How to Make First Aid Salve at Home from Common Plants & Oils

From personal experience, DIY first aid ointments made at home from common plants and oils can be even more effective and safer to use than store-bought brands. And you can make them yourself, in large quanitites, for a fraction of the cost of the same amount of Neosporin or cortisone cream.

For this batch I used a wide variety of highly potent medicinal plants, all collected literally within feet of my back yard. Different combinations of plants and oils would make equally-potent salve. Works for all manner of cuts, scrapes, lacerations, gashes, rashes, bug bites, boils, bruises, abscesses, minor (non-peeling) sunburns, and irritations. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. Other than the plants, you can easily find all the ingredients in stores and online, and can even make effective salves without using the plants at all. To use, spread it on a dressing before applying, and voila. medicinal-plants

(Sidebar: Make your own ultra-medicinal mushroom bandages with Birch Bracket polypore mushrooms.)

My first step to create the DIY first aid salve was collecting white clover flowers along with the leaves of False Strawberry, Common Plantain, Narrow-leaf Plantain, Ground Ivy, Chickweed, and a very small bit of Wood Sorrel. Then I put out my jars of essential oils: lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and tea tree. Finally, I shaved some beeswax off a block of it that I keep in the basement.coconut-oil-salve

I washed the plants, and crushed them slightly with a mortar and pestle. Not too much, just enough to break some those plant membranes and make the goodness within more accessible.

Next, I melted the coconut oil, combined it with the pot-full of plants, and simmered thwild-plant-salvee essential-oils-recipe“soup” on the lowest heat setting for around an hour and a half.

After straining the green liquid into a container, I got rid of the greens and returned the liquid to the pot, then  melted in the beeswax. Once the beeswax was melted, I stirred in 30-40 drops of each essential oil, and vitamin E olive oil into the pot and funneled the mixture into containers and refrigerated to harden. I used enough oil and plants to make over a quart of super-strong salve. It will last a long time in the fridge! diy-antibacterial-ointment

I have a similar salve I’m using that’s over a year old and going strong. A friend of mine used a formulation that only contained essential oils, without the plants, on an irritated, crusting patch of skin on her dog. Despite the vet’s recommendation not to use the homemade salve, it cleared up the pet’s problem in about a week. I consider it a testament to the salve’s power.

The requisite addendum and disclaimer, which will be included for each plant and mushroom in the series: I am not a trained expert, merely a passionate self-taught hobbyist. You could have allergies to any food you’ve never eaten before, so use caution and start with small amounts even when you believe you’ve made a positive identification. Never let eagerness for any plant or mushroom to be the right one to cause you to overlook differences. Poisonous lookalikes are a potential hazard with some wild edible plants and many mushrooms. Unless necessary to survive, don’t forage within 100 feet of roads, busy lots, in other people’s yards, or in parks where pesticides or other landscaping chemicals might be used. Some plants also accumulate nitrites and other harmful chemicals from farming and nearby development. The ideal way to learn foraging is to go in-person with a trained expert. Plants’ appearances change in each season, and mushrooms at different growth stages, so observe a full growth cycle to become familiar with the appearance at each stage before harvesting. For resources, I suggest the books and websites of “The Wildman” Steve Brill, the NYC and Westchester County area’s resident foraging guru, the work of naturalist Samuel Thayer.
By visiting this page and/or using the information contained herein, you acknowledge that safe foraging is solely your own responsibility. You agree that neither myself,, or any writer, investor, advertiser, or other associate of this site can or will be held responsible or liable for any problems arising directly or indirectly from your use of the content, ideas, or advice described.

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