocoa butter to the crock pot. Turn on low, uncovered, and let them both melt completely before adding herbs. This shouldn't take very long!
  2. Add your plant material (plantain and lavender, or other herbs of your choice!). You want to make sure that the herbs are completely covered with the oil by an inch.
  3. Turn crock pot up to medium and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 hours. You can use your thermometer to make sure you are keeping the heat between 100-140 degrees. If the temperature is getting to high, turn your crock pot back down to low (you don't want crispy herbs!).
  4. After 2-3 hours, when the liquid is a nice green (see pictured), you can turn off the crock pot and transfer your liquid (carefully!). You can strain through a colander, into your jar OR place your jar in a bowl and carefully pour salve straight from pot into jar, squeezing (cooled!) herbs out with your fingers, so you get every last drop!
  5. Let your jar cool at room temperature (see how lovely green it is!?). If it's the summer, you'll probably want to pop this is the refrigerator for a couple of hours so it can harden up. If it's the winter, it may be so cold in your house that it does that anyway, or you can place it outside for a bit to cool it down and stiffen it up!
  6. After you get it to harden, let it sit back out for about 30 minutes. I know, I know, hot, cold, hot cold, but listen carefully- once you got that initial hardening, you're good to go. I keep my salve in my bedroom, because it's the coldest room in the house, and my salve stays soft but never turns to liquid. It's always perfect and ready to use.
Notes
  1. Salves should be stored in a cool place, preferably 72 degrees so that it doesn't go liquid again. If, for some reason, it does, just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes. If you store this salve properly, it should last you 2-3 months.
Beautifully Bohemian https://www.beautifullybohemian.com/wordpress/

 Thank you for taking time for your health and happiness today! If you’ve made this recipe, I’d love to hear your results below!

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23 comments

Reply

Thank you for sharing your recipe! Great tips to use cocoa butter instead of beewax. This seems to be a useful salve I would love to try it. Pinned!

Reply

Thank you for pinning! Yes cocoa butter is a great alternative to beeswax:) I hope you get to try it soon!

Reply

Though I just began to follow your blog I find it very interesting and useful as a source of knowledge. Thought provoking posts mixed with posts about natural, green living and homeschooling. All these are the reason for my nomination of your blog to the Versatile Blogger Award. Feel free to visit my blog to read more about it. Have a great week 🙂

Reply

Awww, thanks so much Charlotte!! You are awesome!! I’ll go check it out now:)

Reply

I’ve been using coconut oil as my moisturizer. It’s great for my face, but doesn’t quite cut it for my hands. I’ll have to give your salve a try… Great to see a recipe not using beeswax! Thanks 🙂

Reply

Yes I can totally relate! The cocoa butter works really great on my hands, especially in the winter time. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Reply

Is the 14 oz of coconut oil measured by volume or weight? Also, if I wanted this to be a bit thicker/more balm like, I would just lower the coconut oil amount correct? Thanks for your help!

Reply

Hi Michelle, thanks for your questions! The coconut oil is measured by volume- for this recipe I just used one full jar of coconut oil (which is 14 fl oz). As for the consistency, I recommend following the recipe first, and then adjust your next batch if need be. More often than not, home remedies depends on many factors, including quality, temperature, etc., and so it’s hard for me to say without trying first. If you DO decide to lower the coconut oil for this first batch, I’d love to hear your results! Thanks so much and wishing you the best!

Reply

Oh and P.S. I’ve also updated the measurements of the fresh herbs to make it a little easier for those that want to swap out the plantains/lavender for their herb of choice.

Reply

Hi Randi. I use coconut oil regularly but cocoa butter gives me hives (so does eating chocolate boo hiss) I could add lavender though. Your posts inspire me to make some of my own. Thanks for the recipe.

Reply

Oh no! Sorry to hear that. Of course, the other option is beeswax, but I would only recommend that if you could buy locally from beekeepers who treat their bees well. Meanwhile, I’m going to have to research and see what another option would be:) Hope that helps!

Reply

I love the idea of using Plantain and of course loads of it grows here in Ireland – we used to use it if you got stung by nettles as a kid. I am totally going to make a pot of this Randi

Reply

That’s awesome Amber! You know strangely enough, I’ve read that nettles helps with nettle stings LOL.

Reply

This is just the easy to make natural, multipurpose healing salve I have to have in my natural medicine cabinet. Thank you so much for sharing this DIY Simple Vegan Healing Salve with us at the Plant-based Potluck Party. I’m pinning and sharing this.

Reply

Thanks Deborah! It’s wonderful to have in the wintertime when skin becomes dry easily.

Reply

I am just loving your blog. I have found several recipes that I am excited to try out.

Reply

Thank you so much Elise! I would love to hear your results if you try any of them out:)

Reply

Great article. Thanks, Randi. One \question, though. The ingredient list says to use fresh plant material while the directions say to use dried. Can you clarify? Thanks!

Reply

Oh my goodness Liz! Thanks for pointing that out- I just fixed it to avoid further confusion. To clarify, the recipe is for fresh plant material, not dried. However, if you would like to use dried, that’s fine, just make sure the herbs are covered by an inch of oil. I hope that helps! Sorry for the mix-up!

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