DIY Salve with custom Essental Oils Blends and Arnica


October 19, 2013 by bridgitgillis

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Salve recipes are all over the internet and pinterest.  They are easy to make and fun to customize which essential oils go into them.  I took the basic recipes from two online sources and tweaked them to meet my needs.  Then I made some fun labels for the tops of my jars.


Arnica is a flowering plant that is known for it’s benefits when topically applied to bruising and injured muscles or other soft tissue.  This particular recipe has been successful at treating a bruised tailbone, arthritis, and pulled muscles.   Dried arnica flowers can be purchased at health stores or online.  I purchased mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Since the dried flowers aren’t put into the salve, we need to infuse the oil with the arnica.  This is done with a crock pot.  Although a little messy, it’s well worth the effort.  I chose to make one version with lavender and peppermint, and the other version with lemongrass and white fir.  I also did the Arnica and cayenne recipe, which seemed to work well on tight and sore muscles.


2 cups coconut oil
half an ounce of dried arnica montana flowers (maybe a bit more for a stronger salve)
½ cup beeswax granules
essential oils (about 40 drops total)
5 tbsp. dried cayenne powder (if making the cayenne recipe)


1. Let the arnica flowers to steep in the coconut oil for 12-24 hours using a double boiler or a crock pot.  With the crock pot my flowers could steep for a full 24 hours and I didn’t have to worry about the stove being on.
2. First, crunch up the arnica flowers a bit with your hands.  This will help the flowers start to break down and make the infusion of arnica happen a little faster.
3. Place the dried arnica into your double boiler or crock pot. If you are making the cayenne salve, add the cayenne to the arnica at this time.
4. Pour the two cups of coconut oil over the arnica (and cayenne, if applicable) and stir to make sure that all of the flowers are completely submerged in the oil. You don’t want any parts of the flowers sticking out.
5. Cover and let infuse on low heat (warm setting on the crock pot) for at least 12 hours, closer to 24 if possible. You can stir it every so often if you want. Keep an eye on it to make sure all of the arnica stays submerged and also to ensure that it doesn’t get too hot.
6. When time is up, turn off the burner or crock pot and let the mixture cool for an hour or so. The mixture should be cool enough to not burn you but still in a liquid form.
7. Place a cheesecloth or other straining device over a glass jar or container. Carefully pour the coconut oil into the cheesecloth and let the mixture drain into the bowl below. If it’s not too hot, you can pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze the oil through the fabric to speed up the process.
8. Once you have strained out the herbs, you can place the filtered oil into your double boiler. If you used the double boiler to infuse the arnica flowers, make sure you wipe out the double boiler and get all of the pieces of flowers out. Turn the heat on low.
9. Add your beeswax and mix it up until completely dissolved. The ½ cup of beeswax will make a very soft salve. If you want it firmer, you can add more; softer, you can add less. You can test the texture by dipping the back of a metal spoon into the mix and then allowing to cool and applying to your skin.
10. Once the beeswax is melted, remove from heat and let cool so that you can touch it without burning yoursef. Stir in your essential oils and then pour into whatever containers you desire.  Or, if you want to make a couple of different versions of this salve, put your essential oils into the jars before pouring in the arnica salve, then mix it up  with a toothpick.
11.  Keep the lids off of your jars for at least 6-8 hours so that any moisture has time to evaporate.


Having a good base salve recipe is awesome because you can customize your salves any way that you want.


1 cup organic solid coconut oil
1 cup organic olive oil
4-5 Tbsp beeswax pastilles (more pastilles make a thicker salve)
Essential Oils- about 25 total drops per 4 ounces of salve

*This recipe makes 4 – 4 ounce jars of salve

1. Make a double boiler out of a pan with 2-3 inches of water and a glass container set inside the pan.  I like to use a glass pyrex measuring cup because the melted oils are easier to pour.
2. Slowly melt the coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax.  Let it melt slowly, and avoid getting water into your oils.  Stir occasionally as it melts.
3. While it melts, prep your jars or containers by adding your desired essential oils.  If you are making a bunch of combinations, keep track of which is which by writing the oils on a piece of paper and setting your jars on or near those ingredients listed.
4.  With your jars prepped and the salve oils melted, remove your glass container of melted oils from heat and pour into your jars.  If your melted salve is too hot, let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool.  Sometimes heat can affect the healing properties of essential oils.  If your mixture beings to harden, you can always reheat it in the double boiler to soften it up a bit.    Mix with a toothpick to make sure your essential oils are distributed evenly.
5. Let the jars sit for about 8 hours so that they can solidify and moisture can evaporate.
6. Make sure to label your jars and store in a room temperature environment. (Between 55-75 degrees)

Essential Oil Blends

Allergy Blend: 8 drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint
Healing Blend: 8 drops lavender, 6 drops lemon,10 drops melaleuca
Breathe Easy Blend: 10 drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus, 5 drops melaleuca
Aches and Pains Blend: 8 drops each of white fir, peppermint, and lemongrass
Face Blend: 7 drops each of rosemary, lavender, geranium, and frankincense
Sick Day Blend: 12 drops each of thieves and oregano (thieves can be subbed for 3 drops each of clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary)


I used 2 and 4 ounce jars, either plastic or glass work well.

The labels were Avery stick-on labels.  I used the Avery website to design, customize, and print my own labels.  I was able to save them as well, so next time I am making salve I don’t have to recreate everything.  It’s always a good idea to write on your salve what is in it, as well as any necessary instructions.  For example, on my cold blend I included instructions to wash hands after use, as oregano can be irritating to mucus membranes.

If you are making two different sized jars like I did, make sure your labels fit the smaller lids or you will have to trim them down to size.  🙂




Learn how to make mini-salve jars for gifts!  Check it out here.


Essential Oil Infused Spices

salve promo1


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