Homemade drawing salve removes splinters and stings and treats common conditions such as boils. Salves contain soothing agents along with botanical extracts to encourage healing. Homemade drawing salve consists of various healing herbs mixed into a beeswax and oil base. Once upon a time, drawing salves formed the cornerstone of a family's first aid chest; everyone kept drawing salve for use on humans and animals alike.
Recipe for Homemade Drawing Salve
This simple recipe uses plantain, an herb found throughout the United States. Consult a qualified herbalist, your local Cooperative Extension office or an expert horticulturist to identify plantain, the main ingredient in the following recipe. The medicinal use of plantain traces back to the Middle Ages. Once thought of as a cure-all herb, herbalists often include it in skin treatments for rashes, splinters and minor irritations. German salve recipes frequently include plantain.
Use care and caution when making your own salves, and consult a physician for any serious stings, bites, rashes or injuries. Always consult a qualified herbalist before dosing yourself with herbal treatments and do a small patch test to ensure you are not allergic to any ingredients.
- Plantain leaves
- Vegetable oil or olive oil
- Lavender or other herb with sweet scent (optional, although the lavender makes a good antiseptic)
- Glass bottle or jar
- Container for the salve
- Label and marker
Instructions for Making Salve
- Take the leaf of the plantain weed and clean it under running water.
- Pat dry, and place in glass bottle or jar filled with vegetable or olive oil. Use several leaves for stronger potency.
- Store for one month with leaves immersed in oil.
- Strain the mixture, discard leaves and retain the oil.
- Slowly and carefully heat the beeswax in a double boiler.
- Add as much oil as needed, then cool to room temperature.
- Pour or scoop salve into final container, label with remedy name and date and use quickly.
If you'd like a sweet-smelling salve, add herbal extracts such as lavender to the final mixture before it cools and mix together thoroughly. You can add many ingredients to the basic recipe. Herbs such as lavender provide fragrance and antiseptic properties. Other herbs such as Echinacea and goldenseal provide antiseptic properties as well.
If you are in a hurry, some herbalists recommend simply crushing several plantain leaves and applying as a poultice to the skin. Hold the poultice in place for about an hour, then remove. Grasp the splinter or sting with tweezers and remove.
Tips for Using Salve
To help make sure the salve is as effective as possible, follow these tips.
- Apply liberally to the affected area and cover with a clean bandage; the salve should quickly draw forth the foreign object.
- Clean the affected area well both before and after you use the salve to help prevent infection.
- Apply a warm, wet washcloth on top of the salve to help draw out any pus or seepage from the skin.
- Apply the salve up to twice daily until the situation is resolved.
- Let the salve do the work; do not pinch, scratch or puncture the skin to try to get the foreign object out.
Pros of Making Your Own Salve
While drawing salves are easily obtained at many stores, there are several pros to making your own salve:
- You can be certain that all of the ingredients in the salve are natural, organic and pure.
- You can control the texture and fragrance to suit your own tastes.
- The plantain-based recipe combines herbs with common kitchen ingredients to make salve.
- It's fairly easy to make, inexpensive and a useful additional to your herbal medicine chest.
Cons of Homemade Salve
While once it may have been necessary to make your own drawing salve, in today's world the cons sometimes outweigh the pros of making your own mixture:
- Making your own salve can be messy and time consuming.
- It needs to be made up well ahead of time and can't be created the second it is needed.
- Many fine pre-made organic products exist within every budget, and are rapidly becoming popular again thanks to interest in herbal and alternative remedies.
Keep Some Salve On Hand
Because the salve needs to be made ahead of time and cannot be kept indefinitely, make a habit of mixing up small batches on a regular basis. This will ensure you always have some ready to apply as soon as you need it.