I made 3 different salves to give as Christmas presents last year. I already posted about the Sore Muscle Comfrey Salve and the Itch Away Plantain Salve. Today I will show you how I am made a Winter Healing Salve.
I frequently have dry cracked hands in the winter and regular lotion doesn’t do anything to relieve it. I found that the only thing that helped was to rub some home-rendered tallow on my hands. However, even with a little bit of added lemongrass essential oil, my tallow lotion didn’t smell that awesome. So, I wanted to create a salve with the nourishing properties of my beloved tallow, along with the healing properties of calendula (you can read more about this herb in my post about making calendula soap), and some nice essential oils to make it smell good.
This salve is a potent remedy for dry cracked skin, and other skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema and wounds that are slow to heal.
I started by making a tallow infused calendula. I ground up dried calendula blossoms and poured in enough rendered tallow to cover. Then I baked it in a 175 degree oven for 2.5 hours.
Once the tallow was cool enough to touch, I lined a pan with a flour sack towel and squeezed out the oil.
One of these days I need to get a press for pressing tinctures and infused oils. It is a lot of work!
Because tallow is solid at room temperature, I had to add in some olive oil so the finished salve would spread nicely on the skin.
I started off with 1 tablespoon of infused olive oil to 1 oz of tallow. But quickly realized that the newest batch of tallow that I rendered was a lot firmer than my first batch of tallow. So, I kept adding my infused olive oils until the consistency was right. I tested by putting some of the mixture on a spoon and setting it in the freezer for 30 seconds until it set up. I had to test it about 10 times, adding oil each time until I got the consistency I wanted. I ended up using 1/2 tallow and 1/2 olive oil to get it right.
Unfortunately, this means I can’t give you a tried and true ratio of oil and tallow to get a good consistency. If you are trying this for yourself, start with your melted tallow and a little bit of oil and test as you go until you get a consistency you are happy with. The nice thing is that the tallow was thick enough to keep the salve solid without having to add any beeswax. So once you get the consistency you want, the rest is really easy!
Then it was time to prep my jars by adding the essential oils before I poured in my melted tallow/oil mixture.
I used essential oils of geranium, lavender, tea tree and clary sage in all the jars. They each have properties that are beneficial for skin healing. Then I switched up the last one, and to some jars I added rosemary essential oil and for other jars I added lemongrass essential oil.
I read somewhere that it is best to let the jars of salve set up in the fridge when mixing tallow and a liquid oil together. So that is what I did. I let them harden in the fridge with the lids off so there wouldn’t be any condensation on the top of the lid as the jars were cooling.
Once they were hardened I took them out of the fridge, I put on the lids, printed out labels and taped them on.
Here is what the label said:
Winter Healing Salve
For dry cracked skin, irritated skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema and slow to heal wounds.
Ingredients: Calendula infused tallow, comfrey infused olive oil, plantain infused olive oil, and essential oils of geranium, lavender, tea tree, clary sage, and rosemary
I gave most of the jars away, but I kept one for myself. I love how it feels when I rub it on my skin. It goes on thick, but soaks into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling. It also smells amazing and works great! A few weeks ago I had a long day in the kitchen, which meant many sinks full of dishes that had to be washed. My hands were so dry they started cracking and bleeding. I put on one coat of salve which immediately softened my cracked skin and another coat before I went to bed. I woke up the next day and my hands were good as new.
I have also enjoyed sharing the salve with classmates and some random people I sat next to during a conference a few weeks ago. I put some on my hands and when other people started asking about it I passed it around the room and everyone loved it!
I know the instructions on this one were a little open-ended. So here is a quick overview of everything we talked about.
Step 1: Figure out what oils and plants you want to use. I am partial to calendula, comfrey and plantain these days. To me they are the trifecta of skin herbs :). To infuse your oils you grind up your dried plant material, put it in an oven proof dish and pour in enough oil to cover. Then bake in a 175 degree oven for 2.5 hours. Then strain out the oil from the herbs and compost the herbs.
Step 2: If you are using a harder oil like tallow or coconut oil that is solid at room temperature, melt your infused oil in a pan and add some liquid oil so your salve is spreadable at room temperature. Test the consistency by putting some on a spoon and put it the freezer for 30 seconds, then test it on your skin. If the consistency is too soft, add more hard oil, and vice versa until you get the consistency you want.
Step 3: Prep your jar by adding essential oils. 10 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz of infused oil.
Step 4: Pour infused oil mixture into jars and mix together with a popsicle stick, chopstick or toothpick. Place jars in the fridge to solidify.
Step 5: Label and enjoy how soft it makes your skin feel!