Organic Salves

Learn about salves made with organic ingredients

Organic salves provide antiseptic, antibacterial and skin soothing properties. Organic salves may be found at health food stores nationwide or online. Organic remedies should include mostly organic ingredients, although some may include a few that aren't completely organic.

Why Use Organic Preparations?

The term organic is a relatively new term. It refers to plants grown without the use of harsh chemical pesticides, insecticides, or fertilizers. Farmers growing organic herbs harness the power of nature through companion planting to ward off insects, natural insecticides such as neem or tea tree oil, and other natural methods to keep plants healthy.

Many people who embrace herbal and alternative medicine also seek organic products. Because they believe that chemicals, even when used topically on plant leaves, may harm their bodies, they seek organic products whenever possible to minimize chemical exposure.

Herbal Organic Salves

Salves have been used for centuries as both medicinal, healing compounds and for beauty purposes. An organic salve, ointment or balm consists of one or more organically grown herbs mixed into a base. The base may contain beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, or other emollient ingredients.

Skin Salves

Skin salves, sometimes known as body butters, are designed to heal dry skin, whether it is due to generally dryness or problems such as diaper rash and eczema.

  • Lost River Naturals has a variety of organic skin salves, including generic healing salve, diaper rash salve, nipple salve for breastfeeding mothers and hemorrhoid salve.
  • Joshua Tree Climbing Salve is a salve made for active people. It's useful for rubbing on cuts and is like an organic Neosporin.

Black Salves

Black salves are one of the most famous organic salves available. Black salves are called "escharotics" because they burn away cysts, moles and skin tags. Many are very strong and should only be attempted under the guidance of a skilled herbalist, naturopath or another medical professional. The herb bloodroot is often used in a black salve preparation. Organic black salves are available from many manufacturers and are sold under the names Black Salve, Bloodroot Paste, or Escharotic Salve.

Antiseptic Salves

Many salves are great additions to herbal first aid kits. These salves can be used on burns, cuts, scrapes and abrasions to prevent infection and speed healing.

Look for organic salves containing the following herbal ingredients:

  • Lavender: Not only does lavender smell wonderful, it has antiseptic qualities, too.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil provides powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's one of the best-studied herbs thanks to the Australians who treasure this tree. Many skin preparations containing organic tea tree oil are available as salves, balms, or lotions.
  • Calendula: Calendula, or pot marigold, works wonders to soften skin. It speeds healing and is great on cuts and burns.
  • Aloe: Another wonderful herb for burns, aloe vera balms, gels and ointments provide cooling relief.

Other herbs are frequently included in antiseptic salves, such as Echinacea and sage. Echinacea is an immune-system boosting herb that is usually taken as a tincture or capsule. Most of the research conducted on Echinacea has been on the use of this herb as an internal, medicinal remedy, but it is likely safe to use in balms and salves.

Drawing Salves

A favorite for anyone who likes to use natural remedies, drawing salves, also called black drawing salves (and sometimes mistakenly called black salves, which refer to an escharotic salve), are made with ichthammol, a coal-tar derivative. While not technically an herb, drawing salves are an effective natural remedy. If other herbs are mixed into the salve, you may find an organic drawing salve available.

Sinus and Cold Salves

Herbalists often use salves to open the sinuses. Strongly scented herbs and aromatherapy can help clear blocked nasal passages whenever you have a cold, flu or allergies. These salves are rubbed under the nose so that the scent is inhaled every time you breath. While various menthol or eucalyptus salves are common, you can also find lavender, grape seed oil, peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary essential oils mixed into such a salve.

Using Salves

Adults can use almost all salves, with the exception of black salves or escharotics, safely and effectively. If you wish to use black salve, consult a skilled herbalist and do so only with medical supervision. There is a risk of skin burns.

If you have very sensitive skin or are taking medication that makes your skin sensitive, try a patch test first with any new salve to make sure you aren't allergic to the ingredients. Simply place a dab of salve in the soft skin area opposite your elbow and wait 24 hours. If the area doesn't itch or break out in a rash, you can probably use the salve safely. Avoid any salves containing herbs or plants that you know you're allergic to as well.


Salves make great sense for minor complaints, and are affordable and effective. By choosing organic salves, you'll ensure your herbal medicine isn't stuffed full of artificial chemicals. Enjoy organic salves for health and beauty, and reap the harvest of benefits from fine herbal products..

Organic Salves